Many bills that passed during the 2022 Legislative Session have an effective date of July 1. This is also the first day of the new fiscal year.

Here is a look at some of most high-profile laws that go into effect today as passed during the 2022 Mississippi legislative session.

Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022

The largest tax cut in the state’s history was passed in 2022.

This cut will eliminate the current 4% bracket and lower the existing 5% bracket to 4%. That means single taxpayers do not pay on the first $18,300 of income and married filers do not pay on the first $36,600.

By 2025 the 5% bracket will be phased down to 4.4% and 4% by 2026.

ARPA Funds

Much of the state’s appropriation through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were obligated to various projects this year.  These bills include dollars for workforce development (HB 1006), rural water (HB 1421 and HB 1538), mental health (SB 2865), environmental quality (SB 3056), COVID hospital projects (SB 3060), Department of Finance building needs (SB 3062), and a K-12 grant program (SB 3064).

ARPA money is required to be disbursed by 2024 and used by December of 2026.

With the start of the new fiscal year, all agency budget bills go into effect today as well.

Teacher Pay Raise

HB 530 was signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves on March 30.  The START Act of 2022 gives teachers, on average, an over $5,000 raise. Assistant teachers will receive on average a $2,000 raise.

Other elements of the plan include:

  • Class A teacher with a baccalaureate degree would start at $41,500.
  • Teachers would receive annual step increases of between $400 and $600 at most every year, including in the first three years of teaching.
  • At five-year marks in a teacher’s career up to Year 20 teachers would receive a larger increase between $1,200 and $1,350 based on their certification. At Year 25, they would receive a $2,500 increase.
  • The base salary schedule does not include any local supplements or state supplements, like extra compensation to locate in certain critical needs areas or become a National Board Certified Teacher.

Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund

HB 606 will create a grant fund through an appropriation by the Legislature of up to $20 million. These dollars can go to conservation efforts on public and private land in the state. An advisory committee will decide what grants are approved and which ones are not.

This year, the Legislature put $10 million in the fund.

State Song

House Bill 453 designates “One Mississippi” as the contemporary music genre official State Song and would create a state songs study committee that will consider additional state songs from different genres and time periods.

Here is what the bill does:

  • Chapter 654 which designated “Go, Mississippi” as the official song of the State of Mississippi is repealed.
  • The Legislature states that it is their desire to provide the state with numerous state songs so that Mississippians may enjoy state songs that are appropriate for all occasions, events and daily activities.
  • The lyrics and music to the song “One Mississippi,” written by Steve Azar, would be designated as the contemporary music genre official song of the State of Mississippi, and until others are adopted, would be the only state song noted in law.
  • A Mississippi State Songs Study Committee was created for the purpose of developing and reporting to the Legislature its recommendation for various genres of official songs of the State of Mississippi, including, but not limited to, country, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and gospel.

Equal Pay

HB 770 was signed into law by Governor Reeves in April.  The Mississippi Equal Pay for Equal Work Act makes Mississippi the last state to adopt an equal-pay protection law.

The new law provides that “no employer shall pay an employee a wage at a rate less than the rate at which an employee of the opposite sex in the same establishment is paid for equal work on a job, the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which is performed under similar working conditions; to provide remedies; to provide the time in which a civil action must be filed; and for related purposes.”

Attorney General Lynn Fitch was a huge advocate for this law.  She released the following statement early Friday morning:

“Today, Mississippi makes a vital and long-overdue statement to all the women of Mississippi that our contributions in the workplace are valued. The concept of equal pay for equal work is powerful in its simplicity. It speaks to the dignity of the individual and the dignity of hard work. It says that each individual shall be judged on merit alone. I am proud that Mississippi has enacted this law and made this important statement of empowerment and respect.”