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Legislation naming Mississippi’s state fruit, gemstone passes in the House

Capitol Building in Jackson. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

Two bills that would name Mississippi’s state fruit and gemstone have become one step closer to being a reality after being passed in the House of Representatives.

On Monday, lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 1027 and House Bill 772, sending both pieces of legislation to the Senate.

HB 1027, which would designate the blueberry as the state fruit of Mississippi, passed with only one opposing vote. The blueberry, which is native to the southeastern portion of the U.S., is a massive fruit crop across Mississippi as over 2,000 acres are used for growing blueberries alone.

The bill’s author, Representative Jill Ford, R-Madison, added that the watermelon and tomato were considered to be named the state’s official fruit as well.

HB 772 was also passed in the House following a unanimous vote in support of naming the Mississippi Opal as the state gemstone. The Mississippi Opal is the only gem naturally produced within the state’s geographical boundaries, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Geology.

An additional bill that would name the Mississippi Opal as the state gemstone was passed from the committee on Senate Tourism in late January. Senate Bill 2138 shared similar wording to HB 772, but no further action has been taken on the bill by the Senate.

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