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Mississippi Senate Weekly Report

This week the Senate met three deadlines for handling bills originating in the House of Representatives, including the Thursday, March 10, 2022, deadline for reconsideration and passage of general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House.

The Senate’s passage of  House Bill 607 Parker’s Law,” creates the crime of “fentanyl delivery resulting in death.” It sets a penalty of 20 years to life in prison for persons convicted of knowingly delivering or providing for money or something of value, fentanyl to someone who dies from overdose. The bill does not seek conviction of persons present when a fatality occurs during shared drug usage. A companion measure, House Bill 679 creates the “Mississippi Pill Press Law of 2022,” that bans possession, creation of or transfer of any device used to manufacture a controlled substance unless authorized by “the State Board of Pharmacy or other lawful authority.” It seeks to stop street level manufacturing of fentanyl tablets. It establishes a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.

House Bill 1430 allows a car title to have a “designated beneficiary” so after the vehicle owner dies, the assigned person becomes owner without waiting for the estate to be probated.

House Bill 1313 creates the “Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship Program Act,” to provide postsecondary financial assistance to foster children.

House Bill 974 allows airport authorities to provide dependent health insurance coverage as an employment benefit.

House Bill 252 increases from 10 percent to 20 percent the amount the Public Employees Retirement System, (PERS), may invest in a separate account managed by a registered investment advisory firm.

House Bill 512 stops the state Department of Revenue from being a wholesale distributor of alcoholic beverages and creates the ABC Warehouse Construction Fund, which would in part finance construction of a new privately-operated warehouse.

House Bill 972 allows the Department of Marine Resources to create a pilot program leasing bottom land to commercial oyster producers in waters adjacent to Hancock County for $2 per-acre for the first five years.  Proceeds will be placed in the “Seafood Fund” that the DMR would use for future “plantings of oysters and cultch materials….to further oyster production in this state.”

Other bills passed included:

Senate Bill 2154 allows town of Monticello to authorize tourism tax on restaurants, hotels, and motels with voter approval.

Senate Bill 2155 allows city of Laurel to authorize tourism tax on hotels and motels with voter approval.

House Bill 1135 legally defines advanced plastic recycling methods.

House Bill 1185 allows the Department of Transportation to sell certain state-owned property it no longer needs in Winston County.

House Bill 1097 allows county boards of supervisors to lease facilities for use as fire stations.

House Bill 1331 requires a four-year skills assessment test for election commissioners rather than annually.

House Bill 256 requires owners of manufactured or mobile homes, to within 21 days of moving it to another county, alert the tax assessor’s office of that county about the relocation.

House Bill 833 prohibits a motor vehicle manufacturer or distributor, subject to certain exceptions, from owning or operating a motor vehicle dealership in this state for the same type of motor vehicle it manufactures or distributes, from applying for a motor vehicle dealer license, and from being licensed as a new motor vehicle dealer in this state.

Several measures were assigned to conference where details can be worked out between the Senate and House. They include:

  • Senate Bill 2545 seeks to stop the sale of stolen catalytic converters and sets out criminal penalties for violators who are convicted under the law. A first conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000. Subsequent convictions would be felonies.
  • Senate Bill 2587 seeks to have certain moving traffic violations for commercial driver’s license holders treated as regular license holders.
  • Senate Bill 2419 creates the “Hospital Nurses and Respiratory Therapist Retention Loan Repayment Program,” for new nursing and respiratory therapist graduates to be administered by the State Financial Aid Board.” It would give up to $3,000 a year for three years to 150 new registered nurse applicants, 50 new licensed practical nurse applicants and 25 new respiratory therapist applicants working in a “general acute care hospital in the state.”

Senator Rod Hickman on Thursday, March 10, 2022, presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 569 to the Meridian High School “Lady Wildcats” girls basketball team and Coach Deneshia Foster for winning their first ever Mississippi High School Activities Association, (MHSAA) Class 6A state championship with the March 5, 2022, defeat of Harrison Central 49-43 in the Class 6A final at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

Senator Juan Barnett on Thursday, March 10, 2022, honored the Bay Springs High School “Bulldogs” Football Team with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 560 for winning their first ever 2021 Mississippi High School Activities Association, (MHSAA) Class 1A State Football Championship, with their December 3, 2021, 32-12 victory over then undefeated Simmons-Hollandale High School at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi’s campus.

Senator Barnett and the entire Senate on Thursday, March 10, 2022, honored the Heidelberg High School boys basketball team with a standing ovation as they stood in the gallery, saluting the team’s winning of a district championship over Amite County of Liberty, by a score of 65-60. and their advancement to the final four, where they were defeated by Pine Grove of Ripley, 54-44.

The Senate faces a Tuesday, March 15, 2022, deadline for original floor action on appropriation and revenue bills originating in the House, a Wednesday, March 16, 2022, deadline for reconsideration and passage of appropriation and revenue bills originating in the House, a Thursday, March 17, 2022, deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider appropriation and revenue bills from the House and a Friday, March 18, 2022, deadline to concur or not concur on amendments from the House to appropriation and revenue bills, and for introduction of local and private bills that are revenue bills.

Note: This item is provided by the Mississippi Senate Press Office on behalf of DeSoto County state Senators Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven), Dr. David Parker (R-Olive Branch), and Michael McLendon (R-Hernando).

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