New Bills signed into law this week

By BY STEVE WILSON FOR THE E-T,

Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law 40 bills Thursday, including bills that expand the rights of cottage food operators and another that expands the state’s existing “right to try” law to include some other medical conditions.

Reeves also approved a bill that extends and changes the Education Scholarship Account program and another that increases the amount of time it takes to earn a real estate broker’s license from 12 to 36 months.

Here are some of the bills that received Reeves’ signature Thursday:

Senate Bill 2594 extended the state’s ESA program for children with special needs for another four years, but placed some new restrictions on the program, including a ban on using the funds at schools outside the state. Students participating in the program are required to have had an Individual Education Program within three years (the previous requirement was five years).

House Bill 326 will increase the annual gross sales for cottage food operators from $20,000 to $35,000 and would allow them to advertise online.

Cottage food operators are defined by the Mississippi Department of Health as those who sell non-perishable foods made in their home kitchens such as candy, cookies, pies, cakes, dried fruit, trail mix, jams and jellies and popcorn.

Cottage food operators were removed from state regulations by Senate Bill 2553 in 2013.

HB 1212 revises the requirement for a real estate broker’s license from 12 to 36 months. A similar bill was adopted by the legislature in 2018, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Phil Bryant.

SB 2830 added traumatic injuries to the conditions eligible for experimental treatment under the state’s “Right to try” law and will allow the use of experimental adult stem cell treatments as well. The “Right to try” legislation was originally passed in 2015 and authorizes patients with terminal diseases to use experimental treatment methods or drugs that haven’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but are in clinical trials.

Forty-one states have passed similar legislation and it became federal law in 2018.

HB 999 requires safety inspections for amusement park rides by agents from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, which will also handle incident reporting for rides as well.

HB 117 ends the requirement that a water well contractor must present three affidavits to the licensing committee at the state Department of Environmental Quality.

A driller seeking a license to drill wells must be age 21 or older, be of good moral character, demonstrate to the DEQ commission a reasonable knowledge of applicable rules and regulations governing well drilling, possess the necessary drilling equipment and have at least three years of experience as a well driller.

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