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Legislative Update: Week Eight

WDAM Interview

I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with WDAM about two pieces of legislation I've mentioned here several times: one that creates a task force to study the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in schools, and one that allows state employees to start Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

I believe that creating a task force to study the responsible implementation of AI in our public schools can help create a roadmap for safely deploying this technology in schools to improve education outcomes. I also believe that allowing our state employees to open health savings accounts is a simple way to boost health outcomes and give these public servants more ways to enhance their lives. I appreciate WDAM for talking with me about these bills, and I look forward to helping them get across the finish line this session.

You can read the article HERE.

Pearl River Valley Electric Youth Leaders

Each fall, two students in the Pine Belt area are chosen to represent Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association in a statewide Youth Leadership program for all rural electric cooperatives. This year, the two students chosen were Mary Xia and Stevie Thompson. The program allows participants to learn more about how electric cooperatives work and how electricity is generated and distributed. They also get to take part in workshops to hone their leadership skills. As part of the program, they visited the Capitol last week to meet with Legislators and get a better understanding of how bills are written and passed in Mississippi. It was a joy to meet Mary and Stevie, and I'm excited to see where their futures will take them!

Senator Chris Johnson with Mary Xia and Stevie Thompson of the Pearl River Valley Electric Youth Leadership Program

Resolution Honoring Coach Scott Berry

I had the honor of presenting former University of Southern Mississippi with Senate Resolution 6, which commends him on his legendary career at USM. Scott served as head coach for the Golden Eagles for 14 seasons, leading them to unprecedented levels of success. Under Coach Berry, USM registered their sixth-straight 40-win season, which is the most of any Division 1 program. He is a four-time C-USA "Coach of the Year" and leaves behind an impressive 517-271-1 record during his time with the program. Coach Berry was a great coach and is a great man, and I wish him and Laura the best in his retirement.

Senator Chris Johnson pictured with Coach Scott Berry and his wife, Laura


Senate work continues

Last week began with a February 19 deadline for the introduction of legislation. Now that all generals bills have been introduced, committees will meet to determine which legislation makes to the full Senate. The next deadline we face is March 5, when bills must be passed out of committees or they will die on the calendar.

The Senate passed a completed version of Senate Bill 2140 last week following amendments made by the House. This bill, called the Mississippi Prior Authorization Act, seeks to improve the process through which some medical procedures and medications must be approved by health insurance issuers. This bill now goes onto the Governor, who has the option to sign, veto, or allow it to become law without his signature.

Also passed by the Senate was Senate Bill 2059, which was a technical bill that created legislative definitions for terms relating to biomass and bioenergy. Clarifying legislative definitions helps with drafting and passing legislation related to those defined terms.

Both chambers of the legislature passed a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 29, that sets a Join Legislative Session for this evening, Monday, February 26, at 5:00p.m., when the Governor will deliver his annual State of the State address.

I want to hear from you!

As the pace of the session continues to quicken, I would love to hear your feedback on legislation currently being considered by the Senate, as well as thoughts on current and local affairs. For general thoughts or questions, you can email my senate email: For anything involving the new Government Structure committee, you can email I would love to talk with you about issues that directly affect you, and emailing me is the best way I can do that.

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