Mississippi News

Weekly legislative summaries

Note: The following is a recap of the week’s actions in the Mississippi State Senate and Mississippi House of Representatives. Information is provided by the Senate and House Press Offices. 

Senate Weekly Summary

In the 17th week of the 2024 Mississippi Legislative Session, the Senate met a Monday, April 22 deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider concurrence or nonconcurrence in  appropriation and revenue bills, a Thursday, April 25 deadline to concur or not concur in  amendments from the House to general bills and constitutional amendments, and a Friday, April 26 deadline for introduction of local and private bills that are revenue bills. 

The Senate faces a Saturday, April 27 deadline for conference reports on appropriation  and revenue bills to be filed, and deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider concurrence or  nonconcurrence on general bills and constitutional amendments. 

The Senate passed Senate Bill 3231 that would make certain changes to the Public Employees’  Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) to better position it for future success. The bill would  increase the employers’ contribution by ½ percent annually for five years, for a total increase of  2 ½ percent over time. It would also have the PERS board of directors to seek the advice of two  actuaries for future investment of funds and to bring those recommendations to lawmakers who can help with future decisions. There is no change in benefits. The bill was transmitted to the  House for review. 

Adoption of conference report for House Bill 903, makes it a state felony to possess or use a  “switch”, or any device that converts a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic machine  gun. A first offense conviction carries a maximum state penalty of 10 years in prison and a  $10,000 fine. A second conviction carries a maximum 15 years and a $20,000.00 fine. The bill  establishes the measure as the “Jeremy Todd Malone Law.”

Taylor Nikaya Fair of Hernando recently served as a page for the Mississippi Senate. Pages generally run errands for officials and Senate staff. Taylor is the daughter of Saquita and Tony Lathon and attends South Panola High School. She was sponsored by Sen. Reginald Jackson. (Courtesy photo)

Senate Bill 2174 revises penalties for motor vehicle theft and creates a new penalty for those  convicted for stealing vehicles from commercial businesses, like automobile dealerships, rental  agencies, and storage facilities. The new penalty would carry a minimum of 10 years in prison  and a maximum of 30 years in prison and a maximum $20,000 fine. 

Passage of House Bill 4127 allows the City of Gautier to contract with and make contributions to  the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance for up to $250,000 a year for certain services. 

Other conference reports adopted included:

• Senate Bill 2577, creates a criminal penalty for disseminating digitized or deep fake  material involved in elections. 

• House Bill 1487, revised boundaries of the Capitol Complex Improvement District. 

• House Bill 1126, establishes “Walker Montgomery Protecting Children Online Act” to  protect minors from harmful content. 

The Senate approved appointments to boards and agencies and passed a Rules Committee  calendar that honored extraordinary Mississippians. 

Senator Robin Robinson on Monday, April 22 led the presentation of a Senate  Proclamation to Miss Jones County 2024, Caidyn Crowder, who will compete for Miss  Mississippi in June. 

The Mississippi Senate on Monday, April 22 honored Shuqualak, resident and Rodeo  Competitor Roveskey “Fatty” Hickman, with Senate Resolution 72, for the skills that earned him  a Rodeo College Scholarship, a finalist position for the United States Team Roping  Championship for the last five years, and five saddles that champions win as top prizes. “Fatty”  is the brother of Senator Rod Hickman. 

Senators Jason Barrett, Andy Berry and Hob Bryan led the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday, April  23 in honoring Kaylee Brooke McCollum of Amory, with Senate Resolution 113. She is  looking forward to competing for the coveted title of Miss USA and possibly the chance to  represent the USA at the Miss Universe competition in Mexico in November 2024. They also led  on Tuesday, April 23 the Senate’s honoring of Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2024 Addie  Carver of Brookhaven, with Senate Resolution 114.  

Senator Chad McMahan on Tuesday, April 23 led presentation of a proclamation  honoring Andrew Brown, a Tupelo High School Track and Field athlete who was called the  fastest freshman in the nation in the 1600 meters long distance run in 2024, having clocked a  time of 4:18 at the Bulldog Open. 

The Senate on Tuesday, April 23 passed Senate Resolution 99, to extend sincerest  sympathy of the Mississippi Legislature to the surviving family of former State Senator Gary  Jackson, who passed on April 13 at the age of 73 years old. Senator Jackson, a minister,  was first elected to serve District 15 in the Mississippi Senate in November 2003, and was  subsequently reelected in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, serving 17 years. His tenure was marked  by dedication and service to his constituents in Oktibbeha, Choctaw, Webster, Winston,  Calhoun, Montgomery, and Attala Counties.  

