Mississippi Bill Status Report

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The Associated Press took a look at the status of selected bills so far in the Mississippi Legislature.

Tuesday was the deadline for House and Senate committees to act on general bills filed in their own chamber. There is a later deadline for budget and revenue bills.

SEX EDUCATION -- House Bill 234 would allow the state to establish a sex education program in two public school districts.
FEES -- House Bill 1338 would increase the fees charged by the state for driver's licenses, motor vehicle titles and other services. Sex offenders also would pay higher fees for their mandated registration with the state.
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION -- Senate Bill 2300 would increase the homestead exemption from $75,000 to $100,000 for people who are over 65 or totally disabled.
UTILITY REGULATION -- House Bill 1090 would give the three elected public service commissioners oversight of the public utilities staff, which was made a separate entity nearly two decades ago.
STATE JET -- House Bill 1065 would authorize the state to sell an eight-seat Cessna Citation jet, often used by Gov. Haley Barbour and other officials.
STATE ADVERTISING -- House Bill 1296 would set regulations for state agencies to meet for advertising in newspapers, on Web sites or on TV or radio.
CHARTER SCHOOLS -- Senate Bill 2664 would reauthorize the state's existing charter school law and establish two types of charter schools. One would be a public school that converts to operate under a charter granted by the state Board of Education while keeping a traditional attendance zone. The other would be a public school that could draw students from across school district lines after receiving a charter from the state board or a local school board.
SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY -- Senate Bill 2628 would make it easier to fire superintendents and school board members, both appointed and elected. It also would allow any employee in a district that's been taken over by the state to be fired. All employees would still receive due process, said State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds, who is promoting the measure. House Bill 1142 has similar accountability provisions.
MEDICAID -- House Bill 105 would keep the Division of Medicaid in operation.
EMBRYOS -- House Bill 561 would authorize people to adopt embryos, either frozen or not.

TUITION CAP -- Senate Bill 2695 would've limited tuition increases at Mississippi's eight public universities.
ATTORNEYS' FEES -- House Bill 1414 and Senate Bill 2718 would've required the attorney general to disclose more information about contracts for hiring private attorneys to do state work.
ARTS SCHOOL -- House Bill 1555 would've moved the Mississippi School of the Arts out of Brookhaven and combined it with the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus.
SMOKING BAN -- House Bill 169 would have banned smoking in most public places in Mississippi.

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