Thursday, February 18, 2010
Report from the MS Senate
Senate bill hopes to create “Silver Alert”
Budget woes continue to dominate discussions at the State Capitol. The floor activity was heavy leading up to the Thursday deadline for floor action on bills originating in the Senate.
Among legislation considered, Senate Bill 2904 was passed, which seeks to add $5 to the $50 monthly fee charged to former inmates who are either on probation, parole or earned-release supervision. Senate Bill 2521 was passed in the hopes of creating a “Silver Alert,” system that will allow law enforcement to begin an immediate search for missing elderly persons who suffer from debilitating conditions, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It would also help to secure the public’s assistance in locating persons who are in imminent danger, much like the Amber Alert does.
Senate Bill 2961 would revise anti-stalking laws, giving law enforcement greater powers to combat the crime and allow citizens more latitude in securing peace bonds or restraining orders.
It also seeks authority to have sex offenders who are accused of stalking charged with aggravated stalking.
Senate Bill 2238, dubbed the “Mississippi Child Protection Act of 2010,” will expand the list of persons who must report to authorities suspected child sexual abuse to include members of the clergy, teachers, care providers and others.
Senate Bill 2432 would require that motorists show proof of liability insurance at the time of tag purchases.
Another measure, Senate Bill 2859, seeks to ban the sale of novelty cigarette lighters that are designed to look like toys and have a history of being dangerous to children, who often mistake them for playthings.
Recalls on these items go back as far as 1994, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, D.C., began receiving complaints from states where children had been hurt while using them.
Other items passed by the Senate included:
Senate Bill 2595 that seeks to ban text messaging by all motorists while the vehicle is in motion. It would also require drivers under the age of 18 to use hands free devices while driving.
Senate Bill 2923 would place domestic violence under the code section of assault, toughening penalties. It provides a 24-hour cooling off period in which the aggressor would have to stay away from the victim.
This measure is important when considering the fact that the U.S. Center for Disease Control reported in 2009 that 4.8 million women each year are assaulted by a male acquaintance.
Senate Bill 2911, Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program, will finance new fire trucks for counties and small towns across Mississippi.
Senate Bill 2408 would stop prohibit hunting of deer with dogs in the Homochitto National Forest by hunters who are not Mississippi residents.
Senate Bill 2644 would stop the use of tobacco products at any youth sporting event.
Senate Bill 2856 would allow curbside voting only on election day.
Senate Bill 2802 would require that election managers for municipal elections be registered voters in the cities or towns where they oversee elections.
The Senate bills will next go to the House for consideration while the Senate begins to deal with bills from the House of Representatives.
Over the coming weeks discussions will continue over how best to fund government as revenue collections remain far below original projections.
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The Senate mailing address is P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215.
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