Desoto County News

Reeves signs bills pushed by DeSoto County

Photo: From left, Jordan Brumbelow of the DeSoto County District Attorney’s office, DA Matthew Barton, state Sen. Michel McLendon (R-Hernando), Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer, Olive Branch Mayor Ken Adams, and state Rep. Kimberly Remak (R-Olive Branch) with Gov. Tate Reeves on the signing of House Bill 438. (Courtesy photo)  

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday signed two bills inspired by DeSoto County.

One adds stiffer penalties and jail time for the crime of shoplifting. The other bill signed by Reeves on Tuesday means veterans over the age of 90 will not have to pay ad valorem, or property taxes.  

The bill signed by Reeves regarding shoplifting is House Bill 438 and revises the penalties for the crime. Under HB 438, shoplifting of items with a value of $1,000 in Mississippi becomes a felony. Jail time can now be given to anyone aiding and abetting someone who is shoplifting, in example, distracting a store clerk while an accomplice is stealing items. 

The new bill takes effect on July 1.  

The bill was signed by Gov. Reeves with Mayors Allen Latimer of Horn Lake, Ken Adams of Olive Branch, state Rep. Kimberly Remak (R-Olive Branch) and DeSoto County District Attorney Matthew Barton there to witness the signature.  

Barton issued the following statement after the bill signing, in which he said, 

“I applaud the efforts of our legislators, mayors and Governor for their work in getting this important, crime-fighting piece of legislation across the finish line,” said Barton. “DeSoto County has a unique interest in this law as we strive to protect the great investments that have been made in our beautiful cities. I told the Governor that we will use this extra tool in our tool box to hit a little harder.”

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said the bill came about after a call from county mayors, inspired by a national trend to soften penalties for the crime of shoplifting.  

“I praise and thank Mayors Allen Latimer, Ken Adams, Chip Johnson, and Keidron Henderson for their leadership with this request and agreeing with my stance:  Not on my watch, not in my city!  We must protect our retailers and there is no such thing as a petty crime,” Musselwhite wrote on his “Mayor’s Report” blog on the city’s official website.  

Musselwhite said the entire DeSoto County legislative delegation supported the bill, authored by state Rep. Gene Newman (R-Pearl) with state Rep. Rodney Hill (R-Southaven) among the additional authors of the measure.  

From left, Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer, state Sen. Michael McLendon (R-Hernando), World War II veteran K.T. Robbins, state Rep. Kimberly Remak (R-Olive Branch), Olive Branch Mayor Ken Adams, and DeSoto County District Attorney Matthew Barton with Gov. Tate Reeves. (Courtesy photo)

The second bill signed Tuesday was inspired by a call from World War II veteran K.T. Robbins of Olive Branch to relieve honorably discharged Americans from paying ad valorem taxes.  

Robbins approached Olive Branch Mayor Adams and then to state Rep. Remak and state Sen. Dr. David Parker with the proposal, which became House Bill 1378.

Remak authored the bill which was approved by the House and then passed in the Senate with backing of the DeSoto County delegation and without a no vote in both Chambers.  

Under the bill, a qualified homeowner who is an honorably discharged American veteran who is 90 years old or older in the year a homestead exemption is claimed, is allowed an exemption from all ad valorem taxes on the assessed value of their property.  

Tuesday, Robbins also met with Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, state Sen. Michael McLendon (R-Hernando), and state Sen. Nicole Boyd (R-Oxford) in the Senate chambers.  The 102-year-old veteran was accompanied by neighbors Pat and Linda Tosh.