Thursday, February 14, 2013
Report from the Mississippi Senate
Busy week in Mississippi Senate
The Senate got down to work in earnest last week with floor action beginning after the first major committee deadline on Tuesday.
In a move to improve education, Senate Bill 2347 was passed. It will require third grade students to read at that grade level before promotion to fourth grade in the 2014-15 school year. Only 47 percent of Mississippi third-grade students read at their proper level.
Senate Bill 2395 will provide $8 million in support to a network of early childhood education (Pre-K) classes statewide and adds additional classes through public-private partnerships. The program is voluntary. It is not a full-fledged statewide Pre-K program but it is certainly a move in the right direction. I believe that a Pre-K program is the single most important step we can take to improve educational outcomes in our state.
In a major victory for rural residents of Mississippi, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2150 which will require the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to conduct driver’s license tests, issuance and renewals in each county seat at least once per month if requested by that county’s board of supervisors. I have sponsored or co-sponsored similar legislation every session for the last several years. We have residents that now drive in excess of 100 miles round trip to get driver’s licenses renewed. This bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 2048 seeks to increase the number of whitetail deer hunters by allowing crossbows to be used during regular bow season for deer. The measure has the potential to benefit the state through increased revenues being paid by holders of hunting licenses as well as creating spinoff revenue for retailers.
The bill was amended on the floor as a part of a compromise with the Mississippi Bow Hunters Association to allow archery hunting throughout the gun seasons.
Senate Bill 2109 will increase from seven days to 14, the time required to register (purchase a tag) new vehicles.
Other bills passed include:
Senate Bill 2654 provides a $7.5 million grant through the Department of Education for the Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools program or (MCOPS) that will provide a 50-50 match of up to $10,000 a year per trained professional police officer hired as security in schools.
Senate Bill 2472 seeks to save money by consolidating state office building space and creating the Capitol Complex zone where the majority of state offices will exist.
Senate Bill 2047 allows the spouse of an officer killed in the line of duty to purchase his or her service weapon.
Senate Bill 2215 clarifies existing law on concealed carry of weapons by exempting from prosecution a person who accidentally displays their weapon in the public, which currently violates state law.
Senate Bill 2647 would strengthen existing safeguards to keep persons with documented cases of mental illness from being able to legally purchase a firearm. It will make state law conform to federal laws.
The measures now go to the House for consideration.
I can be reached at the Capitol while in session at (601) 359-3770, by cell phone at (662) 224-4126 or by e-mail at: email@example.com.
The Senate mailing address is P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
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