This week in your Senate, we faced a floor deadline at midnight on Thursday. Your Senate worked and debated bills until 9:30 P.M. on Thursday night. Of those bills passing from the Senate, the following should give you an idea of those moving off the floor.
• SB 2515 requires bonding for all public officers and employees who routinely handle cash. The bond shall be set at $25,000 and would be paid by the employer. This is yet another attempt to protect the public funds.
• SB 2112 prohibits state employers from asking about felony convictions on initial employment applications unless the position handles public funds. While this bill passed by a majority, it was not unanimous.
• SB 2744 allows the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to utilize their Tribal Identification Cards as a legal means of identification.
• SB 2876 provides immunity to authorized law enforcement officers who escort athletic teams to events even out of jurisdiction.
• SB 2633 would expedite drivers’ license renewals. This bill also moves active duty troopers from the drivers’ license stations and puts them back on the roads.
• SB 2125 would provide for the free filing of DDR-214 documents for veterans.
• SB 2204 would allow local government police vehicles to be used by off duty officers and deputies on their part-time security jobs.
• SB 2286 would revise funding and specify teaching standards for a Pre-K program to be evaluated by the Legislative PEER Committee for effectiveness.
• SB 2722 requires testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) of white tail deer harvested in enclosed or fenced in areas. This bill is aimed to identify the spread of CWD in any enclosed deer operation.
• SB 2727 eliminates the transportation of live wild hogs to control movement of feral hogs.
• SB 2131 authorizes the Secretary of State’s official seal to include “In God We Trust.”
• SB 2225 would simplify the process of securing a concealed weapon permit for disabled veterans with a service related injury by allowing the use of a US Veterans Identification Card.
• SB 2838 was passed to create the Department of Tourism to encourage more opportunities for tourism development for our state and to sever it from the Mississippi Development Authority.
• SB 2123 creates The Mississippi Correctional Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2020 which is aimed at alleviating the overcrowding in the corrections system by authorizing additional qualifications for parole to certain non-violent offenders.
• SB 2421 provides municipalities with tools needed to more quickly acquire and clean up blighted properties.
• SB 2746 enables the state to maintain 911 services and collect revenue needed for future technology upgrades. This bill goes further to allocate funds back to counties for emergency communications.
• SB 2725 creates the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act which would give the state the ability to establish a program that allows farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is processed for many uses including oils and fiber.
Visitors this week to the Capitol included the Central Mississippi Residential Center, the East Mississippi State Hospital and other visitors advocating for Mental Health throughout Mississippi. On Monday I was fortunate to be a part of the presentation of a state flag to General Sam Forbert on the celebration of his 97th birthday.
Lastly, as we go into this time of concern regarding the COVID-19 virus, I encourage you to remain calm and aware of the situation. With the Governor’s proclamation placing Mississippi in a state of emergency, all schools in the district have erred on the side of caution and extended spring break. I encourage everyone to keep aware of the developments as they are shared by the media. We are a resilient state and together we will come through this challenger. As always, I thank you for allowing me to serve you.
Pictured, Sen. McCaughn welcomes Payson Knight to the Capitol.