2019 Equality Legislative Agenda


Supporting protections for all Mississippians regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, familial status or immigrant status in all facets of societal life is true hospitality and the right thing to do. Mississippians should not face discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, state government programs, or education. Religion should never be used as a tool of discrimination. In our continued fight for equality for all, the ACLU of MS will again advocate for the Mississippi Civil Rights Act. HB 521, HB 1345 & SB 2414 are designed to protect all Mississippians from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, immigrant status, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Status: Died in committee.

Here are the Equality/Equal Access bills we're tracking this legislative session:


HB 1 - Disabilities, persons with; modernize terminology used to refer to.
This bill will replace certain offensive terminology used in the legislature when referring to those with disabilities.
Status: Died in committee.
HB 94 - State employees; provide for increase in annual compensation for those with an annual gross salary of less than $50,000.00.
This bill will increase state employees’ gross salary which is a result of pay equity. 
Status: Died in committee.
HB 129, HB 289 - Equal pay for equal work; require for employees of opposite sex in the same work establishment.
Mississippi is only one of two states with no equal pay law. As a result, Mississippi has one of the largest wage gaps in the country, where women make just 75-cents for every dollar paid to men. The wage gap is even worst for women of color at only 56-cents. This bill would implement strong protections against pay discrimination to ensure women are paid fairly.  
Status: Died in committee.
HB 164 - Medical records; persons seeking disability benefits may obtain at no charge until final determination of disability. 
This bill will prohibit health care providers from charging for medical records to those who are seeking disability benefits. 
Status: Died in committee.
HB 193 - Mississippi Comprehensive Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act; create. 
Mississippi has the fourth highest teen birth rate in the nation. The ACLU of MS supports legislation that invests in reproduction healthcare, reduces the incidences of disease, and which will fund medically accurate and evidence based programs that meet the needs of MS young people so they can make healthy individual decisions.  
Status: Died in committee.
HB 237 - Dating violence, require school districts to adopt policy and educate students on.

This legislation finds and declares that all students have a right to work and study in a safe, supportive environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and violence. This legislation however must be inclusive of sexual orientation a gender identity. 

Status: Died in committee.

HB 257 - Medicaid; require Governor and Division of Medicaid to negotiate to obtain federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage. 
This bill would have required the Governor of Mississippi and the Department of Medicaid to negotiate with the federal government to expand access to healthcare. We support this bill because this would be a step towards equality when it comes to healthcare.  
Status: Died in committee.
HB 267 - Teacher’s salary; provide for $4,000.00 increase over four years at $1,000.00/year beginning with the 2019-2020 term. 


There is a critical teacher shortage in Mississippi. This bill provides an increase for teacher’s salary beginning in the year 2019-2020. Teachers deserve pay equity. 

Status: Died in committee.

HB 268 - Teachers’ salary; implement five-year phase to increase to Southeastern average. 

This legislation recommends that teacher’s salary be equal to the southeastern average salary starting in 2023. Teachers deserve pay equity.

Status: Died in committee.

HB 269, HB 650, SB 2525 - Advocates of domestic abuse victims; create provisions to protect confidential information and communications of advocates of domestic abuse victims, rape crisis and domestic violence programs. 

This bill will enforce privacy protection for rape and domestic abuse victims and help protect those individuals who are providing assistance to domestic violence victims.  

Status: House Bills died in committee. Senate Bill died in conference.

HB 251, HB 1345, SB 2414 - An act to create the "Mississippi Civil Rights Act"; to provide certain definitions; to provide that the right for persons to be free from discrimination is a civil right; to provide remedies for persons discriminated against; and for related purposes.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Act mandates that all citizens of Mississippi be given the same fundamental human rights, offering protections for them when those rights are violated. Mississippians should not be forced to seek redress in federal courts when they are wronged at home.
Status: Died in committee.
HB 276 -  Declaratory opinion; permit electronic submission of requests for.

This bill gives the option of electronic request and submission for declaratory opinions, expanding access to the public.

Status: Died in committee.
HB 277 - Minimum wage; establish at $8.35 and set requirements for exemptions and overtime. 


