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Legislative Update: Week Fifteen

Oak Grove Teams Recognized

Multiple teams from Oak Grove High School were recognized by the Senate last week for winning state and national competitions in the last year. The Oak Grove football team ended a great season by winning last year's MHSAA Class 7A state championship, their first in school history in that classification. They were presented with Senate Resolution 22, which honored their achievement.

Senate Resolution 53 recognized the The Lady Warriors Cheer team, who were the winners of the 2024 Universal Cheerleaders Association's National Large Varsity Game Day Live Championship, a national competition that they also won in 2022. The win brings their total to 15 victories in this competition, an extremely impressive feat for the program.

The Oak Grove Golden Spirits Dance team also had a great year, winning the 2023 Large Varsity Jazz and Pom State Championship, the 13th win for the program. Senate Resolution 54 was passed to celebrate the team's win. These athletes are all making Hattiesburg and Mississippi proud, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to speak with them at the Capitol last week!

Senator Chris Johnson with Oak Grove's winning Football, Cheer, and Dance teams

Senator Chris Johnson with Oak Grove's Lady Warriors Cheer team

Senator Chris Johnson with Oak Grove's Golden Spirits Dance team

Miss Hattiesburg & Lamar County Distinguished Young Woman Visit Capitol

We were excited to have two great guests from Hattiesburg at the Capitol last week: Katelyn Perry and Katy Weir. Katelyn, a graduate of Southern Miss, was named this year's Miss Hattiesburg! She did a fantastic job singing the National Anthem for the Senate. We will all be rooting for her as she competes for Miss Mississippi later this year.

Katy, a student at Oak Grove, won this year's Distinguished Young Woman of Lamar County pageant, and will go on to compete in the state pageant this summer. It was great having both of these young ladies visit us at the Capitol, and I'm excited to see them continue to achieve great things throughout their lives and careers!

Senator Chris Johnson with Katelyn Perry (Miss Mississippi) and Katy Weir (Lamar County Distinguished Young Woman)

Senate work

The Senate faced an April 10th deadline last week to pass House bills off of the floor. We are now officially in the final stretch of the session, with only a couple of weeks remaining. The next deadline we face will be on the 16th, when we must pass all appropriations and revenue bills sent to us from the House.

In the remainder of the session, we will be finalizing the state's budget through the appropriations process, finalizing any plans to issue bonds or amend taxes, working on any remaining bills dealing with local and private issues, and conferencing with the House on outstanding legislation. Conferencing refers to the process through which the House and Senate hash out the final details of legislation passed by both chambers that have differing language.

We passed a number of interesting bills last week, and here are a few highlights:

  • HB 1823 is the appropriation for education, and provides an additional $206M for education, including a $50M increase for teacher pay.

  • SB 2470 increases from two days to three days the sales tax holiday for education supplies ahead of each school year.

  • HB 331 gives local governments the ability to allow skilled workers to manage certain construction projects without needing to obtain a license. This bill will go to conference.

  • HB 1126 and HB 1196 create the Walker Montgomery Protecting Children Online Act and Walker's Law, which create protections for children from harmful content online and makes sextortion a crime.

  • HB 765 amends the Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Act to provide a $1,000 raise for every teacher in the state.

I want to hear from you!

As we approach the end of Session, let me know if there are any questions you have regarding the process or any specific legislation. 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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