The state Capitol illuminated by lightning as thunderstorms moved through the Metro area. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Starting Thursday, people holding many professional licenses — including public school teachers — in good standing in other states can move to the Magnolia State and take a job or hang out a shingle.

House Bill 1263 would require most of Mississippi’s occupational licensing boards, agencies and commissions to issue licenses to people who hold a current license in good standing from another state and have been licensed at least a year. There are some exceptions, such as physicians and attorneys, but it covers dozens of other professions, such as accountants, cosmetologists, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists and veterinarians.

Gov. Tate Reeves at a press conference this week thanked the bill’s author, state Rep. Becky Currie of Brookhaven, and Sen. Kevin Blackwell of Southaven for the bill’s passage. Reeves said the measure is “a loss for governmental bureaucracy and red tape,” that will help Mississippi attract residents and jobs.

The measure is one of hundreds of new Mississippi laws and spending bills that take effect on Thursday, including a teacher pay raise, House Bill 852, of about $1,000 per year for Mississippi’s more than 31,000 kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and teacher assistants. The more than 100 appropriations bills that fund state agencies also will go into effect Thursday.

Most laws passed by the Mississippi Legislature take effect each year on July 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year, although some start “from and after passage,” which means immediately after the governor signs them. Others start at later specified dates. For instance, a pay raise of up to 3% for the about 26,000 state employees approved during the 2021 session will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022.

READ MORE: Bills to watch: Teacher pay, medical marijuana survive, voter purge dies

A look at some of the laws that take effect Thursday:

Senate Bill 2795: Centers on criminal justice reform. The new law expands parole eligibility and would allow as many as 3,000 of the state’s roughly 17,000 people now in prison to become eligible for parole within three to five years. Those convicted of violations deemed violent crimes committed without a weapon, such as simple robbery or burglary, would be eligible for parole after serving 20 years or 50% of their sentence, whichever is less. They currently have to serve 50%. And some convicted of possession of drugs or of selling drugs and those convicted of some other nonviolent crimes would be eligible after serving 10 years or 25%, whichever is less.

READ MORE: Gov. Reeves signs parole eligibility bill, after last year’s veto

House Bill 1135: This bill concerns the home delivery of alcohol. The law allows home delivery of beer, wine and liquor from liquor stores and other retailers within 30 miles of the stores. Delivery would not be allowed to any “dry” areas where alcohol sales are prohibited and would be allowed only from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, not on Sundays nor on Christmas day. Purchasers would have to be 21 or older, as would delivery drivers.

H0use Bill 196: The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act provides women in prison with minor children more opportunity to see the children and provides additional rights for pregnant women, such as allowing a newborn to remain with the mother for 72 hours unless there are medical concerns and prohibiting invasive searches of pregnant women. The new law also would provide additional rights for all women, such as access to menstrual hygiene products.

Senate Bill 2569: This bill makes it a misdemeanor to tamper with urine samples used for testing. A third conviction could result in a felony conviction.

House Bill 277: Allows tribal identification cards to be used as identification cards for various activities, such as proving age to purchase liquor or cigarettes or to purchase lottery tickets. The new law also allows the card to be used to purchase hunting and fishing licenses and for other activities. A tribal identification card including a photo already can be used to vote.

Senate Bill 2253: Allows a concealed carry permit to be combined with a driver’s license or state-sponsored identification card.

Senate Bill 2313: The Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletic Compensation Act allows college athletes to contract with an agent for their names, images or likenesses to be used, for instance, to endorse a product and receive compensation for that endorsement. College athletes have been prohibited from earning income based on their athletic achievements, but the NCAA, college athletics’ governing body, is currently rewriting those rules.

Senate Bill 2606: The Mississippi Native Spirits Law allows liquor and wine produced in the state more leeway in its sales, such as allowing sales where it is produced, and allowing direct sales by bypassing the state’s liquor and wine warehouse.

House Bill 1139: This reverses a law passed in the 2000s during a budget crunch where businesses had to submit to the state early a certain percentage of sales tax collected in June.

Senate Bill 2621: This bill creates a task force to study domestic laws, including those surrounding divorce.

Senate Bill 2536: This law mandates that people identified as male at birth cannot participates in female sports activities.

READ MORE: Gov. Tate Reeves signs bill barring trans competition in women’s sports, but cites no examples.


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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.