This legislation will increase minimum wage to $8.35 from $7.25. The current minimum wage is inadequate and has systematic consequences, most notably its disproportionate effect our people of color. If passed, this bill would be a step toward in poverty the economic injustice faced by the people of color and lessen racial wealth inequality. 

Status: Died in committee.
HB 315 - Sexual harassment; create a state cause of action.
Sexual harassment is a civil rights violation, and the culture of sexual harassment must be dismantled. This bill will stop gender based violence and harassment in the workplace, create meaningful accountability which should include civil rights remedies that shift the focus far punishing the offender to provide redress for the victim.   
Status: Died in committee.
HB 329, HB 334 - Appropriation; Administrative Office of Courts to provide funding for mental health courts. 
This bill will provide funding for mental health courts and it will give people with mental health a fair chance within the criminal legal system. 
Status: Died in committee.
HB 387 - Religious Freedom Act and Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act; repeal. 
This bill would repeal the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the harmful Protection Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, or HB 1523. These laws codified religion as a basis for discrimination and should not be a part of Mississippi’s history. 
Status: Died in committee.
HB 544 - Mississippi Employment Protection Act; repeal. 
This legislation sought to repeal the Mississippi Employment Protection Act passed in 2008, which requires employers to use the federal E-verify system when determining if new hires are lawfully in the country. Verifying immigrant status a federal governmental responsibility.  
Status: Died in committee.
HB 676 - The Evelyn Gandy Fair Pay Act; create. 
This legislation would make it illegal for employers to use gender as a means for deciding wage. This bill also prohibited wage discrimination in the workplace.
Status: Died in committee.
HB 1494, SB 2163 - Hate crimes; revised delineation of victim. 
Mississippi does not have a statewide hate crimes laws that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. This bill will protect the rights of all citizens because they deserve equal protection under the law. 
Status: Died in committee.
SB 2328 - Forensic Mental Health Act of 2019; create.
This bill will align the law with the criminal rules of procedure, and provide constitutional protections for individuals charged with a felony and deemed incompetent to stand trial due to a mental health issue. It will help ensure that individuals suffering from a mental health illness are not sitting in jail while waiting to receive treatment.
Status: Signed by Governor.
SC 535 - Constitution; establish standards for establishing Mississippi Congressional District boundaries.
This resolution would ensure that standards for establishing district boundaries take place in a fair way and account for the size of a district’s population and its racial and ethnic diversity.
Status: Died in committee.


HB 13 - SNAP and TANF recipients; require those unemployed to take Test of Adult Basic Education.
This act will require people to take a test in order to receive SNAP or TANF assistance that is provided by the government. This bill creates an unnecessary barrier to economic stability for already struggling public benefit recipient. The bill would require recipients participation in progress for which it provides no resources in order to receive basic life sustaining supplements makes no provisions for those who are disabled or with limited capacity. 

Status: Died in committee.

HB 529 - Abortion; prohibit after fetal heartbeat is detectable. 

A woman should be able to determine when she is ready to have children. This bill infringes on a woman’s right to control her own healthcare choices by limiting the time period in which a woman could seek an abortion or by restricting abortion services completely.

Status: Died in committee.

HB 628 - Health insurance; revise mandatory policy provisions to penalize late payments of claims. 

This bill will penalize late payment claims. It is unconstitutional for a person to be penalized because they cannot afford their payments. 

Status: Referred to Senate Insurance Committee.

HB 732, SB 2116 - Abortion; prohibit when heart beat is detected. 

Abortion is health care that one in four American women will seek in her lifetime. This safe, standard medical procedure should be legal and accessible for all who need it. Patients must be able to make their own medical decisions privately with their doctors — not with politicians.
Status: HB 732 died on Senate floor. SB 2116 signed by Governor.
HB 1176 - Teachers; provide protection from suspension or termination for refusing to refer to students preferred gender identity from biological assignment at birth. 

This bill would have allowed public school teachers and staff to harass and discriminate against transgender and nonbinary students, amounting to government-authorized bullying of vulnerable young people.

Status: Died in committee.

SB 2015 - Immigration workforce violations; employers using temporary workers held accountable. 

Immigration enforcement is the sole purview of the federal government. This legislation is outside the scope of Article X of the US Constitution.

Status: Died in committee.