Senate weekly report

Note: The following is compiled by the Senate Press Office and is provided on behalf of DeSoto County Sens. Michael McLendon, Kevin Blackwell, and Dr. David Parker.

The Senate adopted the conference report for House Bill 531, advancing a $524.1 million tax cut, the largest in the state’s history, to the Governor’s desk. 

Under the bill as amended, the state’s four percent bracket would be eliminated in the upcoming fiscal year at a cost of about $185 million. Between Fiscal Year 2024 and 2026, the current top rate of five percent would be reduced to a four percent flat rate. This will cost $339.1 million, for a total elimination of $524.1 million in recurring dollars from the state budget.

When fully phased in, Mississippi’s income tax rate will be one of the lowest in the nation among the 43 states which have an income tax.

In 2016, the Legislature passed a $415 million tax cut bill phasing out the 3 percent tax bracket by 2022. The same legislation phased out the franchise tax on businesses over a ten-year period ending in 2028.

Revenue for the last fiscal year (FY 2021) and current fiscal year (FY 2022) are above projections, though experts have advised revenues are likely buoyed by the significant federal recovery funds flowing into the state.  Budget analysts have also advised that despite some uncertainty in the economy, the tax cut approved today is sustainable.

The Senate adopted House Bill 1769 that protects Mississippians private property rights. Under the legislation, Article 3, Section 17A of the Mississippi Constitution will be codified in state statute. The constitutional provision prohibits the state or local governments from taking private property through eminent domain and conveying to private entities for a period of 10 years. Exemptions are provided for levee facilities, road, bridge, ports, airports, common carriers, drainage facilities and utilities. It has been sent to the Governor.

Passage of Joint Resolution 202, created a new legislative redistricting map to be effective starting in the 2023 election cycle. Redistricting is required by law every 10 years after U.S. Census numbers are released. The Mississippi Senate’s map was last redrawn in 2012.

Senate Bill 2430 creates a revolving no-interest loan program for public school buildings. Emergency and critical infrastructure needs will receive priority. Through the program, public schools may receive up to $1 million in one fiscal year for maintenance on existing buildings, excluding athletics, or construction of new pre-K or career and technical facilities. Loans will have a 10-year maximum payback period.

Senate Bill 2120 increases pay scales for law enforcement officers employed by the Department of Public Safety. Under the plan, a trooper with less than four-years’ experience would rise from a base of almost $40,000 to a base salary of $46,950.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 588, extends from 60 days to 12 months postpartum coverage of Medicaid recipients.

Other bills passed included:

  • Senate Bill 2422 makes teacher classroom supply procurement cards available on August 1.
  • Senate Bill 2246 allows a judge to use an affiant’s oral testimony across the telephone to secure a search warrant in matters of sex offenses against children.
  • House Bill 1408 gives an across the board $5,000 salary increase to sheriffs and an additional $5,000 to sheriffs whose responsibilities include operating a juvenile detention facility if the board of supervisors approves it. It increases pay for several other county positions.
  • Senate Bill 2358 allows political parties to determine the amount of candidates filing fees.

The Senate met several deadlines and extended the Sine Die deadline on paper until midnight, Sunday, April 10, 2022, with adoption of House Concurrent Resolution 90. Several floor presentations were held honoring exemplary Mississippians and their successes.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 4, 2022, to pass appropriation and revenue bills.

