On January 7, 2014, the 129th Mississippi State Legislature kicked off the third session in the four-year term.

Much like the first day of school, members had an extra kick in their step as they greeted one another with handshakes and friendly greetings. On opening day, the three most recently sworn in members found their seats and prepared for what will surely be a whirlwind 90 days. Newest members Reps. Oscar Denton (D-Vicksburg), Jeramey Anderson (D-Moss Point) and John Faulkner (D-Holly Springs) now bring the House to a complete 122 members. The three members they replace now serve as mayors of their respective cities.

Because this session lasts 90 days, it will again proceed at a much faster pace than 2012’s 125-day session. Deadlines occur much earlier on the calendar. The deadline for requesting a general bill to be drafted is January 15. In anticipation, several House committees met this week to prepare for issues that will be addressed before the session adjourns Sine Die on Sunday, April 6. One of those items include House Bill 48 (HB48), known as the Youth Concussion Law, which passed from the House Public Health Committee onto the House floor. The proposed legislation will protect students (grades 7 through 12) with concussions from participating in school-sponsored events. They will only be allowed to resume participation in the event after being cleared by a health-care provider. Mississippi is the only state without laws in place to protect students with concussions. The bill passed 117-1.

Members of the Legislative Budget Office (LBO) presented an overview of the fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget recommendation to House members during an Appropriations Committee meeting. LBO staff summarized the most recent decisions made by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in its December meeting. The FY15 budget recommendation has no across-the-board cuts, does not use non-recurring funds to support recurring expenditures, recommends using Capitol Expense Funds for repair and renovation in lieu of bonding and sets aside reserves of $548 million.

Members and visitors may begin to notice ongoing construction. For approximately the next two years, a renovation project will occur at the Capitol. Construction crews will be repairing the domes and roofs of the building.

Visitors to the Capitol this week included supervisors from all around the state, who were in town for their annual Mississippi Association of Supervisors meeting and reception. The Mississippi Economic Council’s Capital Day was also held this week in downtown Jackson and at the Capitol. This annual event provides a setting for business leaders around the state to gather and meet with legislators and hear from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House about the legislative agenda expected in the upcoming session. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba welcomed legislators back to Jackson and encouraged them to call his office should they need anything.

Meg Annison
House Information Officer
House of Representatives