The 2020 Mississippi legislative session gavels in Tuesday at noon to begin the 125-day session that follows an election year. But most anticipate the session won’t last the full length, which would put Sine Die on May 10.
After the elections, Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) was chosen by the Republican caucus to continue serving as speaker. He will begin his third session in that role this year. Rep. Jason White (R-West), a top lieutenant of Gunn’s who served as chairman of Rules last term, has been tapped by the caucus to serve as speaker pro tempore, the number two position in the House.
Though a formality, they will need to be voted on by the full body.
White replaces Rep. Greg Snowden (R-Meridian), the previous pro temp, who lost in the Republican primary last summer.
The Senate will see more changes, starting at the top. Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann was elected lieutenant governor in the fall and he will soon occupy the office Gov.-elect Tate Reeves held for the previous eight years.
And Sen. Dean Kirby (R-Pearl), who has been in the senate for nearly three decades, has been tapped to serve as the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kirby is replacing Sen. Gray Tollison (R-Oxford), who decided not to run for re-election.
Because of the extended session, the legislative calendar is pretty empty for the first two months. The deadline for introducing general bills is not until February 24, with a March 10 deadline for committees to report on bills. But dates can be moved up.
There will be some new faces in Jackson, but Republicans will continue to enjoy large majorities in each chamber, with one race too be determined. Rep. Ashley Henley (R-Southaven) has filed an elections challenge in House District 40. She was defeated by Democrat Hester Jackson McCray by 13 votes, as of the last count. It will now be up to the House to determine the fate of that seat.
Along with the election challenge in the House, the next big move will be the appointments of committees by Gunn and Hosemann.