This was as the fourth week of the 2020 Legislative Session. Because it is early in the session, the committees are just starting to meet as bills are still being drafted, so the floor action has been light. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the entire House. As a result of this, only one bill was voted on this week.
Senate Bill 2149 is an appropriation bill that would divert an additional $400,000 to the Department of Finance and Administration in preparation of the 2020 U.S. Census. These funds will be used to promote and educate Mississippians about the importance of being counted by the census. The bill passed with a vote of 114-5.
Governor Tate Reeves delivered his first State of the State address on Monday to a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature. He spoke of his plans for education, health care and workforce development. He also announced his plan to close Unit 29 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, or Parchman. This is a response to the string of killings and other violent incidents in Mississippi prisons.
On Thursday evening, a special House Election Committee met to determine the outcome of the House District 40 election. Representative Hester Jackson-McCray (D - DeSoto) was elected by 14 votes in November 2019, and she has been serving in the House since the start of the Legislative Session. The bipartisan committee voted unanimously to recommend to the House that she remain in her seat. The entire House will have a vote on the floor to determine the final outcome.
Representative Ramona Blackledge (R - Jones) announced her resignation this week. A special election to fill the District 88 seat has not been announced.
Visitors at the Capitol this week included the Mississippi Occupational Therapy Association, Jackson State University Alumni and pharmacy students from around the state.