What's alive after Thursday's deadline?

By Steve Wilson
February 15, 2019

Thursday was the second big deadline in the Mississippi legislature for general bills to make it out of the originating chamber.

The next deadline is Monday, the last day that bills that are held on a motion to reconsider can be passed out of the originating chamber.

Here are the some of the bills that survived and others that died:

Still alive

House Bill 1352 is sponsored by state Rep. Jason White (R-West) and is known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act. The bill would clear obstacles for the formerly incarcerated to find work, prevents driver’s license suspensions for controlled substance violations and unpaid legal fees and fines, and updates drug court laws to allow for additional types of what are known as problem solving courts. It passed the House by a 110-5 margin and is now in the hands of the Senate.

HB 1284, known as the Fresh Start Act, is sponsored by state Rep. Mark Baker (R-Brandon) and would eliminate the practice of “good character” or “moral turpitude” clauses from occupational licensing regulations, which prohibit ex-offenders from receiving an occupational license and starting a new post-incarceration career. The bill passed the House by a margin of 114-2.

A companion bill, SB 2781, is sponsored by state Sen. John Polk (R-Hattiesburg) and passed the Senate 41-10. Any differences between the bills will be likely resolved in conference later in the session.

HB 1268 would clarify state law regarding constitutional challenges to local ordinances. With local circuit courts acting as both the appellate body for appeals on specific decisions (such as bid disputes) and the court of original jurisdiction, there’s been confusion among judges regarding the law that governs challenges of local decisions, which are required within 10 days.

City and county attorneys have used this 10-day requirement on decisions to get new constitutional challenges — which are new lawsuits and not appeals — thrown out of circuit courts. This law would add language that would prevent application of the 10-day requirement to constitutional challenges.

The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Dana Criswell (R-Southaven) and passed the House by a 116-2 margin.

HB 98 would prohibit the use of fishing nets for the taking of fish or speckled trout within a half mile of the shoreline of Cat Island in the Mississippi Sound. It passed the House by a 112-3 margin.

HB 623 would exempt school districts with A and B accountability ratings from the Mississippi Department of Education from certain mandates, including grade reporting and annual auditing of the district’s official discipline plan and code of student conduct.

Under this bill, any licensed teacher employed at one of these districts would be exempt from continuing education requirements as a condition of their license renewal. The bill passed the House 85-28.

SB 2901, known as the Landowner Protection Act, would exempt property owners and their employees from civil liability if a third party injures someone else on their property.

The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Josh Harkins (R-Flowood) and was passed on a largely party line vote 32-17.

HB 702 would allow cottage food operators to increase their maximum sales to $35,000 and advertise their products on the web. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Casey Eure (R-Saucier), passed the House by a 117-0 margin.

SB 2603 and HB 1128 would reauthorize motion picture and television production incentives for out-of-state firms that expired in 2017. Unlike the previous incentives, both bills would cap them at $10 million.

The House version is sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Smith (R-Columbus). It passed the House by a 95-19 margin. The Senate version is sponsored by state Sen. Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall) and passed by a 43-6 margin.

HB 1204 and SB 2759 would allow a municipality or county to execute the winning bid in a sealed bidding process if a judge hasn’t ruled on a protection request for bids within 90 days. The House version is sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Turner (R-Baldwyn) and the Senate version is sponsored by state Sen. John Polk (R-Hattiesburg). The Senate version passed by a 49-0 vote, while the House version passed 116-1.

SB 2675 would reauthorize the Education Scholarship Account program until 2024 and was sponsored by state Sen. Gray Tollison (R-Oxford). The bill was amended to have the ESA funds transferred to the home district if a participating student returns to his or her local school district.

The bill was passed by the Senate on a party line vote.

More dead than disco

HB 337 was the House version of the Landowner Protection act and was sponsored by state Rep. White. It died on the calendar.

SB 2496 was a bill to exclude certain mapping practices from the definition of surveying that could be regulated by the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. It was sponsored by state Sen. Angela Burks Hill (R-Picayune) and died on the calendar.

HB 1514 was the companion bill in the House and was sponsored by state Rep. Shane Aguirre (R-Tupelo) and it was recommitted to committee, thus killing the bill.

Senate Bill 2791 would’ve mandate evidence-based solutions to reduce incarceration and eliminate obstacles for ex-cons to find work. The Reentry and Employability Act was sponsored by state Sen. Juan Barnett (D-Heidelberg) and died on the calendar.


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