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Week of February 12, 2024

By Representative Clay Mansell


This was the seventh week of the 2024 Legislative Session. Members worked throughout the week dropping bills and meeting in committee. After Monday, February 19, no new general bills or constitutional amendments can be introduced. More than 1,200 House bills have been filed already. Despite how early it is in session, committees continued to meet, and several bills were introduced before the whole House.


House Bill 286 would remove the statute of limitations on sexual battery if DNA evidence is discovered. Currently, the statute of limitations for sexual battery is two years. The bill passed with little debate by a vote of 121-0 before being held on a motion to reconsider.


Two bills that would add celebrations to our state calendar were introduced. House Bill 124 would designate the fourth Thursday in March as “Tuskegee Airmen Day.” While it would not be a legal state holiday, the day would honor and recognize the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. HB 124 passed the House unanimously and has been sent to the Senate. House Bill 365 would designate the month of March as “Mississippi Musicians Month.” The bill passed 118-0.


Three Representatives presented bills for the first time before the House. Representative Jimmy Fondren (R – Pascagoula) presented House Bill 526, which would allow hunters to wear fluorescent pink as an alternative to orange. The bill passed 110-4. Representative Rodney Hall (R – Southaven) presented House Bill 80, or the Zeb Hughes Law, which would create a presumption of death for missing persons who have undergone a catastrophic event. Hughes, for whom the bill is named, and Gunner Palmer were two young men from Copiah County who went missing in December 2020 after scouting duck hunting locations on the Mississippi River. HB 80 passed unanimously 121-0. Representative Zachary Grady (R – D’Iberville) presented House Bill 1004, which would revise definitions for the provisions of law that regulate the sex offender registry. The bill passed unanimously 119-0.


On Tuesday, former Representative Alyce G. Clarke of Jackson was honored by the House of Representatives and other community leaders with the hanging of her portrait in the House Education Committee Room. Ms. Clarke was the first African American woman elected to the Mississippi Legislature. During her 38 years in the House, she implemented the federal WIC food program, established drug courts, organized school breakfasts and championed the state lottery system. She is the first woman and first African American to have a portrait in the State Capitol.


On Thursday, the House honored the Louisville High School Football team for winning the 2023 MHSAA Class 4A State Championship. Representative Carl Mickens (D – Brooksville) presented Coach Tyrone Shorter with House Resolution 29, which congratulated the team on its accomplishment.


Other visitors this week included Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Alcorn State University Purple and Gold Day, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, Mississippi State Medical Association, Mississippi Association of Physicians Assistants, Mississippi Psychiatric Association, DeSoto County Economic Development Council and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.


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