The Mississippi Legislature today passed several measures to bolster public safety and also passed bills to enhance public education and combat teen pregnancy.

The House adopted Gov. Bryant’s proposal to establish law enforcement strike teams that will work in high-crime areas around the state (House Bill 749).

The House and Senate also each passed measures to require DNA testing for certain offenders. House Bill 68, authored by Rep. Mark Formby, passed the House 105-15, and Senate Bill, authored by Sen. Brice Wiggins, passed the full Senate.

Yesterday, the House passed House Bill 585, a bill that includes bipartisan polices to enhance public safety and reduce criminal justice costs in the state.

“Last fall, I pledged that this session would focus on public safety, and I appreciate the Legislature’s work in moving these bills through the process,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “These policies put the victim first and ensure that Mississippi will be tough but also smart on crime.”
The Senate also today passed Senate Bill 2563, a measure that requires public colleges and universities to develop plans for addressing teen pregnancy among their student bodies. Research shows 18 and 19 year old teens experience a very high teen pregnancy rate in Mississippi.

“Since I became governor, I have made it a priority to confront and combat teen pregnancy in this state. We are already making progress and have seen Mississippi’s teen pregnancy rate decline by 10.3 percent. However, we must do more, and I appreciate the Senate for advancing this measure to target intervention efforts to older teens.”

The Mississippi House also passed House Bill 767, a measure that will study using the ACT as the high school exit exam in lieu of other assessments.

“The ACT is well-documented as a sound measure of college and career readiness,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “Utilizing it as a high school exit exam will not only allow us to obtain a more accurate measure of student achievement, it will benefit students by providing them with access to a test that has practical use in their lives as a college entrance exam.”

The effort is supported by the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents.

“This is a common sense step for Mississippi schools, and we thank Gov. Bryant for his leadership on this issue,” said Dr. Sam Bounds, executive director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. “The ACT tests student achievement in an unbiased fashion and removes pressure to teach to the test as is sometimes the case with other assessments. We support this proposal and hope to see it enacted by the Legislature.”

Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release
2/11/14