We have completed the third week of the 2022 session with Monday’s deadline for filing general bills and some floor action on measures. Until February 1, committee meetings will be underway to make sure we pass bills out of committee before the deadline.
On Thursday, we passed a bill that most people can’t believe isn’t already in the law here. In fact, Mississippi is the only state that doesn’t have this law. House Bill 770, the Mississippi Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, requires that everyone should be paid equally for equal work. The measure is aimed to do away with pay discrimination, primarily against women who are performing the same jobs as men. It hasn’t been that long ago that women were told outright that they couldn’t be paid as much as their male counterparts because the man “had to provide for his family.”
Most women I know are either working to help provide for their families or are the sole breadwinners for their families. It only stands to reason that people should be paid equally for equal work. Mississippi is the only state that hasn’t passed this measure yet. The House overwhelmingly passed this bill by a bipartisan vote of 114 – 6 and now sends it to the Senate for consideration. I am proud to have co-sponsored it.
I am also a co-sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 8 which commends the 2021 Mississippi State University Baseball Team for their National Championship. On the day of that win, we were all Bulldogs, and I am looking forward to welcoming the team to the State Capitol in a few weeks. I am very proud of my alma mater’s national champs! The measure passed unanimously.
House Bill 813 would create the Mississippi Study on the Affordability of Insulin. Like most, I am astounded and disturbed at the high cost of insulin. This is not a medicine that is optional for diabetics. It is literally necessary for them to live.
Under the bill, the State Health Officer of the Department of Health would be required to conduct a study about the affordability of insulin for diabetes patients in the state and report the findings of the study to the Legislature by December 31, 2022. After adopting a committee amendment, the bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 113-5 and has been sent to the Senate. I expect that the findings of the study will provide us the necessary information to take action on the outlandish prices that have been levied against some of the most ill members of our communities.
I voted in support of Senate Bill 2095, or the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, which was introduced to the House on Wednesday. You may recall that this bill is a follow-up to Initiative 65, which was passed overwhelmingly by Mississippi voters in November 2020, but was struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court over a technicality in the ballot initiative process. SB 2095 outlines a medical marijuana program that will treat conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, glaucoma and seizures, to name a few. After a committee amendment was adopted by the House, the program will be overseen by the Department of Health, and eligible patients with a registry ID card will be able to purchase no more than six MCEUs (Medical Cannabis Equivalency Units) a week and no more than 28 MCEUs a month. The final bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 105-14, and the bill has been returned to the Senate.
As always, please feel free to contact me for any matters you wish to bring to my attention. Because we will be spending most of our time in committee meetings until February 1, you may want to go online to the Legislature’s YouTube channel to watch committee meetings and some floor debates, including those from last week. The YouTube channel address is www.youtube.com/c/MississippiLegislature.
Housekeeping is a weekly column by Representative Tom Miles who serves as the State Representative from House District #75 which consist of Rankin and Scott Counties.