Last week in the Mississippi Senate, committee action began following the legislation filing deadline on Monday. The Senate faces a committee deadline on February 2 before legislation heads to the floor for consideration. Committee meetings continue with the members utilizing a safety procedure to lessen the chance of COVID-19 exposure following two members testing positive this past week. An option of note is the use of Zoom for committee meetings to assist in the social distancing. Members must still physically check into the meetings before choosing the Zoom option. It remains necessary for members to physically appear in order to comply with the Mississippi Constitution. Unless both bodies agree to take a break, this remains the best alternative.
In legislation, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2001 that would give $1,000 raises to teachers and increase starting pay. Assistants would also receive a $1,000 increase to increase minimum pay. This bill was passed through the Senate last year but died on the House side. The bill must now get House approval.
The Senate passed House Bill 69 to enable the Veterans Affairs Board to increase salaries for needed healthcare workers. Throughout the pandemic, Veterans Homes have been plagued with the loss of healthcare workers to higher paying facilities. Veterans deserve the best healthcare that we can provide to them. This is a small step to provide optimum care for our veterans.
In other legislation, the Senate Judiciary B committee passed SB 2270 to provide crime victims protection from the unauthorized release of autopsy photos. This bill now goes to the floor for consideration. The Senate Education Committee passed SB 2307 which provides dyslexia awareness training for educators to help identify children with dyslexia. There continue to be more legislation considered in committee.
In community news, I encourage those 65 and over, along with those having underlying health conditions to seek out the COVID-19 vaccine. As of January 23, there have been some 179,000 vaccinations given as reported by the Mississippi Department of Health. In District 31, Lackey Healthcare has set up a successful process to administer the vaccine. To schedule your appointment with Lackey in Forest, call (601) 900-0672. The Mississippi Department of Health further has appointment information on the website, or you may call this number (877) 978-6453. As the vaccinations continue to be distributed, please continue to be safe as we are still seeing lethal cases of this virus. As always, I appreciate you allowing me to serve.