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Mississippi Legislative Update for January 24, 2024

  • Post category:Action Alert

The Mississippi State Legislature convened at the beginning of January. Wednesday, February 14, is legislators’ last day to introduce new bills. The session lasts 125 days and ends (or adjourns) on May 5 (also known as sine die).

We’ll watch virtually and in person throughout the session and encourage you to do so, too. The House and Senate webcasts stream live on the Mississippi Legislature YouTube channel. Some of the Senate committee meetings are also streamed live on the channel. The Legislature records all meetings and sessions and makes them available on YouTube if you want to watch them when convenient.

If you want to follow the session more closely, go to the Mississippi Legislature website, which has excellent information on legislators, legislation, House and Senate committees, calendars and schedules. You can find information about any legislator, follow a specific bill’s progress during the session or download the bill’s text.

This is a list of bills legislators have introduced related to areas critical to Families as Allies: mental health, education, child welfare, special health care needs, juvenile justice, Medicaid, disability rights and transparency and accountability. We included bills on this list that we believe might interest families. Inclusion on the list does not mean Families as Allies supports the bill. To read the bill’s text, click on the bill number (HB means House Bill and SB means Senate Bill) on the left side of the page. To learn the bill’s status, click on the link right below the bill.

When a legislator introduces a bill, it is given a number and assigned to a committee in the chamber (House or Senate) it originated in. Committee chairs decide which bills will come up for a vote in their committees. Bills they don’t bring up for a committee vote do not progress and will not become law. That is what it means for a bill to “die.”

The deadline for legislators to vote bills out of committee in their chambers is Tuesday, March 5. Most bills will die on that day. Those still alive will be placed on the calendar to be voted on by the full House or Senate. You can learn more about how a bill becomes a law here.

To find a specific bill from this year’s session, use the Legislation tab on the website and go to the bottom of the page to click or tap “Select a measure.” Then choose HB (for House bill) or SB (for Senate bill) and fill in the number of the bill. If you don’t know the number of a bill, you can also search by text, committee, or legislator.

If you would like to give feedback on a bill, one of the quickest and most effective ways to do so is to call the Capitol switchboard at (601) 359-3770 and ask them to give the relevant committee chair a message. Our list of bills includes the committees to which bills were assigned. This link lists the chairs of each committee.

Families as Allies does not typically take stances on legislation. We are, however, very concerned about the issue of people, including young people, with mental illness held in jail without charges and will be following legislation related to that very closely. We continue to look at commitment procedures and mental health infrastructure in other southern states and compare them to Mississippi. We hope to share that information soon.

We want you to have as much information as possible so that you can advocate for what you think is best for your children and family. If you would like assistance understanding a piece of legislation or contacting a policymaker, feel free to contact us. We will follow our list of bills as the session progresses and give you more detailed information about specific bills.

We will discuss the legislative process, specific bills and any of your ideas or questions about legislation on January 24 from noon to 1:00 pm CST in our virtual Leadership Coaching and Policy Discussion. All are welcome. Please join us!

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