The Senate considered and passed appropriations and revenue bills ahead of the three deadlines faced this week. Senators also approved multiple local and private bills along with general legislation received from the House of Representatives in committee and on the Senate floor.
The passage of Senate Bill 3164 on a 40-11 vote to implement a tax cut for Mississippians over four years eliminating the 4-percent income tax bracket. The bill also cuts grocery tax to 5 percent (currently, it is 7 percent) on July 1, 2022, and offers a one-time tax rebate of from $100 to $1,000 based on the amount of taxes paid. The bill also eliminates state fees on car tags going to the general fund. In total, the package will cost about $316 million in recurring dollars, with the rebate costing about $130 million in one-time funds.
Senate Bill 3163 would provide a $5,000 per mile tax credit for short line rail owners for repairs and upgrades “reconstruction or replacement of railroad infrastructure, including track, roadbed, bridges, industrial leads and sidings, and track-related structures owned or leased by a Class II or Class III railroad in Mississippi as of January 1, 2022.” Short line rails are used to move products to and from market. “For qualified new rail infrastructure expenditures, the credit shall be for an amount equal to the lesser of fifty percent (50%) of an eligible taxpayer’s qualified new rail infrastructure expenditures for the taxable year, capped at One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) per new rail-served customer project,” the bill continued.
Senate Bill 2983 allows the Mississippi Development Authority to increase bonding authority by $61 million.
Senate Bill 3153 authorizes $80 million in bonds for capital improvements to various state properties, including community and junior colleges.
Senate Bill 3150 increases by $20 million the bonds authorized to be issued for the Hinds County Development Project Loan Fund, “to assist in the development and construction of infrastructure improvements, including a structured parking facility, and other improvements associated with an entertainment development project.” The money would be repaid to the state over time.
Senate Bill 3167 gives the Mississippi Department of Transportation $300 million to place into the state’s Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Program, which was created in 2018.
Senate Bill 3067 gives a 2-percent increase each July to retirees receiving benefits from the Meridian Police and Fire Disability and Relief Fund, which is not a part of the state Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi.
House Bill 20 creates “Cole’s Law,’ to prohibit discrimination against an anatomical gift or organ transplant based on a mental or physical disability.
House Bill 567 allows municipal law enforcement offices in Belmont and other municipalities with populations below the 2,000-citizen threshold to operate radar speed detection equipment on public streets.
Other bills passed included:
Senate Bill 3069 allows Marshall County Board of Supervisors to contribute up to $7,500 toward Care Now Food Pantry, which has 501(c)(3) status.
Senate Bill 3065 allows Jackson County Board of Supervisors to contribute up to $5,000 a year to the Friends of Arts, Culture and Education (F.A.C.E.), “a nonprofit charitable organization that is instrumental in developing and promoting the arts to citizens of Jackson County and the community.”
Senate Bill 3066 allows Jackson County Board of Supervisors to contribute up to $5,000 annually, to Junior Auxiliary of Pascagoula-Moss Point, “a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to community improvement by meeting the needs of children, youth and families.”
Senate Bill 3068 authorizes the City of Vicksburg to contribute $1,375.00 to the American Legion Auxiliary Boys State Program.
Senate Bill 2981 authorizes Bolivar County Board of Supervisors to donate to:
• Bolivar County Community Action Agency, Inc. – $50,000.
• Fannie Lou Hamer Breast Cancer Foundation – $10,000.
Senate Bill 3000 allows Warren County Board of Supervisors to contribute to:
• Central Mississippi Prevention Services, Inc. – $3,000
• Vicksburg Family Development Service – $8,000
• Triumph Ministries, Inc. – $11,250
• Women’s Restoration Shelter of Mountain of Faith Ministries – $4,500
• Good Shepherd, Inc. – $20,000
• We Care Community Services, Inc. – $6,000
The Senate bills have been sent to the House for consideration and the House Bills were sent to the Governor.
Senator Bart Williams presented Senate Resolution 22 to Bishop James Edward Swanson, Sr., Resident Bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Swanson was honored on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, with Senate Resolution 22, saluting his extensive string of achievements and for being the first African American to lead the Mississippi United Methodist denomination. His tenure began September 1, 2012, but Bishop Swanson was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church during the 2004 Southeastern Conference. Bishop Swanson is currently completing his second quadrennium (2016-2020) as President of the General Commission of United Methodist Men. Bishop Swanson is a member of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Emory University, Gammon Theological Seminary, Rust College and Millsaps College.
Senator Derrick T. Simmons presented U.S. District Judge Debra M. Brown of the Northern District Senate Concurrent Resolution 552, for being the first African American female Chief Federal Judge. Judge Brown is a Mississippi State alumna who received the gavel and became the new Chief Judge of the Northern District of Mississippi on June 11, 2021, at the United States Courthouse in Greenville, succeeding District Judge Sharion Aycock. A Yazoo City native, Judge Brown has served as a District Judge since being nominated by former President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in 2013.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022, is the deadline for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House of Representatives.
The Senate Weekly Report is provided on behalf of DeSoto County state senators Kevin Blackwell, Dr. David Parker, and Michael McLendon.