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Legislature Postponing Work

Due to the spread of Coronavirus, the Mississippi Legislature will postpone work to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread throughout the state.

Recently the legislature finished work on bills within the chamber that they originated. Some of the work done is as follows:

We passed Senate Bill 2515 that would require bonding for all public officers and employees who routinely handle cash. The $25,000 bond would be paid by the employer and would only cost about $100 per employee.

Passage of Senate Bill 2117 would require occupational licensing boards to issue within a 30-day period temporary practice permits and licenses to certain military applicants so spouses of transferred military personnel can begin working sooner.

Senate Bill 2112 would require state employers to not ask on initial employment applications whether the applicant has a criminal background. If the applicant is chosen for an interview, the employer can then ask about a criminal history.

Senate Bill 2744 would allow the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to have their Tribal Identification Cards as a legal means of identification.

Senate Bill 2876 would give immunity to law enforcement officers who escort athletic teams to events.

Senate Bill 2633 would expedite the time taken for renewing drivers licenses and would exclude active duty troopers from manning the stations, placing them on the road to perform public safety tasks for which were trained. It would force sex offenders to stop registering at the Highway Patrol licensing stations.

Other bills passed included:

· Senate Bill 2484 that would make all eight state universities “qualified resort areas,” where alcoholic beverages can be legally served and sold.

· Senate Bill 2125 would restrict the viewing of an individual’s military records.

· Senate Bill 2204 would allow local government police vehicles to be used by off duty officers and deputies on their part-time jobs. Liability for the vehicles would fall on the after-hours employer, as would the provisions of Workers Compensation should the officer be hurt at that job.

· Senate Bill 2286 would revise funding and specify teaching standards for a Pre-K program to be evaluated by the Legislative PEER Committee for effectiveness.

· Senate Bill 2391 would require utility companies to use the Positive Response Information System when marking the location of underground utilities.

· Senate Bill 2674 would require continued education courses for board members of community public water associations.

· Senate Bill 2348 would establish a procedure for landowners and landlords to dispose of abandoned manufactured or mobile homes on their property.

· Senate Bill 2253 would make an Alcorn County facility a qualified resort area so alcohol may be served there.

· Senate Bill 2881 would revise investment plans and options for the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program.

· Senate Bill 2785 would revise the process for seeking a lower state tax debt.

· Senate Bill 2722 would require testing for Chronic Wasting Disease of white tail deer harvested in enclosed or fenced in areas. The owner of such facilities must register with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and disclose all information about the facility, including whether animals were imported into it and where they came from. If chronic wasting disease is diagnosed within five miles of the enclosure, the owner must allow the state to harvest animals for testing. If chronic wasting disease is found inside the enclosure, the owner must allow Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to depopulate the white-tailed deer within the enclosure. It makes a violation of this law Class I violation.

· Senate Bill 2727 would totally eliminate transportation of wild hogs and designate the act as a Class 1 violation. Hunters currently are allowed to trap hogs and move them before harvesting the animal.

· Senate Bill 2131 would allow the Secretary of State’s official seal to include “In God We Trust.”

· Senate Bill 2225 would simplify the process of securing a concealed weapons permit for disabled veterans with a service related injury.

· Senate Bill 2563 would create the Incentives Transparency for a Prosperous Mississippi Act.

· Senate Bill Senate Bill 2176 would make it more difficult for a man to deny paternity of a child once he has signed the birth certificate.

· Senate Bill would create the State Workforce Investment Board by merging the duties of several state agencies.

· Senate Bill 2053 would seek transparency in government dealings.

· Senate Bill 2838 would create an independent Department of Tourism and remove oversite of the Mississippi Development Authority, which currently operates it.

· Senate Bill 2792 would remove state Personnel Board protection for one year from the Department of Corrections. Senate Bill 2603 would remove employees of the Attorney General’s office from the protection of the State Personnel Board for a period of time and Senate Bill 2585 would do the same for the Department of Transportation.

· Senate Bill 2212 would create a county jail census at the request of the Legislative PEER Committee.

· Senate Bill 2430 would limit the statute of limitation against realtors, brokers and real estate appraisers to five years, except for fraud.

· Senate Bill 2720 would prohibit the use of haul seine nets and others within one half nautical mile from Cat Island’s shoreline.

· Senate Bill 2123, The Mississippi Correctional Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2020, would grant a sentencing judge or a senior circuit court judge the option of granting parole to certain non-violent offenders who are serving time. Sex offenders are also excluded.

· Senate Bill 2421 would give municipalities tools needed to more quickly acquire and clean up blighted properties.

· Senate Bill 2746 would enable the state to maintain 911 services and collect revenue needed for future technology upgrades.

· Senate Bill 2658 would give officials the legal tools needed to bring more severe criminal charges – up to a felony - for abuse of domesticated dogs and cats.

· Senate Bill 2725 would create the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act, which would give the state the ability to establish a program that allows farmers to qualify for participation in this growing industry.

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