Here's the latest on the bills we're watching. Bills still alive need concurrence or will be invited into conference.

Criminal Justice Reform

Support

HB 334 - Mental health courts; authorize to be established throughout the state.

This bill will facilitate the expansion of mental health courts in Mississippi. 

Status: Died in committee. 

HB 1067 - Youth court; revise who may attend hearings and require to send certain monthly cumulative data to Administrative Office of Courts.

This bill will create transparency in youth court while protecting confidentiality.

Status: Died on Senate floor. 

HB 1352 - Criminal Justice Reform Act; create.

This comprehensive bill will help to reduce the state's mass incarceration crisis. Its benefits include: reorganizes drug courts to cover matters like mental health courts under the umbrella of "intervention" courts, expands advisory committee, data collection, clinical assessments, allows fee waiver, prevents driver's license suspensions for non-driving offenses, expands expungement of records, lifts automatic bans on occupational licenses, and sets up a "recidivism reduction" fund from savings in prison reduction for use in reentry programs.

Status: Passed on the Senate floor. Needs House concurrence or will be invited into conference. 

SB 2781 - Mississippi Fresh Start Act; create to require the revision of licensing restrictions based on criminal records.

This bill would remove any automatic bars to occupational licenses due to prior felony conviction.

Status: Passed on the House floor as amended.

Oppose

HB 21 - Utility worker; killing of shall be capital murder. 

This bill will classify the killing of a utility worker as capital murder. Not only is it unnecessary, but there is no evidence that utility workers are violently targeted.

Status: Died in committee.

HB 348 - Cell phones and other contraband found in correctional facilities; provide certain penalties for.

This bill would enhance sentence for guard introducing contraband to make sentence up to 30 years day for day. Sentencing enhancements perpetuate the state's addiction to prison.

Status: Died in committee.

SB 2141 - Terroristic threat; create offense of. 

This bill would create a new crime of "terroristic threat" with an automatic 10-year sentence. Creating a new crime is unnecessary and creates a slippery slope likely to lead to costly litigation protecting a fundamental right to free speech. This bill is also unnecessary as laws already on the books address hurtful speech. Protecting crude and upsetting speech is an essential component of democracy. 

Status: Returned for enrolling.


Equality

Support

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:  Passed on the House floor as amended.

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.

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: Passed on the House floor as amended.

 

Oppose

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 passed on House floor. Returned to Senate for concurrence, 


Voting

Support

HB 637 - Voter enfranchisement; create joint legislative study committee on. 

This bill will create a committee that will study potential policy or changes to the law that will restore the right to vote to former nonviolent felony offenders. We support legislation that is likely to create smart policies regarding felony disenfranchisement.   

Status: Died in committee.


Education

Support

HB 654 - County school board trustees; require runoff election if no candidate receives majority of votes cast.

Run-off elections provide an opportunity for voters to determine the candidate of their choice following general or special elections. School board elections should have the same process as other elections.

Status: Due from Governor on 3/18/19.

HB 1182 - Corporal punishment; prohibit use of in public schools to discipline a student with a disability. 

Corporal punishment should be prohibited inside the school system. There are positive, non-violent approaches to school discipline that have been proven to lead to safe environments in which children can learn.

Status: Returned for enrolling. 

Oppose

HB 623 - School districts; exempt those with “A” and “B” accountability ratings from certain duties.

This bill favors wealthy districts over fiscally challenged districts. All school districts should be held to the same accountability standards regardless of district rating. All public school teachers should also adhere to the same rules and regulations to ensure transparency and fairness.

Status: Died in committee.

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