Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary

Week of March 24, 2014

This week, conference members were assigned to bills the Senate and House members did not agree or “concur” on changes that the other chamber made to a bill. Conferees from the House and Senate began meeting to work on bill language, in hopes of reaching an agreement.

The deadline to file conference reports on Appropriations and Revenue bills falls this weekend. Conferees must file reports, or final versions, before 8 p.m. Saturday, March 29. Monday, March 31, is the deadline for adoption of those conference reports filed. With deadlines back-to-back, it is likely members and staff will work through the weekend.

On that note, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC,) led this year by Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, met this week to adopt revisions to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 General Fund Revenue Estimate and the FY2015 General Fund Revenue Estimate. Committee members voted to adopt the revisions to FY2014, which was $149.9 million more than the November revised estimate. Committee members then voted to adopt the changes to FY2015 for a total of $5.5 billion, which is $97.7 million more than the November estimate.

Late this week, House and Senate members will begin wrapping up their discussions regarding the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY14) budget. Both sides must agree on how to spend the approximately $5.9 billion General Fund budget for FY15. At this stage in the conference process until the Saturday evening deadline is met and reports are adopted, exact numbers may change.

On the House floor, House members voted to adopt the conference report for House Bill 1231 (HB1231), which permits the prescribed use of CBD oil to treat medical issues. CBD oil is extracted from marijuana, yet has no THC. Studies have shown prescribed use of CBD oil is beneficial in reducing and controlling seizures. Enactment of this measure would require patients to obtain a prescription from a Mississippi licensed physician. The licensed physician who prescribes the medication must also be the one who administers it to the patient. The conference report was adopted by a vote of 112-6.

Once both chambers concur with the changes and adopt the conference report, that bill is then sent to the Governor’s desk. So far in the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Bryant has signed 79 House Bills into law. Some of these signed bills originating in the House include:
• House Bill 48 creates the Youth Concussion Law.
• House Bill 49 requires drug testing for certain Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who have been screened.
• House Bill 764 provides gun permits to disabled veterans at no cost.

Visitors to the Capitol this week included: the Natchez High School Girls’ Basketball team was commended for winning the MHSAA 5A State Championship; the McComb High School Boys’ Basketball team was commended for winning the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship; Camille Young was recognized for being named the first female African American President of MSU’s National Alumni Association; the Jones County Junior College Men’s Basketball Team was congratulated on winning the NCJAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament; Miss Mississippi Chelsea Rick was recognized for her achievements.