Mississippi News

Legislative weekly summary

Information provided by the Senate and House press offices

Senate Weekly Summary

In the fifth week of the 2024 Legislative Session, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2140, the Mississippi Prior Authorization Reform Act, which seeks to improve the process through which some medical procedures must be approved and certain medications are obtained.

The bill would require insurance companies to reduce bureaucratic red tape and get prior authorization done more timely for the sake of a patient’s health and well-being. It would, in part, require insurers to allow an equally qualified physician to determine the necessity of a procedure instead of office workers or physicians whose specialty lacks specific knowledge of the patient’s health needs.

Other changes the bill seeks include: 

  • Prohibiting health insurance companies from denying a claim for failure to obtain prior authorization if the prior authorization requirement was not in effect on the date the patient received the services.
  • Require insurers to identify on their websites, certain prior authorization statistics.
  • Require insurers to make available a standardized electronic prior authorization request transaction process by January 1, 2025.
  • Require insurers to occasionally review its prior authorization requirements and to consider removal of the requirements in certain cases.

The Senate passed a Rules Committee calendar that included Senate Concurrent Resolution 509 extending recognition to United States Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith as the first woman elected to represent Mississippi in Washington, D.C. Hyde-Smith served as state Senator from 2000-12, then became state Commissioner of Agriculture before being appointed by then Gov. Phil Bryant to Congress, where she was re-elected.

Both items await House consideration.

Organizational meetings occurred through the week and committees continue to discuss legislation as Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann has assigned 200 bills to committees.

The Madison Central High School Choir performed in the second floor Capitol rotunda on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, as part of Lt. Governor Hosemann’s continued tradition.

House weekly summary

This was the fifth week of the 2024 Legislative Session. Because it is early in the session, committees are just starting to meet as bills are still being drafted, so floor action has been light. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the entire House. The deadline for bill introduction is Monday, Feb. 19, and the deadline for bills to be out of committee is Tuesday, March 5. Despite most work still happening in committees, two bills reached the House floor.

House Bill 539 would allow presumptive eligibility for prenatal care under Medicaid for pregnant women whose household incomes are 194% below the federal poverty line. These women could receive care for 60 days while the Mississippi Division of Medicaid is reviewing their applications. A qualified provider (e.g., the Health Department, a doctor trained in the process, etc.) would have to deem the woman eligible to receive the benefits by confirming the pregnancy and determining her income level. The bill passed the House by a vote of 117-5.

Online sports betting would become legal in Mississippi under House Bill 774, or the Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act. The bill would require online sportsbooks like BetMGM, FanDuel or DraftKings to partner with an existing casino in Mississippi. This would ensure that money is staying at brick-and-mortar locations. In-person sports betting at physical casinos is currently legal. Gaming Chairman Casey Eure (R – Saucier) introduced Amendment 1, which added that the revenue collected by the state would go towards the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund, and the amendment passed on a voice vote. Representative Robert L. Johnson, III introduced Amendment 2, which would have given the gross revenue from a wager to the casino within a 40-mile radius from the placed bet instead of the casino with which the platform has partnered. Amendment 2 was tabled by a vote of 77-35. The bill passed the House by a vote of 98-14.

Visitors this week included Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Mississippi Occupational Therapy Association, Hancock Youth Leadership, Miss Capital City Becky Williams and the Mississippi Podiatric Medical Association.

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