In the eighth week of the Legislative Session, the Senate debated bills on the floor, met in committees and met three deadlines.
The Senate met a Wednesday, Feb. 22 deadline for original floor action on appropriation and revenue bills originating in the Senate. Also met were the Thursday, Feb. 23 deadline for reconsideration and passage of appropriation and revenue bills originating in the Senate, and the Friday, Feb. 24 deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider appropriation and revenue bills originating in the Senate.
The Senate took first action in allocating $350 million in remaining American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, (ARPA), funds through the following appropriation bills:
- Senate Bill 3113 appropriated $18 million to Office of Workforce Development for certain programs, of which $15 million will go to “Accelerate Mississippi Workforce Development Program created in House Bill No. 1006, 2022 Regular Session, and “American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Nurse/Allied Health Workforce Development and Retention Act created in Senate Bill No 2371, 2023 Regular Session.” The other $3 million will go to “the Accelerate Mississippi Physician Residency and Fellowship Start-Up Grant Program created in Senate Bill No. 2371, 2023 Regular Session.”
- Senate Bill 3114, appropriated an additional $41 million to DEQ for Mississippi Municipality and County Water Infrastructure Grant Program.
- Senate Bill 3115, appropriated an additional $75 million Department of Health for ARPA Rural Water Associations Infrastructure Grant Program.
- Senate Bill 3116 appropriated an additional $15 million to Department of Finance and Administration for destination marketing organizations and Main Street Association.
- Senate Bill 3117 appropriated an additional $30 million to Department of Finance and Administration/Office of Insurance for State and School Employees’ Life and Health Insurance Plan.
- Senate Bill 3118 appropriated an additional $75 million to Department of Finance and Administration, Bureau of Buildings.
- Senate Bill 3119 appropriated an additional $83 million to the Department of Health for Mississippi Hospital Sustainability Grant Program, of which a fund distribution formula is being created.
- Senate Bill 3120 appropriated $620 million to MDOT from the Capital Expense Fund for certain infrastructure expenses in Fiscal Year 2024.
Other bills passed included:
- House Bill 1125 regulates Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act; It would prohibit gender change procedures and surgeries for persons under 18 years of age. It also prohibits the use of public money for gender reassignment. This bill has been sent to the governor for his review.
- Senate Bill 2890 allows Lee County Board of Supervisors to donate $50,000 annually to Sanctuary Hospice House.
- Senate Bill 2149 allows City of Guntown; authorize the use of side-by-side vehicles on certain public roads. Vehicles must have horns, lights, hazard flashers and seat belts. Operators must be licensed and possess at least $50,000 in liability insurance.
- House Bill 1034 revises composition of State Veterans Affairs Board.
- House Bill 1084 revises the continuing education requirements for insurance agents who are 65 years old and have been licensed for 20 years.
- Senate Bill 2858 amends section 57-115-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, “to increase by $45 million, the aggregate amount of investment tax credits that may be allocated to participating investors of Mississippi small business investment companies under the Mississippi Small Business Investment Company Act; To provide the taxable years in which participating investors may claim the additional credits so allocated against their premium tax liability, and for related purposes.”
- Senate Bill 2700 provides full homestead exemption for the un-remarried surviving spouse of a U.S. military member killed while on active duty or in training.
- Senate Bill 3101 creates the Mississippi Full Expensing Tax Reform Act of 2023 which would “reform Mississippi’s tax code to incentivize greater supply chain investment, job creation, wage growth and economic well-being within Mississippi, and to make Mississippi’s tax code more competitive by allowing first-year full cost recovery for certain business investments.”
- Senate Bill 2019 exempts sales tax on precious metal coins, investment grade paper currency, and bullion. Investors purchasing and trading precious metals currently pay state sales tax on purchases, cutting their profit margins.
- Senate Bill 2335 would allow employers “making direct payments to entity for dependent care on behalf of employee,” to claim up to a $3,000 income tax credit for that employee.
Bills passed now go to the House for consideration.
The Senate faces a Tuesday, Feb. 28 deadline for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originated from the House.