Lawmakers are in the final days of the 2021 Legislative session. Most bills still alive were either agreed upon by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor soon or are set to be debated in conference.
Conference is different than the committee process. When members “invite conference” on a bill, three conferees are named per bill from each chamber. Those individuals then come to an agreement on the legislation and present it again to their respective bodies for it to move forward. This process will include some appropriation bills.
Chairman of Appropriations in the Senate, Briggs Hopson, said he is currently meeting with Senate sub-committees to firm up the Senate’s position on the budget for this year. Once that is done he will begin meeting with House Appropriations Chairman John Read.
Hopson said the Mississippi Development Authority, Education, IHL and Community Colleges, Healthcare and Corrections budgets could bring added debate as the process continues.
One major component this year that is anticipated to be a sticking point is the Medicaid Tech bill. Both the House and Senate versions died in the opposite chamber until the Senate passed a resolution to revive them. SB 2799 and HB 1008 were both sent to conference. The bills had major differences this year, with the Senate’s version extending postpartum care to 12 months and setting different parameters for providers to be approved through Medicaid.
Over in the House, Judiciary B Committee Chairman Rep. Nick Bain said conferees have been named for Judiciary B bills and they are currently working to iron out details on conference reports. He said there have not been any major sticking points as of now.
Bain estimated that the 2021 Legislative session would likely wrap up sometime mid-week during the last week of March.