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Week of April 22, 2024



Clay Mansell

By Representative Clay Mansell

 

This was the seventeenth week of the 2024 legislative session. As the session winds down, legislators spent most of the week meeting in conferences, filing conference reports and passing conference reports on the floor.

 

On Friday, the House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 548, which suspends the rules so that a Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) bill and an education funding bill could be introduced.

 

After the deadline was suspended, House Education Chairman Rob Roberson (R – Starkville) introduced House Bill 4130, which would repeal the Mississippi Adequate Education Plan and provide for a new funding formula. The formula is similar to the INSPIRE Act (House Bill 1453) that was passed earlier this year before dying in the Senate. Like INSPIRE, schools would receive more money for low-income students, special-needs students, English language learners and others. HB 4130 has a three-year hold harmless so that districts whose funding was expected to lower will be level-funded. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 113-0.

 

The House is expected to take up the PERS bill (Senate Bill 3231) in the next few days.

 

The House also took up several suffrage bills, restoring voting rights to certain individuals who were previously convicted of some nonviolent felony offenses. These individuals would have had their voting rights restored under House Bill 1609, but the bill was not taken up in the Senate.

 

The House is expected to work through the weekend to meet the conference report deadlines and to work on the new general bills under SCR 548. Adjournment sine die is scheduled for Sunday, May 5.

 

On Thursday, the House honored famed blues singer Bobby Rush and presented him with House Concurrent Resolution 43. The concurrent resolution congratulates Rush on winning his third Grammy Award. While being recognized, the 90-year-old musician performed one of his songs with his harmonica.

 

Other guests and visitors this week included Laurel High School, Clinton High School’s Attache Show Choir, Jackson Academy, Presbyterian Christian School, Gulfport Mayor’s Youth Council and St. Catherine’s Village.

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