The 2012 Legislative Session was historic for many reasons. With the first Republican Speaker of the Mississippi House in over 140 years, there were new opportunities to enact strong conservative legislation in our State. Below are some of the key conservative bills that were successfully passed into law during the most recent Session:
· HB 16- Child Protection Act*
· HB 211- Sunshine Act*
· HB 681- Enhancement of child endangerment to DUI Laws*
· HB 995- Reform absentee ballot*
· HC 30- Constitutional Amendment- Right to Hunt and Fish*
· HB 1390- Abortions; all physicians performing in abortion clinics must have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
· HB 921- Voter Identification; require for all elections
· SB 2576- Worker’s Compensation Law; revise various positions
· SB 2398- Mississippi Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act*
· HB 695- Gun Permits; revise reciprocity
· HB 455- Weapon dealer record keeping requirements; repeal
· HB 707- School Start Date Act of 2012
· HB 536- Income tax; increase credit for ad valorem tax paid on inventory
· SB 2934- Income tax; increase credit for ad valorem tax paid on inventory
· HB 353- Crimes; create felony offense of knowingly deceiving a firearms dealer regarding firearm purchases
· HB 696- Student grades; prohibit certain school administrators and district employees from influencing a change in
· HB 1268- Adoption; revise various statutes relating to
· HB 582- Sales tax; exempt sales of utilities to churches
* Denotes Mississippi Legislative Conservative Coalition Agenda Item
You can find copies of these bills at the legislative website - www.ls.state.ms.us .
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in the Mississippi Legislature!
On August 19, 2010 State Rep. Andy Gipson and other legislators received a certificate of appreciation from the national pro-life organization Americans United for Life ("AUL"). The certificate was presented in recognition of Gipson's work in helping to pass the Mississippi Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act during the 2010 Regular Session. Terri Herring, AUL Mississippi State Director stated: “In Mississippi, most elected officials say they are ‘pro-life’ but what we really need is leadership. Those who were given this award provided more than just lip service, they actually led the charge to protect the public trust by preventing our tax dollars from providing for the destruction of human life in the name of health.” The full press release from AUL may be found at http://www.aul.org/2010/08/aul-honors-mississippi-legislators-for-passing-opt-out-bill/
FINAL REGULAR SESSION LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - 2010
On Saturday, March 27th, the Legislature voted to temporarily adjourn the 2010 Regular Session for a three-week unpaid break. This followed a week full of wrangling over the budget for the coming Fiscal Year 2011. During the three-week break period, budget negotiators agreed to finalize the budget so that it could be quickly adopted when the Legislature resumed Session on April 20. Following is some background on how all this came to be.
Legislature Agrees Upon Conservative Budget
On Monday, March 22, a House resolution was introduced to extend the Session for 30 days, with no agreement on the budget. This came as an unwelcome surprise to myself, and to most conservatives in the House. We had earlier in the year pledged to complete the budget within the usual 90-day Session, and so we voted against this resolution -- not once, but twice. The primary reason we voted against the resolution was to avoid a repeat of last year's multiple extended Session that finally ended on June 30, 2009. With no agreement on the budget, conservatives could not accept even a temporary extension of 30 days. We felt we owed it to our constituents to use this vote as a tool to encourage an agreement on a workable, conservative budget. Ultimately, it seems this strategy succeeded.
Having missed the required budget deadline, after the original resolution was defeated on two separate votes, budget negotiators in the House and Senate returned with an agreement in principle on the amount of funding available for the 2011 Budget. The agreed amount is a conservative budget, approximately 10 percent less than the prior fiscal year appropriation. With this understanding, plus an agreement to conclude the Session within the normal 90-day period, the Session was temporarily adjourned.
Key Legislation Passed
As a result of this agreement on the budgeting process, all general bills had to be finalized by Saturday, March 27th. This was accomplished, although the week of March 22nd was extremely hectic. However, several key bills important to our citizens survived during this week. These included the bill to prohibit the release of insane offenders by the Department of Mental Health; and a bill establishing a Mississippi History and Heritage Trail system.
Mississippi Opts Out of Abortion Coverage Under Federal Healthcare Mandate
The final remaining week of legislative work resumed on April 20th at 1:00. During the week several "Suspension Resolutions" were passed by which two-thirds of the Legislature voted to suspend the rules to allow for the drafting and passage of various general bills to address various problems identified during the course of the Session. Very important to conservatives in the Senate and House, the Legislature suspended the rules to consider and pass a bill that would prohibit coverage of abortion services in Mississippi under the new federal healthcare mandate. This bill was a Senate version of a bill I offered in the House earlier in the Session.
At the last minute on Friday April 22, it became clear that the House was preparing to adjourn without passing the abortion prohibition. Several members of the House either were opposed to the legislation, or felt it was unnecessary. Late Friday afternoon the House Public Health Chairman announced that he believed the bill was unnecessary, although the clear language of the federal law provides that States may choose to opt-out of the abortion coverage provisions. Following this announcement, a majority of the House voted NOT to adjourn until the bill was brought for a vote, signaling that this issue was extremely important to a strong majority.
When the House reconvened on Saturday morning, April 23rd, neither the Chairman Vice-Chairman werepresent. This resulted in the Secretary of the Committee. Rep. Toby Barker, being permitted to preside and bring the abortion prohibition bill up for a vote. It overwhelmingly passed the Committee and the House, and, following a procedural move to reconsider, the bill went to Governor Barbour for his signature.
Thank you for the many calls and emails I've received during Session. Many of our constituents have expressed concern on the status of Nathan's Law, the bill to increase penalties for passing school buses. I met Nathan's parents, and supported this legislation in committee and on the floor, and will continue to do so. Ultimately I believe it will be adopted, although it will have to be next year or another session since the bill died in a Conference Committee.
Please call me if I may be of assistance to you: 601-847-0417 (Home); 601-359-3770 (Capitol when in Session); email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail). Thank you again for allowing me to serve you in your House of Representatives.