Lawmakers work out details of various bills as session enters final week

Lawmakers work out details of various bills as session enters final week

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State lawmakers are working out the details on the last remaining bills of the 2021 session this week. They worked through the weekend but some items remain undone.

In a move prompted by the coronavirus-induced demand for convenience, your next at-home toast may require one less trip.

“This is a way they’ll be able to deliver to your home from your local package store,” said Senator Josh Harkins.

The bill still needs the Governor’s signature but would only apply to purchases with local package stores, not an online wine club, for example.

“They’ll have an app that, based on your location, you can only buy within a 30 mile radius,” described Harkins. “They can’t deliver to a dry county. They have to follow local ordinances and laws.”

A different kind of boost will be headed to state employees.

“The idea is there will be a 3 percent across the board pay raise but it will be based on market rate for that particular job,” explained Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Briggs Hopson. “So, if someone is at the market rate already, they may not get a pay raise. But for those that are under the market rate, they would get up to a 3 percent pay raise.”

The pay raise is expected to take effect in January of next year.

“Our state workers often feel neglected and that they’re on the end of the totem pole when it comes to pay increases,” noted Sen. John Horhn, “So, it’s good to see that they’re getting something starting next year.”

This year, criminal justice reforms are coming down to the wire.

“It’s not really an option,” said Rep. Nick Bain. “It’s something I think we have to do. And if we don’t do it, we’re going to be stuck with the federal government telling us what to do.”

The Governor vetoed a parole eligibility bill last year. Still, it’s not a done deal this session.

“It’s really come down to honestly a few words in the report and to use a football analogy, we’re at the five yard line and we just need to get it to the goal-line,” noted Sen. Brice Wiggins.

Another status update from the Governor’s office, the Governor signed House Bill 852 today that will give teachers and teachers assistants pay raises. That raise won’t kick in until July 1 at the start of the new fiscal year.

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