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July 1 enacts laws approved in 2016 legislative session

Courtesy of Gov. Phil Bryant

JACKSON, MISS– Bill that became law during the 2016 Legislative session were enacted July 1. 

News Mississippi provided a brief rundown of some of those laws that have hit the books:

Skipping school districts for charter schools

Students in failing school districts will be able to cross district lines to attend charter schools. Governor Phil Bryant signed that legislation into law April 15.

If you live in a “C”, “D”, or “F” rated school district, you could drive your child to a charter school in another district. Right now, only two charter schools exist in the state and both are in Jackson. But with this bill, more charter schools will be able to open in districts across the state without interference from local administration if that district has poor ratings.

“By allowing students to cross district lines, charter schools will now be able to open in high-need areas, such as the Delta, where the small size of many of the school districts has made the creation of a charter school virtually impossible,” said Grant Callen, founder and President of Empower Mississippi.

Mississippi Church Protection Act

The Mississippi Church Protection Act, which would bring the church under the castle doctrine, was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant in April. 

This law would allow for churches to create security committees, and members of those committees would have the ability to carry a handgun into the church.

The bill, authored by Representative Andy Gipson, who is also a pastor, was motivated by the church shooting in South Carolina.

Texting and Driving Fines Increased

The fine for texting and driving has increased from $25 on the first offense to $100 on the first offense, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.  The initial bill was signed into law in April of 2015, but the rate increases were added during the 2016 legislative session.

Pharmacies Services Can Be Denied

In May, Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that allows a pharmacy to deny services if filling a drug would cost more than what would be made from the sale.

But this doesn’t prevent you from getting your medication.

“Basically House Bill 456 allows the pharmacist to deny, in circumstances where they’re not being reimbursed at least their cost, filling that prescription as long as they provide the patient with information on where to get that prescription,” said Mississippi Pharmacy Board Deputy Director Steve Parker.

While the law goes into effect on July 1, the state pharmacy board has until October 1 to re-negotiate with companies and adjust to the new regulations.

Taxpayer Pay Raise Act 

Governor Phil Bryant signed into law in May legislation that calls for a $415 million dollar tax cut over the next twelve years. 

Senate Bill 2858, known as the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, stated that the legislation will phase out the $260 million annual corporate franchise tax.

In addition, $145 million would be cut from the taxpayers’ pockets. If one makes at least $10,000, this will save about $150 a year.

These new changes won’t be activated until 2018, however, the self-employed will start catching a tax break in 2017. That’s a cut of over $10 million over a three year period.

New Foster Care Laws

Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that he called “the most important” he’s signed yet. 

“Our foster children deserve the best care in the nation,” said Governor Bryant in a video of the signing on his Twitter account.

Senate Bill 2179 reads that it will create a new Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services to be appointed by the Governor. The bill also calls for the funding of the Department of Family and Children’s Service. You can read the bill here .

Former Justice Bill Chandler was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to lead up the new effort in December.


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