YP – Conferees remove House income tax phase out proposal from bond bill

The Mississippi House’s plan to phase out the state income tax appears to be dead, dead, dead for the 2021 session.

Speaker Philip Gunn filed HB 1439, titled the “Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2021,” in late February.  The bill would have phased out the state income tax and reduced the grocery tax while raising the state sales tax along with other use or sales taxes.  It passed the House by a vote of 85-34.

The measure was immediately panned in the Senate as senators were unhappy with having such a large change in tax structure dropped on them late in the session. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann went on record as saying no senator had come to him asking to have the House bill brought to the floor.  As such, Speaker Gunn’s bill met its demise in the Senate Finance Committee, failing to make it out before the deadline.

MSDH daily COVID-19 reporting

YP – Education to receive $102 million more in FY2022 budget

The Mississippi House has approved the conference report for the Mississippi State Department of Education budget. HB 1387 appropriates $2,303,506,047 from the general fund, which is a $102 million or 4% increase from FY2021’s appropriation with $2.1 billion of that total which will go to expenses from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).

Out of the special funds will come $2,232,106,142, which will also be applied to Education expenditures.

“It was a good year for education. We are hopeful to maintain that but we don’t know because budgets change. But it’s a real good year for education because we’ve got money going into it,” said House Education Chairman Richard Bennett.

Governor Reeves signs teacher pay raise

YP – Mississippi House and Senate on cusp of an agreement for criminal justice reform

Senator Brice Wiggins (R) said negotiations on the criminal justice reform bills are close to being settled between the Mississippi House and Senate. The two major bills in the criminal justice reform effort are HB 796 and SB 2795, both of which are in the conference process.

YP – Legislature allows delivery of distilled spirits right to your door

The Mississippi Legislature has passed a bill that would allow for the delivery of distilled spirits to your home as long as they were purchased at a package store, restaurant, bar or distillery.

With this measure, Mississippi joins 24 other states including D.C. who can participate in home delivery. HB 1135 heads to the Governor for his approval. If signed the bill would go into effect on July 1, 2021.

YP – Resolutions filed in Mississippi House opposing critical race theory

State Representative Chris Brown has introduced two measures that would have the Mississippi Legislature condemn the use of “divisive concepts and theories” that promote race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.

 

HCR 62 and HR 87 oppose critical race theory, saying “critical race theory and related ideologies propagate divisive and untrue concepts that teach one race or sex is inherently superior to another and that individuals of one race or sex are inherently superior to another and that individuals of one race or sex should be deprived of basic rights simply because of their race or sex.”

YP – Mississippi Home Corporation announces Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program

The State of Mississippi received $200 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program to aid individuals who have been monetarily impacted by COVID-19.

Governor Tate Reeves directed $186 million of the funding to be administered by Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC).

The application portal is now open for those who are eligible.

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders endorses Jackson Mayor Lumumba’s reelection bid

CLARION LEDGER – Mississippi insurance commissioner: What Medicaid expansion would mean for the state

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney

Chaney: The federal government puts up 80 cents of every dollar that we spend on Medicaid, and the state government puts up 20 cents of every dollar we pay. If you go with expansion, the state would put up 5 cents for every dollar the federal government gives us. So, the feds would give us 95 cents, and we would put up 5 cents. The danger is many people feel like that, with all the pandemic expenditures — the CARES Act expenditures and all the other issues that have come up requiring unexpected expenditure as well — there will not be enough money left to sustain an expansion of Medicaid for more than another 24 months. And if Mississippi does not expand Medicaid this year, then it’s very likely that we will not expand it in the next year either.