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Mississippi Legislative Update for March 2, 2023

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Many bills died on February 28 because it was the deadline for Mississippi state legislators to vote bills out of committee. The next deadline is March 8. The full Senate and full House must vote on bills from the opposite chamber by March 8, or the bills will die.

Families as Allies is tracking these bills related to mental health, disabilities and childrenThe list sorts bills according to their content areas: mental health, juvenile/criminal justice, child welfare, education/early intervention, special health care/healthcare, and transparency and accountability. Inclusion on the list indicates the bill is related to the issue listed. It does not imply that we agree with or endorse it. We want you to have as much information as possible to advocate for what you think is best for your children and family. “Title Suff Do Pass” means the committee passed the bill as written.

Some of the bills on our list have strike-all amendments. Strike-all amendments strike out some or all of the bill’s original text and replace it with new text. Sometimes the new text substantially changes the intention or direction of the bill. For example, SB 2075 changed its focus from adoptees obtaining their birth certificates to licensure of adoption agencies, and SB 2333 changed from being about seizure precautions at school to school-based mental health supports.

If you follow a bill with a strike-all amendment, we encourage you to read the amended bill carefully. To read a bill’s amendment, click on the latest action link that follows the bill’s title. That link takes you to an information page about the bill. Look for amendments about halfway down the page.

Some bills may go to a conference committee because the House and Senate cannot agree on what should be in them. If so, Lt. Governor Hosemann will appoint three senators, and Speaker Gunn will appoint three representatives to craft an acceptable bill for both sides. Rule 23A in the Joint Rules of the Senate and House states that conference committee meetings are open to the public.

Suppose you support a bill that is now in the opposite chamber. In that case, one of the quickest and most effective ways to give feedback is to call the Capitol switchboard at (601) 359-3770 and ask them to tell your State Senator (if it’s a House bill) or State Representative (if it’s a Senate bill) that you would like them to vote yes on the bill. You can also ask them to vote no if you do not support the bill.

Go to Open States Find Your Legislator and enter your address to find your state legislator. It will also list your federal representatives, but you want to contact your state senator and representative. Contact your state representative about senate bills (the ones that start with SB) and your state senator about house bills (the ones that begin with HB).

The Mississippi House and Senate are both live-streamed. Senate committee meetings are live-streamed as well. The link to join is at the top of the Senate committee agenda schedule.

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