Busy week at the State Capitol

By TOM MILES,

The ninth week of the 2020 legislative session proved to be the busiest one yet.  Committee meetings to discuss House bills wrapped up early in the week because of Tuesday’s general bill deadline.  After Tuesday, all general bills that were not passed out of committee died. The House held floor debate on legislation that made it out of committee, and we took up over 100 different bills on what we call the non-controversial calendar. Bills that passed on the floor will be sent to the Senate for their consideration.

First, we can all be proud that we passed HB 447, which places a sign on Hwy. 25 honoring our hometown hero, Olympic Gold Medal winner and Pisgah High School graduate Torie Bowie. It’s a most fitting tribute to her.

HB 884 is the State Park Bill that I sponsored. It will help Roosevelt and other state parks by allowing all sales tax collected in our state parks to go back to our parks for upkeep and maintenance. It should bring in over $600,000 to them per year.

HB 1027 is an emerging crops bill, a great opportunity for our poultry farmers. Now they will be able to apply for a loan in the amount of $250,000 interest free to either help upgrade existing farms or start a farm.

HB 1557 deals with hunter education. A measure I have been working on for several years, it will help encourage our youth to get involved in the outdoors and allows our public schools to teach hunter education.

I’m proud we passed HB 96, a pro-life bill that allows fire stations and ambulances to serve as safe places for desperate mothers to drop off their babies. I believe this will help save lives, and I co-sponsored this measure.

One of the issues keeping released inmates from being able to find jobs is the fact that getting an ID post-release is so difficult. We passed HB 838 which should ease this problem.

We passed HB 666, which mandates that gifted classes be offered to our seventh and eighth grade students. That age group has been without this kind of enhanced education opportunity for too long. I supported passage of the bill.

House Bill 1208, or the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act, legalizes the cultivation, processing and transportation of the hemp plant. Industrial hemp is a distinct strain of the cannabis plant that can be refined into commercial items, such as paper, textiles and clothing. Many believe that the production of hemp would help farmers and be a boost for the state’s economy. We will be the 47th state to pass hemp legislation if this is signed into law. This bill is a result from the task force this year lead by Commissioner of Agriculture Andy Gipson.

House Bill 978 increases the penalties for the crime of hazing, including failing to report hazing. This bill comes after a string of hazing-related deaths among U.S. college students in recent years.  

We will continue to debate bills on the floor until the March 12 deadline.

This week we were honored to recognize Miss Emilee Tadlock at the Capitol for being selected as the HEADWAE recipient from ECCC. We are so proud of all her hard work.

Feel free to contact me at (601) 469-7886, email me at tmiles@house.ms.gov or message me with any concerns or issues you may have.

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