Session Brings Challenges, Positive Opportunities
In a recent editorial for a local news station, I had the chance to reflect on the 2020 Legislative Session. While COVID disrupted some of our plans, we also enacted
positive, conservative legislation to help move Mississippi forward.
To increase efficiency and eliminate waste, we abolished two government entities. We retooled driver’s services and instituted a fee reduction for
long wait times.
We recreated the State’s primary workforce board, requiring small business representation, and beefing up responsibility and accountability. The state’s
new workforce “czar” will be responsible for maximizing the impact of every dollar we spend on training citizens for higher wage jobs.
In education, we eliminated major barriers to teacher licensure which will clear the way for hundreds of students to enter teacher education programs
in colleges and universities.
We addressed problems in our mental health system, providing a coordinator with the authority to review the availability of current services and establish
procedures to increase access and raise standards.
Additionally, we passed legislation protecting the rights of the unborn and championed various COVID bills including freezing the unemployment insurance
contribution rates for businesses already struggling financially.
Although we have more we want to accomplish in the coming years, we balanced the budget and built a solid foundation for positive change. All of this
is part of the path to our ultimate objective: making Mississippi an even better place for your children and grandchildren.
Legislation Limits Liability for Businesses, Healthcare Facilities
Healthcare facilities which followed applicable public health guidance in good faith in treating patients are now immune from civil liability for COVID-19-related
lawsuits, under recently enacted legislation.
Senate Bill 3049,
authored by former Senator Sally Doty, also extends protection to first responders, schools or other educational entities, non-profit organizations,
and businesses. Businesses which manufactured personal protective equipment in response to the virus are also covered.
The legislation includes a two-year statute of limitations for any legitimate claim, and backdates to March 14, 2020—the date the Governor’s
original emergency declaration was issued.
Bills Aimed at Helping Military Members, Veterans Prioritzed
A bill championed by Senator Chuck Younger, Senate Bill 2117,
will allow members of the military and their family members to receive occupational licenses more quickly. Qualifying applicants must now receive
their license within two weeks, or be issued a temporary permit under which to work.
“This bill will allow our soldiers and their families, who are subjected to frequent relocation, the opportunity to quickly reestablish themselves
in Mississippi communities,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said.
Senate Bill 2225,
authored by Senator Mike Seymour, will allow veterans to obtain a concealed carry permit with their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health
Deer Season Extended Through Weekend Where End Typically Takes Place on Friday
Senate Bill 2723,
authored by Senator Walter Michel, will provide an extra weekend in the deer stands during some hunting seasons.
The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks now has the authority to extend deer season to 30 minutes after sunset on Sunday where the season
would have ended on Friday. The bill passed 51-0, with all Senators present voting in favor.
For more information on the legislation or to view the vote count, click here.