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Week of January 29, 2024

By Clay Mansell




Great Seal of MS

This was the fifth week of the 2024 Legislative Session. Because it is early in the session, committees are just starting to meet as bills are still being drafted, so floor action has been light. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the entire House. The deadline for bill introduction is Monday, February 19, and the deadline for bills to be out of committee is Tuesday, March 5. Despite most work still happening in committees, two bills reached the House floor.

 

House Bill 539 would allow presumptive eligibility for prenatal care under Medicaid for pregnant women whose household incomes are 194% below the federal poverty line. These women could receive care for 60 days while the Mississippi Division of Medicaid is reviewing their applications. A qualified provider (e.g., the Health Department, a doctor trained in the process, etc.) would have to deem the woman eligible to receive the benefits by confirming the pregnancy and determining her income level. The bill passed the House by a vote of 117-5.

 

Online sports betting would become legal in Mississippi under House Bill 774, or the Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act. The bill would require online sportsbooks like BetMGM, FanDuel or DraftKings to partner with an existing casino in Mississippi. This would ensure that money is staying at brick-and-mortar locations. In-person sports betting at physical casinos is currently legal. Gaming Chairman Casey Eure (R – Saucier) introduced Amendment 1, which added that the revenue collected by the state would go towards the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund, and the amendment passed on a voice vote. Representative Robert L. Johnson, III introduced Amendment 2, which would have given the gross revenue from a wager to the casino within a 40-mile radius from the placed bet instead of the casino with which the platform has partnered. Amendment 2 was tabled by a vote of 77-35. The bill passed the House by a vote of 98-14.

 

Visitors this week included Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Mississippi Occupational Therapy Association, Hancock Youth Leadership, Miss Capital City Becky Williams and the Mississippi Podiatric Medical Association.

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