Many New Laws Take Effect July 1st

In less than two weeks, the bills passed during the 2001 legislative session will become law.

Some lawmakers described the 2001 session as mundane. One senator said they passed a lot of good laws this year, even though lawmakers didn't have a lot of funding to work with.

One law protects farmers against crop destruction . A person caught damaging crops would have to pay the farmer twice what the crop is worth on the market.

"We have enough natural disasters to worry about without somebody going out and just arbitrarily doing damage to that crop for no purpose," Sen. Terry Burton , (D) Newton, said. "Plowing it up, burning it, four wheelers all over it -- we've had several instances of that in the state."

Most of the legislation passed during the session will take effect July first. But one bill already became law when it was approved by the U.S. Justice Department in June. A new elections law allows clerks to fill out registration forms for people who are handicapped or illiterate .

Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark pushed for the legislation during the session.

"If the law said the person had to sign it, either they were turned away which was humiliating and unfair or the clerk lied and signed it for them and in either case it was bad," Clark said. "So the legislature passed this law that said if a person cannot sign his or her name the clerk can sign for them and it's legal."

Lawmakers say both bills are just two more ways the legislature is trying to serve the people of Mississippi.

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