JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The later in the legislative session it gets, the more narrow the focus. We’re following up on some bills that are still in play including one that was revived on deadline day.
After being held on a motion to reconsider Wednesday, the Senate returned Thursday and again approved the measure to revive the medical marijuana proposal after the House allowed the original bill to die.
“I think it’s a last ditch effort for some members of the Senate who want to get in front of the will of the people,” said Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association Executive Director Ken Newburger.
But Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann says he’s confused by that rationale.
“So what happens to all of those people that the advocate said would really have to have this?” asked Hosemann.
“The fail-safe is that we voted last year and that’s all we need,” noted Newburger. “We don’t need anything more.”
Hosemann is standing by his chamber’s efforts to keep some form of the back-up program alive.
“They’re trying to give a backstop to make sure it goes into effect,” described Hosemann. “What happens if they declared it unconstitutional? We don’t come back till next year.”
The proposal isn’t identical to Initative 65. Unlike 65, the senate bill would tax the medical marijuana. Also still in play are some closely watched education bills.
“The legislature has been really good to education so far and we’re not across the finish line yet but we’re really very pleased with the level of support,” explained The Parents’ Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome.
Senate Bill 2149 has now cleared both chambers and heads to the Governor.
“That is a bill that protects school districts from pretty dramatic budget cuts by holding them harmless for the lower attendance count that they had due to the pandemic,” said Loome.
But they are anxiously awaiting action from the House on the teacher pay raise bill. Here are some of the other bills they’ve had their eyes on.
Hosemann commented Thursday on the pending tax reform proposal, saying he’s now received a report from the state economist.
“It doesn’t agree to appear with other numbers that have been circulated by other people,” said Hosemann.
The Senate will need to take action on that tax reform proposal passed by the House by next Tuesday in order for it to stay alive.