It’s another deadline day at the Mississippi Capitol.
2,284 bills have been introduced during the 2021 legislative session, and today, those bills either have to pass through the committee stage or they’ll ‘die.’ A few bills to keep an eye on today include:
SB 2765 – A bill to create the ‘Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act’ which would operate alongside Initiative 65—the medical marijuana initiative adopted by voters in November.
HB 997 – A bill aiming to privatize the distribution of alcohol in Mississippi. The Department of Revenue currently operates the Alcohol Beverage Control program in the state.
SB 2732 – This legislation would expand sports gaming to mobile platforms and open up the possibility for FanDuel, DraftKings, and other national sportsbooks to operate in Mississippi.
HB 451 – A criminal justice reform bill, this legislation would revise the process to restore the voting rights to disenfranchised Mississippians who have served their sentence with the exception of those convicted on rape or murder charges.
HB 278/SB 278 – A priority of Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, these bills would create a private/public partnership aimed at funding the repair, renovation, and upkeep of Mississippi’s state parks.
SB 2678/HB 633 – A pair of bills that would lead to the implementation of a mandatory computer science curriculum in each of Mississippi’s 884 K-12 public and charter schools for all of the state’s 442,627 students.
Outside of the teacher pay bill in the Senate, which passed on the floor with no debate, and the ratification of the state flag, it’s been a relatively quiet session so far, but that will change Wednesday with bills being sent to the full chambers for discussion. After a few days of moving to virtual committee meetings amid a minor COVID-19 outbreak, legislators are primed to return to their chambers on Wednesday. With that in mind, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn issued a warning to his members and urged them to work quickly.
“I’m going to ask everyone to wear a mask. I’m going to ask everyone to keep your hands to yourself. I know that sounds like an elementary school, but we’re going to have to reduce contact as much as possible to the extent that you can…We’re going to spread out as much as we can and we are going to move along as quickly as we can. I would invite everyone to be very thoughtful about offering amendments and making arguments and reserve those to things that really count,” Gunn said on the House floor Tuesday.
The session is currently on track to end on April 4th, but that could be moved up if lawmakers finish early.