/Bills that survived or died at the Capitol

Bills that survived or died at the Capitol

The March 9 deadline is the next major deadline for lawmakers to act on general bills from the other chambers. General bills have a longer deadline than spending and tax bills. While bills may have passed away, it is possible for some to be revived through amendments. The 2022 Mississippi legislative session started on Jan. 4, and will end April 3. Here are some general bills that survived or died in the wake of Tuesday night’s deadline. ALIVE House Bill530: Teacher pay increase. After much political cat-and mouse, the Senate’s teacher-pay bill was killed by the House. The Senate passed the House bill, which included its own language, to continue a teacher-pay raise. Both versions would represent the largest teacher raises in recent history at over $200 million. HB 770 & SB 2451: Equal pay bills. Both bills survived March 1 deadline. Mississippi was the last state that did not offer state legal recourse to employees who are paid less for work based on sexual orientation. Women’s equality pay groups have criticised both the Senate and House bills and demanded that they be amended. To keep alive a proposal to reform divorcing laws, the Senate amended the House equal pay bill. READ MORE: Will Mississippi continue reducing equal pay for women? SB 2113: The prohibition of the teaching of critical race theory. The bill is divided by party and racial lines. It would ban the teaching of critical racism theory at the university level and in kindergarten-12th grade schools. Officials from the State Department of Education have stated that critical race theory, which aims to examine the effects of racial discrimination in various aspects of society is not being taught at public schools. Some claim the bill is too vague to be able to predict the legislative impact. READ MORE: House Committee advances anti critical racism bill along racial lines. HC 39: Reviving state’s initiative process. This proposal would allow citizens to bypass the legislative process and put issues on the ballot so that voters can decide. This legislation is necessary because in May 2021, the state Supreme Court declared the initiative process invalid due to a technicality. HB 606: Establishing an outdoor stewardship trust account. This bill, which has been a topic of debate between the House and Senate for two-years, would establish a conservation fund that could use state funds to draw down federal wildlife conservation grants. It is similar to what many other states have. The Senate opposed the House’s proposal to divert sales taxes from sporting goods to finance it. It removed that language and stated that the Legislature would continue to fund it each year. The measure’s supporters argue that such a fund requires a steady stream revenue. SB 2164: Establishing a separate Department of Tourism. It would be its own department and not a division of the Mississippi Development Authority. It would also establish the Mississippi Department of Tourism Fund, and redirect a portion of the sales tax revenue from restaurants and hotels to MDA. SB 2273: This bill allows employers to offer support to parolees. It also permits employees of persons convicted of crimes, to give reports to probation officers. This will prevent them from having to leave work in order to report to probation officers. HB 1029: Enhancing broadband access. This bill grants grants to entities that want to increase broadband access in rural areas. HB 1367: Removing racial language from property deeds. Property owners have an inexpensive and easy way to contact a chancery court to get rid of offensive or unenforceable language in their property deeds. Deeds can contain language that prohibits Black families from owning property. DEAD SB 2643: Reform of the divorce law. This would have made Mississippi closer to a unilateral, no-fault divorce as in other states. Mississippi’s outdated divorce laws make it difficult and costly to get a divorce. This often leads to one spouse being able to delay the process for years, which can lead to poor family relationships and spouses. The House committee passed the bill without voting. However, the bill’s author, Senator Brice Wiggins said that the language regarding divorce was included in a House bill on equal pay. This bill is still alive. READ MORE: Mississippi’s divorce laws are irrevocably broken. This Senate bill could help. SB 2634: TANF savings account. The bill would have provided matching funds to assist recipients of welfare benefits in setting up savings accounts. These savings would not impact their eligibility for TANF benefits. Similar to other states, the program’s goal is to help recipients get off TANF rolls and become financially stable. SB 2504: Creating state parks division. This measure would have created a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks state parks division with its own director. Advocates claim that the state’s ill-maintained and dilapidated parks have been neglected under MDWFP for many years. HB 630: The restoration of the right to vote. This bill would have clarified who is eligible to vote if a felony conviction has been expunged by existing law. SB 2261: “Buddy’s Law” This law is named after a Mississippi 12-year-old who tortured and burned a dog. Children who torture cats or dogs would be required to undergo psychological evaluations, counseling, and treatment. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.