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Legislative Update: Week Ten

MidDays With Gerard Gibert Interview

Last Thursday, I had the chance to join MidDays with Gerard Gibert on Supertalk Mississippi to give an update on some of the work the Legislature is doing. Among other things, we talked about Mississippi's recent success in economic development, the need to better understand artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure it's used safely and effectively, and the debate around PERS, Mississippi's public employee retirement system. It was a great discussion, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can watch the full interview HERE.


Visiting with Republican Women

The Mississippi Federation of Republican Women had their annual Legislative Day last week, where they come to the Capitol to advocate for smart, conservative policies. Each year, all of the Republican women along with legislators, lobbyists, and staff wear red in support of the Federation and their cause. These ladies have played an outsized role in shaping elections and policies in Mississippi, and I was thankful for the chance to get to visit with many of them!


Senator Chris Johnson with Gretchen Waters and Sue Bush, Republican Women from Forrest County


Senate work continues

Last week, the Senate met its March 5 deadline to pass legislation out of committee, and spent the remainder of the week on the Senate floor taking up legislation that had made its way out of committee.


Two of the bills I sponsored already passed off the Senate floor and will now go to the House of Representatives to be considered. One of those is SB 2288, which criminalizes the use of AI to falsify or alter someone's image for derogatory purposes. With the rise of AI tools, I'm committed to ensuring these tools aren't used to attack or harm Mississippians. The other bill passed was SB 2125. This is the legislation that allows public employees to open Health Savings Accounts through the state. This won't come at a cost to taxpayers, but will give more options to state employees.


Many other interesting bills were sent to the House this week. SB 2865 would allow retired teachers to return to the classroom in critical need areas without losing their retirement benefits. SB 2470 moves up the date for Mississippi's Back to School sales tax holiday. Every year for one weekend prior to the school year, Mississippi does not collect sales tax on the purchases of school supplies. This bill will make the holiday earlier to encourage more people to take advantage of it.


SB 2519 is the Mississippi Foreign Land Ownership Act. The bill limits the ability of individuals and organizations from adversarial foreign nations to purchase or own agricultural or forestry land in Mississippi.


The Senate will continue to work to pass legislation off the floor leading up to the March 14 deadline, by which all general bills must be passed and sent to the House, or they will die.


I want to hear from you!

Have any questions or thoughts about legislation? Let me know! For general thoughts or questions, you can email my senate email: chjohnson@senate.ms.gov. For anything involving the new Government Structure committee, you can email msgovernmentstructure@gmail.com. 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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