NEW MISSISSIPPI LAWS
JACKSON, Mississippi — Here’s a glance at some new Mississippi laws that take effect Tuesday:
ABORTION — House Bill 1400 (http://bit.ly/1guNDDZ ) bans abortion at 20 weeks, the midpoint of a 40-week full-term pregnancy. Abortion will still be allowed at or after 20 weeks if the woman faces death or permanent injury because of the pregnancy. It will also be allowed in cases of severe fetal abnormality. Diane Derzis, owner of the state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, says the clinic stops doing abortions after 16 weeks. The most recent Health Department statistics show 2,176 abortions were done in Mississippi in 2012. Two were listed at 21 weeks or later, and 382 were unknown gestational age.
CONCUSSION — House Bill 48 (http://bit.ly/1mQvHZF ) will require public and private schools to evaluate student athletes for concussions after they’re shaken up during practice or competition. A player with a concussion would be banned from play until fully recovered. The bill was pushed by the NFL and the Mississippi State Medical Association and supported by groups that govern school activities.
DNA-ARRESTS — Senate Bill 2430 (http://bit.ly/1lJHeZK ) would require collection of DNA from people arrested and charged with violent crimes such as murder.
GUNS — House Bill 314 (http://bit.ly/1lJGpjE ) says weapons purchased in city- or county-sponsored buy-back programs would have to be put up for public auction rather than destroyed. It also would ban any state government official or employee from confiscating any legally held weapon or ammunition if the governor declares martial law.
PRISONS — House Bill 585 (http://bit.ly/1eOGbng ) mandates several changes intended to make the prison system more efficient and less expensive.
PUBLIC RECORDS– House Bill 928 (http://bit.ly/1feNYb8 ) attempts to cap the cost of fulfilling public records requests. It says that when a person requests government records, a board or agency can only require reimbursement of costs incurred by the lowest-level employee competent to fulfill the request. Some agencies have driven up the cost of public records by charging hourly fees for attorneys to examine them.
RELIGIOUS PRACTICE — Senate Bill 2681 (http://bit.ly/1hheTXI ) says government may not put a substantial burden a person’s right to practice religion. It also would add “In God We Trust” to the state seal.
TEACHER PAY — House Bill 504 (http://bit.ly/1nV77G3 ) sets a multi-year teacher pay raise.