NOTE: Our state lawmakers are invited to submit articles for publication on DeSoto County News. Content will not be edited, although we reserve the right for minor adjustments to meet with AP Style, spelling and punctuation corrections. This submission is provided by state Sen. Michael McLendon and we thank him for this report back to his district.
The Senate adopted a conference report for Senate Bill 2095, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, that would reduce from 3.5 to 3 grams daily, the amount of medical marijuana patients can obtain.
It also eliminates the Department of Agriculture from involvement in the program and bolsters the role of the Department of Health. It would allow cultivation in industrial or commercially zoned areas. The bill was sent to the governor.
The passage of Senate Bill 2422 would establish different guidelines for the issuance and expiration dates of teacher procurement cards by the state Department of Education. The cards allow teachers to purchase classroom supplies. Senate Bill 2424 would give school districts the option of paying employees bimonthly instead of once per month.
The Senate passed several bills that use funding from Mississippi’s $1.8 billion federally allocated American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, (ARPA), money.
- Senate Bill 2862 – held on motion to reconsider, which could bring them back for more debate – would allocate $59.1 million to Child Protective Services over a four-year period to pay for 200 additional employees to help reduce caseloads, increase legal support to expedite adoptions and decrease backlog of adoption cases and to place more children in foster care, among other things. The employee increase would work itself out through attrition over time.
- Senate Bill 2863 would give the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency $3.17 million to defray expenses incurred because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Senate Bill 2864 would allocate $10,391 million to the Mississippi National Guard for capital projects, including work needed at Camp Shelby.
- Senate Bill 2865 – held on motion to reconsider, which could bring them back for more debate – would allocate $86 million to the Department of Mental Health for many improvements, including implementing Mobile Crisis Teams; Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Training; Court/Law Enforcement/Hospital Liaisons Pilot Program for up to 18 liaisons for four years; Intensive Community Support Specialists and seven new specialists at Community Mental Health Centers that don’t have one, for four years and would fund creation of 60 additional beds for Crisis Services across the state for four years.
Please call if I can help at 601-359-3232 or email me at MMcLendon@senate.ms.gov