Mississippi House Begins Voting – Legislative Update

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This week marked an important deadline in the Mississippi legislature. This Tuesday was the deadline for committees in the House and Senate to pass any measures they wish to move forward in the legislative process. This marks the point at which many bills die and are no longer in consideration for this year.

To give you a better perspective, more than 75% of the bills introduced did not make it past this deadline: of over 2,000 bills introduced this year, only about 500 are still alive today. You can view a list of the measures that are still active here

After this deadline, the House began discussing and voting on bills before the entire House. We passed a number of measures this week dealing with everything from early voting to a bill allowing breweries to see their own beer on-site. You can view each of the bills we considered, along with an explanation and my vote, on this week’s blog post here.

You might have seen some news about HB 480, which has been dubbed the “Internet Sales Tax” bill. There’s been a lot of discussion about this bill and what it actually does. I’ll try to explain it as clearly as possible. The bill revises the definition of businesses that are required to pay the state’s use tax to include out of state retailers that sell online.

Regardless of what proponents are saying, the bill would impose an additional tax on Mississippians that aren’t currently paying one. I voted against this bill because the end result will be a tax increase on the citizens of this state who shop online. You can read a more detailed analysis of the bill in this excellent  Clarion-Ledger column from Russ Latino.

I joined Paul Gallo this morning on SuperTalk to discuss this bill and other issues from the legislative session so far, you can listen to the segment here.

Several bills that are moving forward focus on one very important thing – increasing employment in our state. I mentioned a couple of bills in my last update that increase employability for those reentering society after an interaction with the criminal justice system. You can read a detailed discussion of legislation that addresses these issues from the Jackson Free Press here.

A number of bills before the House help improve transparency in government. When it comes to transparency, my commitment to you is to always lead by example. In addition to posting all of my votes on my blog, I will also continue to update my House Calendar page so that you can know how I’m voting on bills that are coming up for a vote.

I had the pleasure to visit with several constituents at the Capitol this week. I was happy to recognize a group of 9th graders from Rosa Scott High School from the floor of the House on Thursday. I also enjoyed meeting  with Bethany Culley of Madison, who was visiting the Capitol with a group of realtors from the area. If you’re planning to come to the Capitol, please let me know, I would love to visit with you!

This coming Thursday will mark the next deadline, for houses to consider all bills originating in their own chamber. Most of next week will be spent discussing, debating, and voting on these bills.

Be sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the week. You can reach me anytime on my cell at (601) 207-0813.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, requests, or if I can do anything for you.

It’s an honor to represent you.

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