Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary:
Week of January 30, 2017
Committee meetings to discuss House bills wrapped up on Tuesday, and the House convened as a whole
Wednesday through Friday to discuss the legislation that made it to the calendar.
One of the most contested bills this week was House Bill 480, an out-of-state sellers use tax bill which
would collect sales tax on purchases made over the internet. Representative Trey Lamar, who
introduced the bill, said there is already a law requiring this tax that is not being enforced and this bill
aims to fix that. Supporters of the bill say this would provide the state with the funding needed to repair
Mississippi’s poor infrastructure. Opponents of the bill do not support collecting more taxes from the
people of the state. Although the bill passed originally by a vote of 79-38, it is now being held on a
motion to reconsider.
Another highly contested bill was House Bill 974. This measure would exempt certain state agencies
from the rules, regulations and procedures of the State Personnel Board. Supporters of the bill note that
several agencies have asked for this exemption because it would afford them more flexibility and allow
agencies to run their departments more efficiently. Opponents of the bill say that this gives too much
power to the agency directors and the governor, who appoints many of those directors. The bill
originally passed by a vote of 62-57, but is now being held on a motion to reconsider.
Legislators also introduced a bill that would make improvements to the area surrounding the State
Capitol. House Bill 1226 would create a Capitol Complex Improvement District, which would appropriate
funds to the designated area in order to make repairs and improvements. Supporters say this will help
enhance the Capitol and fix some problems that exist, especially in the roads surrounding the building.
Opponents say they see issues with the execution of this bill and cite the area encompassed by the
proposed district as being too large. The bill originally passed by a vote of 99-22, but is currently being
held on a motion to reconsider.
The point of order made on House Bill 515 last week was resolved. The bill, which increases penalties for
those attempting to sell controlled substances near drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, was passed
and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Voters could have the chance to take part in a pre-election if House Bill 228 is signed into law. The bill
proposes establishing a 14 day period before Election Day for pre-election day voting. This would put
tighter restrictions on absentee ballots received through the mail, as voters would have two weeks to
visit the polls before Election Day. The bill passed by a vote of 113-8 and will be sent to the Senate for
House Bill 1328 would establish a salary scale for officers of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
Members of this division are the only State of Mississippi law enforcement personnel required to have a
college degree. The bill passed by a vote of 116-5 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Craft breweries will be allowed to sell beer and light wine produced at their breweries for consumption
on or off the premises upon the passage of House Bill 1322. Proponents of the bill say this will bring
Mississippi up to speed with surrounding states that have passed similar legislation. The bill passed by a
vote of 93-23 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
A number of noncontroversial bills also passed through the House this week, including a bill designating
March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day in Mississippi and a bill establishing the Mississippi Achieving a
Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would provide flexible spending accounts for individuals with
In the coming weeks, the House will continue to meet as a whole to vote on bills that will be passed to
the Senate for consideration. Visitors to the Capitol are welcome to come watch the proceedings from
the gallery. Capitol visitors this week included members of the Mississippi Society of Anesthesiologists,
the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Mississippi Pharmacists Association, the Mississippi Health
Care Association and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.