The deadline for House committees to report Senate bills occurred on Tuesday evening. Any Senate bills that did not make it out of committees died. Throughout the rest of the week, the House met to discuss bills that survived the deadline. Representatives passed over forty Senate bills, including the following:
The Mississippi Correctional Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2020 (Senate Bill 2123) was one of the most discussed bills on the floor this week. The bill would amend certain code sections regarding parole eligibility requirements. Proponents of the bill called it a step towards criminal justice reform in the state, while opponents argued that violent offenders could possibly be eligible for release. The bill passed by a vote of 73-35 and has been returned to the Senate.
Senate Bill 2807 would establish a study committee to explore the advisability of creating the Mississippi Liquor Distribution Corporation. Earlier in the session, the House passed HB 1086 to create the corporation that would function as the state’s wholesale distributor and seller of alcoholic beverages in the state, which now falls under the Alcohol Beverage Control Division of the Department of Revenue. The exploratory committee would allow for greater planning before creating the corporation. SB 2807 passed by a bipartisan vote of 116-1 and has been returned to the Senate.
Senate Bill 2552 would amend current law by removing certain limits and prohibitions of brewpubs and small breweries and allow them to sell beer and light wine away from their premises. The bill passed by a vote of 93-13.
The Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act (Senate Bill 2725) would authorize the cultivation, processing and transportation of the hemp plant in Mississippi. The bill passed by a vote of 105-9. Representatives passed a similar bill earlier in the session (HB 1208).
All Senate bills approved by the House will be sent back with changes to the Senate for concurrence or to invite conference. The deadline for general Senate bills to be passed out of the House is next Wednesday, June 17.
Representatives also voted to concur on House Concurrent Resolution 69, which was initially passed by the House two weeks ago. HC 69 would extend the session in 30-day increments as necessary beginning July 10; Dec. 31 would be the latest possible day for sine die. This would allow the Legislature to take up coronavirus-related legislation without having to rely on a special session. The House concurred in amendment by a bipartisan vote of 114-2 and has been sent back to the Senate for concurrence.
On Thursday morning, the House was visited by Meridian native Todd Tilghman, the most recent winner of NBC’s The Voice. House Concurrent Resolution 74 was introduced congratulating Tilghman on his victory and recognizing his positive representation of Mississippi. HC 74 passed unanimously by a vote of 116-0 and has been sent to the Senate.