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How long does the legislative session last? How does a bill become a law? Find the answers to these questions and more.
Who are the key lawmakers that will lead the legislative session? Find your legislators and get to know the leaders of the House and the Senate.
Read up on the issues that will be part of the most watched bills during the legislative session, including the hospital crisis and ballot initiative restoration.
LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Jan. 3-April 2, 2023
What does the Legislature do?
The Legislature makes laws and funds state government, subject to approval or veto from the governor.
Mississippi has a bicameral – House and Senate – Legislature that meets in regular session once a year and can hold special sessions only upon call of the governor.
The Legislature has 174 elected members – a large body for a state with a population of just under 3 million. There are 122 members in the House and 52 in the Senate. Each Senate district represents about 55,000 people and each House district about 24,000.
The House elects its leader, the speaker, from its membership and the lieutenant governor, elected by a statewide vote, oversees the Senate. The second-ranking House officer is the speaker pro tempore and the Senate’s is the president pro tempore, each elected by their chamber’s membership.
The leader of each chamber appoints committee chairpersons who oversee panels of lawmakers dealing with legislation by topic, from appropriations to wildlife.
Most legislation must pass in committee(s) before it can be voted on by the full chambers. Typically, “money committee” chairpersons – over Finance and Appropriations in the Senate and Ways and Means and Appropriations in the House – are powerful leadership positions.
Mississippi has a citizen Legislature. Most members have other full-time jobs.
HOW TO FOLLOW A BILL
Visit the legislative website to track the bills that matter the most to you.
WATCH THE SESSION
View live webcasts of the House and Senate or livestream from the Mississippi Legislature YouTube channel.
As bills move along or die in the process, our reporters will have continuous coverage.
How does a bill become a law?
A bill is filed by an individual House or Senate member and referred to a committee or multiple committees dealing with the subject area of the bill by the presiding officer of the chamber – Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann in the Senate or Speaker Philip Gunn in the House.
If the bill makes it through the committee process, it can be taken up by the full chamber.
It should be pointed out that in the Mississippi Legislature, a committee chair has the option to not take up a bill before the committee or before the full chamber and to allow it to die.
But if the bill passes both committee and the full chamber, it is sent to the other chamber where the process is repeated.
It also is important to note that in committee and before the full chamber in both the House and Senate, a bill can be amended by a majority vote. In most instances, final passage of a bill also requires a majority vote, but there are higher thresholds in some instances, such as a three-fifths majority to pass a revenue or tax bill or two-thirds majority to pass a constitutional resolution.
Once the bill passes the House and Senate in the same form, it is sent to Gov. Tate Reeves. He has the option to sign it into law, to allow it to become law without his signature or to veto it.
It takes a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers to override a governor’s veto.
How does a bill become a law?
Our latest Legislative Session coverage:
It is likely the highest number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in any state legislature so far this year, say civil rights and LGBTQ+ advocates in Mississippi.
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MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE
Mississippi Senate District Map
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mississippi House of Representatives District Map
THE TOP ISSUES
Follow some of the top issues facing legislators this session:
Here are some areas where Mississippians of all parties seem to agree, according to a new Mississippi Today/Siena College poll.