Legislative session recap: Key new laws, bills that passed or died

Print More

Signed by Gov. Phil Bryant

  • Create the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, which provides protections for sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. House Bill 1523. Sponsor: Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton.
  • Create the Mississippi Church Protection Act, which would allow churches to have armed security and provide that a homicide by a participant in church security would be considered justifiable homicide. House Bill 786. Sponsor: Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton.
  • Create the Mississippi Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act to make it a crime to “purposely perform or attempt to perform a dismemberment abortion and thereby kill an unborn child.” House Bill 519. Sponsor: Sam Mims, R-McComb.
  • Revise definition of eligible student under the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, passed in 2015 to create a pilot program to establish scholarships for special-needs students, to include students with an active individual education plan (IEP) for the past five years. House Bill 33. Sponsor: John Moore, R-Brandon.
  • Allow each school district to appoint district superintendents instead of public election. Senate Bill 2438. Sponsor: Gray Tollison, R-Oxford.
  • Amendment to Literacy-Based Promotion Act, clarifying that promotion to grade 4 is prohibited unless a student’s reading deficiency is remedied before the end of grade 3 as demonstrated by certain assessments. Senate Bill 2157. Sponsor: Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford.
  • Enact numerous amendments to Charter School Bill of 2013, including giving enrollment preference to underserved children. Senate Bill 2161. Sponsor: Gray Tollison, R-Oxford.
  • Mandate that Mississippi Department of Corrections contracts in excess of $500,000 be approved by Public Procurement Review Board. Senate Bill 2123. Sponsor: Sampson Jackson, D-Preston.
  • Prohibit solicitors from calling cellular phones under Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act. Senate Bill 2366. Sponsor: Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg.
  • Provide tort immunity to any hospital for rendering services to an eligible patient where an investigational drug is used or purchased under the “Right to Try Act.” Senate Bill 2527. Sponsor: Josh Harkins, R-Flowood.
  • Exempt school safety plans from Mississippi Open Records Act. Senate Bill 2678. Sponsor: Gray Tollison, R-Oxford.
  • Establish regulations for Transportation Network Companies, such as Lyft and Uber. House Bill 1381. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus.

Adopted by Legislature

  • Phase out income taxation on the first $5,000.00 of taxable income, effective in year 2020. Senate Bill 2858. Sponsor: Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.
  • Authorize open enrollment across existing school district lines at charter schools. House Bill 1044. Sponsor: Rep. Charles Busby, R-Pascagoula.
  • Establish the Mississippi Achievement School District to oversee administration of schools that receive an “F” accountability rating for two consecutive years. House Bill 989. Sponsor: Rep. Charles Busby, R-Pascagoula.
  • Prohibit Mississippi Division of Medicaid from reimbursing Planned Parenthood. Senate Bill 2238. Sponsor: Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.
  • Designate synthetic cannabinoids a Schedule I controlled substance. Senate Bill 2169. Sponsor: David Jordan, D-Greenwood.
  • Authorize youth courts to appoint attorneys to represent an indigent parent in youth court. House Bill 772. Sponsor: Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton.
  • Establish Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. Senate Bill 2179. Sponsor: Dean Kirby, R-Pearl.
  • Establish execution team secrecy to protect the identities of all individuals and entities who comprise the execution team, including certain suppliers of lethal injection chemicals. Senate Bill 2237. Sponsor: Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.
  • Allow Mississippi hospitals that provide birth services to implement infant feeding policy that promotes and supports breastfeeding; Mississippi Department of Health would distribute breastfeeding guidelines and educational material to all employers in the state. Senate Bill 2070. Sponsor: Sen. Hillman Terome Frazier, D-Jackson.

Notable bills that died

  • Create and fund a Capitol Complex Improvement District, which establishes a district encompassing Jackson State University, downtown Jackson and other state buildings, and set aside funding for infrastructure maintenance as well as police and fire protection inside the district. House Bill 1564. Sponsor: Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson.
  • Create the Economic Development and Infrastructure Fund and allow for $200 million in bonds to be issued for projects. House Bill 1074. Sponsor: Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach
  • Revise the state election code by making several technical fixes as well as more substantive changes, such as allowing for online voter registration. House Bill 797. Sponsor: Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson.
  • Mandate that politicians itemize individual credit card expenses in campaign finance reports. Senate Bill 2374. Sponsor: David Blount, D-Jackson
  • Impose a three-year moratorium on salary increases for all school superintendents and establish a method for determining raises based on factors such as student population growth, achievement, graduation rates, accreditation ratings and other benchmarks. House Bill 14. Sponsor: Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville.
  • Increase the penalty for human trafficking and make it a felony to knowingly cause a child to violate drug laws, participate in gangs or gang-related activity or otherwise contribute to the delinquency of a child. House Bill 553. Sponsor: Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven.
  • Prohibit members of the Commission on Environmental Quality from receiving significant income from companies regulated under the federal Clean Air Act. Also require members to disclose any conflicts of interest and recuse from voting on matters where those conflicts are present. House Bill 116. Sponsor: John Read, R-Gautier.
  • Authorize the issuance of $245,000 in bonds for the construction of the Mississippi Maritime Museum in Pascagoula. House Bill 395. Sponsor: Jeff Smith, R-Columbus.
  • Establish Mississippi Department of Medicaid and Human Services. Senate Bill 2384. Sponsor: Eugene Clarke, R-Hollandale.
  • Allow domestic violence as legal grounds for divorce in Mississippi. Senate Bill 2418. Sponsor: Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven.
  • Require an additional amount of the total sales tax revenue collected on business activities in municipalities to be diverted to municipalities within the state for water and sewer system projects and road, street and bridge repair, reconstruction and resurfacing projects and for related purposes. Senate Bill 2146. Sponsor: David Parker, R-Olive Branch.
  • Prohibit sanctuary cities and require local cooperation with federal immigration control. Senate Bill 2306. Sponsor: Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport.
  • Exempt hunting license records from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks from public records law. Senate Bill 2512. Sponsor: Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune.
  • Mandate that those arrested for sex crimes against minors be tested for HIV and AIDS. Senate Bill 2762. Sponsor: Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula.