JACKSON — Tuesday marked a big deadline during the three-month session of the Mississippi Legislature. It was the final day for House and Senate committees to act on general bills that had already been passed by the other chamber. Bills that survived the deadline will go to the full House or Senate for more debate. Here’s a look at the status of selected bills:
GOVERNMENT PURCHASING: House Bill 825 and Senate Bill 2400 would change how state contracts are reviewed and reduce exemptions from competitive procurement, in a reaction to contracting scandals at the Department of Corrections.
TEXTING & DRIVING: House Bill 389 would ban reading and sending of texts and use of social media sites while driving.
INSPECTION STICKER: House Bill 982 would eliminate the need for Mississippi drivers to obtain a $5 sticker every year.
AUTO INSURANCE: Senate Bill 2380 would allow a driver to show a copy of an automobile insurance card on a cellphone rather than only on paper.
SCHOOL INNOVATION: Senate Bill 2191 would allow some school districts to be freed from some state regulations, with approval of the state Board of Education. Up to five districts per year could be labeled as a “district of innovation,” each getting five years of freedom.
COASTAL INSURANCE: House Bill 739 would require insurance companies to disclose how much they’re charging customers by geographic area. The idea, which originated in Alabama, is meant to provide evidence to people who are fighting for lower insurance rates.
AUTISM INSURANCE: Senate Bill 2581 would require insurance companies to offer coverage for autism screening, diagnosis and treatment on health plans sold in the state.
HOLMES-DURANT SCHOOL MERGER: House Bill 572 and Senate Bill 2691 would consider merging the Holmes County and Durant school districts. The Senate approach would mandate a merger while the House would appoint a study committee.
WORKFORCE TRAINING: House Bill 911 and Senate Bill 2457 would divert $15 million from unemployment taxes to fund job training grants.
IRAN DIVESTMENT: House Bill 1127 would prohibit state government from investing in companies that have certain investments in Iran.
CHURCH BUSES: House Bill 132 would have exempted drivers of church buses with 30 or fewer seats from requirements for a commercial driver’s license. Some called it the “Jesus, take the wheel” bill.
THIRD GRADE READING: House Bill 745 would have allowed current third graders to be promoted to fourth grade without passing a reading test.
ACT TESTS: House Bill 385 would have pushed the state Board of Education to use standardized tests by the ACT testing organization and barred contracting with the company that wrote the current Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers test that Mississippi will give this year.
ASSISTANT TEACHER PAY RAISE: House Bill 582 would have increased the salary of the state’s 6,000 assistant teachers by $2,500 from the current $13,000 a year. The issue could be revived in budget talks.
TEACHER SUPPLIES: House Bill 489 would have boosted teacher supply funds by 50 percent for people in their first three years of teaching.
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION: House Bill 947 would have given an extra $15 million for vocational education to school districts showing their programs need improvement.
PRIMARY RUNOFF BILL: House Bill 1069 would have made it a misdemeanor to vote or try to vote in one party’s primary runoff after voting in another party’s primary. It would have also repealed a Mississippi law that says a voter can participate in a party primary only if he intends to support that party’s nominee in the general election.
SUPERMARKET TAX CREDIT: Senate Bill 2840 would have provided a job tax credit for supermarkets that locate in economically distressed communities.
VETERANS TAX CREDIT: Senate Bill 2217 would have created an income tax credit for people who hire military veterans who served after 2001 and have been unemployed for six months.
WITNESS PROTECTION: Senate Bill 2126 would have created a state witness protection program that could have shielded endangered witnesses for up to two years.
WRONGFUL DEATH: House Bill 1338 would have allowed civil lawsuits for wrongful death for any fetus, no matter how young.
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