The Senate also on Tuesday, April 23 passed Senate Resolution 102, extending the  sincerest sympathy of the Mississippi Senate to the surviving family of former Representative  Bob Everett, who passed on March 21 at age 79. Bob was elected to serve two terms  (1980-1988) as a Representative in the Mississippi Legislature from Warren County. After  serving in state government, Everett became a contract lobbyist representing various clients before the Mississippi Legislature. In addition, he served as an interim Supervisor in Rankin County in 2005 and an interim Alderman in Brandon, Mississippi, in 201 

Senator Hillman T. Frazier led the body’s presentation on Wednesday, April 24 , of a  Senate Proclamation honoring Clinton’s Attaché Show Choir, which took home Best Vocals,  Best Choreography, Best Overall Effect and Grand Champion at the 2024 Homewood South  Central Classic in Homewood, Alabama. 

Senator Robin Robinson on Wednesday, April 24 led the presentation of a Senate  Proclamation to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joby N. Moss, upon his retirement from active duty  with the Mississippi Army National Guard on March 31 with over 22 years of service  culminating as the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Officer Personnel Manager.  

Senator Juan Barnett and Senator Robin Robinson on Wednesday, April 24 led the presentation of a Senate Proclamation honoring the Heidelberg High School “Oilers” football  team and Head Coach Darryl Carter for winning their first ever 2A South State Championship. 

Senator Angela Turner Ford and Senator Sarita Simmons on Wednesday, April 24 led the  body’s presentation of Senate Resolution 86, recognizing Cheryl W. Turner of Jackson, as  National First Vice President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Senator Walter Michel on Thursday, April 25 , led the presentation of Senate Resolution 44 to  the Jackson Academy “Raiders” Boys Basketball Team and Head Coach Jesse Taylor for their  2024 MAIS Class 6A Championship & Overall Tournament Championship.  

Senator Robin Robinson on Thursday, April 25 led the presentation of Senate Resolution  98, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), and Senate  Resolution 96 celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership  Mississippi program.  

Senator Briggs Hopson and Senator Joseph C. Thomas Sr., and Senator Derrick T. Simmons on  Friday, April 26 led the presentation of Senate Resolution 31, to the Sharkey-Issaquena  Academy Football Team and Head Coach Matt Homan for winning the MAIS Class 1A State  Championship with their November 16, 2023 32-26 victory over Calhoun Academy.  

Senator Tyler McCaughn on Friday, April 26 presented a Senate Proclamation honoring  the work of Fred William (Bill) Chancellor Jr., for his contributions to the funeral industry. He  operated Chancellor Funeral Home and Garden of Memories in Florence funeral homes in  Florence with his wife Sandra, and longtime friends Charles and Charlene Renfrow, and a  Chancellor Funeral Home in Byram. 

On Friday, April 26 the Senate passed Senate Resolution 115 to mourn the loss and  commend the life and public service of former Senator and District Attorney Joe Clay Hamilton  of Meridian, who passed on April 11, 2023.

House of Representatives Weekly Summary

This was the 17th week of the 2024 legislative session. As the session winds down, legislators spent most of the week meeting in conferences, filing conference reports and passing conference reports on the floor.

On Friday, the House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 548, which suspends the rules so that a Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) bill and an education funding bill could be introduced.

After the deadline was suspended, House Education Chairman Rob Roberson (R – Starkville) introduced House Bill 4130, which would repeal the Mississippi Adequate Education Plan and provide for a new funding formula. The formula is similar to the INSPIRE Act (House Bill 1453) that was passed earlier this year before dying in the Senate. Like INSPIRE, schools would receive more money for low-income students, special-needs students, English language learners and others. HB 4130 has a three-year hold harmless so that districts whose funding was expected to lower will be level-funded. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 113-0.

The House is expected to take up the PERS bill (Senate Bill 3231) in the next few days.

The House also took up several suffrage bills, restoring voting rights to certain individuals who were previously convicted of some nonviolent felony offenses. These individuals would have had their voting rights restored under House Bill 1609, but the bill was not taken up in the Senate.

The House is expected to work through the weekend to meet the conference report deadlines and to work on the new general bills under SCR 548. Adjournment sine die is scheduled for Sunday, May 5.

On Thursday, the House honored famed blues singer Bobby Rush and presented him with House Concurrent Resolution 43. The concurrent resolution congratulates Rush on winning his third Grammy Award. While being recognized, the 90-year-old musician performed one of his songs with his harmonica.

Other guests and visitors this week included Laurel High School, Clinton High School’s Attache Show Choir, Jackson Academy, Presbyterian Christian School, Gulfport Mayor’s Youth Council and St. Catherine’s Village.