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Legislative Update: Week Fourteen

William Carey University Honored

I had the honor last week of introducing and passing Senate Concurrent Resolution 537, which honors William Carey University's athletic and academic accomplishments. William Carey this year received the Halbrook Award, which recognizes colleges and universities that achieve high academic standards for student-athletes, resulting in high graduation rates. William Carey students Abigail Wickham, a member of the women's golf team, and RJ Stinson, who plays on the baseball team, also received Halbrook Awards for their impressive academic scores. Congrats to these students and to William Carey's athletic programs for these prestigious awards!

Senator Chris Johnson with WCU Representatives and members of the state Senate

Senator Chris Johnson with WCU President Dr. Ben Burnett and Athletic Director Tracy English

Purvis High School Baseball Team Visits Capitol

Last year, Purvis High School's baseball team finished a great season by winning the MSHAA 4A state championship. The team visited the Capitol last week, where they were recognized by the Senate for their outstanding achievement. Congratulations to these young men and coaches, and good luck with this year's season!

Senator Chris Johnson with the 2023 Purvis High School baseball team, which won the 4A state championship

New State Superintendent of Education Confirmed

The Senate confirmed Dr. Lance Evans as the new State Superintendent for the Mississippi Department of Education last week. Since 2017, Dr. Evans has served as the Superintendent for the New Albany School District. I have faith in Dr. Evans' ability to lead the state's largest agency effectively, and I look forward to working with him to continue to improve Mississippi's education outcomes.

Sumrall High School A Capella Choir Performs at the Capitol

Last week, Sumrall High School's A Capella Choir performed at the Capitol in the rotunda. This group is one of the best in the nation, and will be competing at Nationals as one of the top ten programs in the country. It was truly an honor to have these talented young girls perform for us, and I wish them the best of luck in their upcoming competition!

Senator Chris Johnson and the Sumrall High School A Capella Choir

Senate work

The Senate reached the deadline for passing House bills out of committee last week, and spent the remainder of the week passing House bills off of the floor. We are now in the final stretch of the session, approaching an April 10 deadline to pass House bills out of the full Senate. These bills will either go to be signed or vetoed by the Governor, or if we made amendments to the bill, we can invite conference from the House. This just means that representatives from both chambers will meet to determine a final version of the bill, which will then be voted on by each chamber.

We passed a number of bills already that will now head to the Governor's desk:

  • HB 1697 allows government entities to continue salary payments to the families of first responders who died in the line of duty for an additional month.

  • HB 1644 creates secondary contracts between counties or municipalities and ambulance services to ensure backup providers are available to respond to emergencies if necessary.

  • HB 1210 creates a veterinarian scholarship program at Mississippi State in honor of Mac Huddleston, a long-time Representative from Northeast Mississippi who passed away last year.

  • HB 317 creates a memorial through the Mississippi Dept. of Health to recognize and celebrate the lives of EMS personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

We will continue to work to pass House bills, finalize outstanding Senate bills, and work towards finalizing a budget through the appropriations process. As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance committee, I'll also be spending much of my time on any outstanding bond and tax-related bills.

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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