Several presentations were held on the Senate floor

  • Senator Nicole Boyd and Senator Robert L. Jackson honored the South Panola High School “Tigers” Competitive Cheer Team and Coach Sara Helen Ware on Monday, March 28, 2022, with presentation of Senate Resolution 20, for winning the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) National Championship for the second year in a row after competing in the Advanced Non-Tumble Game Performance Division at the NCA National Competition January 22-23, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. Trophies will be presented at Panola Country Club.
  • Senator Nicole Boyd and Senator Robert L. Jackson also presented South Panola High School Rifle Team with a proclamation for winning the Air Force JROTC National Championship in Three Position Air Rifle Competition.
  • Senator Jason Barrett on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, led honors for the Brookhaven High School “Panthers,” Boys Cross Country team and Coach Shannon Knott and assistant coaches with Senate Resolution 8, for winning their third consecutive Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A State Championship. Barrett recognized the team seated in the gallery but presented the document on the steps. They won the third championship November 8, 2021, at Choctaw Trails where they defeated Saltillo High 22-26.
  • Senators Michael McLendon, Chad McMahan, Kevin Blackwell and Dr. David Parker led honors on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, for World War II hero and former Prison of War Olin Pickens of Nesbit, with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 547, commemorating his 100th birthday and service to America. Pickens will celebrate his birthday on December 31,2022. Pickens told the senate about his capture, detainment, and his subsequent release and how his faith in Jesus kept him alive throughout his ordeal.
  • Senators Sollie B. Norwood, Hillman T. Frazier and Joseph Thomas Sr. led honors for the Jackson State University “Lady Tigers” Women’s Basketball Team and Head Coach Tomekia Reed with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 581 on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, for winning the 2022 SWAC Women’s Basketball Regular Season title and for their second consecutive SWAC championship.
  • Senators Albert Butler and Sarita Simmons led honors for the Alcorn State University “Lady Braves” cross country team and Head Coach Jimmy Joseph and Assistant Head Coach Miguel Mendez on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Senate Resolution 54, for winning the 2021 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Cross-Country Championship, marking the first in the program’s history as the fearless athletes amassed 68 points with four runners ranked in the top ten. Joseph was named the 2021 SWAC Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year,
  • Senators Albert Butler and Sarita Simmons also honored the Alcorn State University “Braves” Men’s Basketball Team and Head Coach Landon Bussie, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, with Senate Resolution 55 for winning the 2021-2022 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Regular Season title, for the first time in 20 years, after defeating rival, the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff (UAPB), 100-77 on March 6, 2022, and breaking the 100-point scoring threshold for the first time since the 2019-2020 season.
  • Senator Tyler McCaughn led honors for the Lake High School “Lady Hornets” basketball team and Coach Maurice Bowie on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 573, for winning the 2022 Mississippi High School Activities Association, (MHSAA), 2A State Championship. The Lady Hornets clinched the championship March 4, 2022, when they beat Belmont 46-44. It was the first championship in 21 years
  • Senator Robert L. Jackson led honors for Nakobe Dean, the six-foot, 215-pound outside linebacker of the National Champions University of Georgia “Bulldogs” Football team and former Horn Lake High School star, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with presentation of Senate Resolution 7, for his achievements. Dean, who won the 2021 Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker, completed his junior year with 168 total tackles and 7.5 sacks.  He also earned First-Team All-SEC Honors in 2021.  It remains to be seen if Dean will return to Georgia for his senior year or declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. Georgia defeated Alabama 33-18 in the College Football National Championship Game, Georgia’s first National Title in football since the 1980 season. It’s Georgia’s first win against Alabama since 2007, making Dean part of a historic college football event where his skills shone brightly.
  • Senator David L. Jordan, Senator Lydia Chassaniol, and Senator John Horhn, led honors for Grenada Councilman Lewis Johnson on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with a Senate Proclamation saluting the success of the Lewis Johnson Senior Citizen Complex and its positive impact on the community. The complex opened on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, and has helped the community by providing access to computers, exercising, line dancing and water aerobics. The City of Grenada in 2013 was awarded the Municipal Excellence Award by the Mississippi Municipal League recognizing the success of the project. Johnson was accompanied by a host of city officials at the presentation.
  • Senators Dean Kirby, Josh Harkins and Walter Michel led honors for the Jackson Prep “Lady Patriots” girls basketball team and Coach Michael McAnally on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 570, saluting their win of the 2022 MAIS Overall State Championship. They clinched the title with a 37-34 win over two-time defending Champion Leake Academy on March 2, 2022, at Mississippi College.
  • Senators Dean Kirby, Josh Harkins and Walter Michel also led honors for the Jackson Prep “Patriots” boys’ basketball team and Coach Tim Wise on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 565, for winning the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools -(MAIS)- Boys Basketball Overall State Title with a 43-32 March 2, 2022, win over Jackson Academy at Mississippi College. It’s the first championship for Jackson Prep since 2012.
  • Senator Joey Fillingane led honors for Sumrall native and World War II veteran Henry “Howard” Bennett, on Thursday, March 31, 2022, with presentation of Senate Resolution 59, saluting his achievements and contributions to the country. Bennett was awarded the Medal of a Liberated France at the State Veterans Home in Collins, Mississippi, on October 7th, 2021, presented on behalf of the French government. This medal is awarded to French, foreign nationals, and soldiers of allied armies who served and made a notable contribution to the liberation of France from the German occupation during World War II. Bennett will soon be awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest degree of merit, and he will be knighted and receive a Certificate of Knighthood, signed by the President of France.
  • Senator Lydia Chassaniol on Thursday, March 31, 2022, led presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 546 to Director General Robert Lo of the Taipei Culture and Economic Office in Houston, encouraging further economic ties between Mississippi and the Republic of China, (Taiwan).
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Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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