At this point in the session, a majority of bills have either been sent to the Governor to be signed into law or are being discussed in conference. Conference on a bill occurs when further discussion is needed by both sides to reach the best solution. A conference consists of three Representatives and three Senators who work together to finalize a bill. Once a bill is out of conference, it must go to both the House and Senate for a vote before being sent to the Governor.
Among the bills signed into law last week by the Governor were measures that enhanced penalties for killing an officer, firefighter or first responder during the line of duty (
House Bill 645
); a bill revising provisions for schools' bullying prevention programs (
House Bill 263
); revisions to Youth Court custody orders (
House Bill 652
); an act requiring public bodies to post special meeting notices on their web sites (
House Bill 1116
); enhanced penalties on those who would interfere with the Witness Protection Program (
House Bill 1367
); and, a measure authorizing savings accounts for first-time homeowners (
With only one week left in the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers remained in Jackson to work throughout the weekend. Deadline for bills to come out of conference and pass the House and Senate occurs next week. Any bills that are passed will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law. The session is quickly coming to a end.
On Tuesday, Terry High School basketball star Nyah Tate was honored for her achievements on and off the court. The Florence High School football team was recognized for an outstanding season and the boys soccer team also made an appearance to be recognized for winning the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship.
Madison Station Elementary School first-grade teacher Allison Ruhl was honored with House Resolution 21 on Wednesday for being the only Mississippian to receive a 2017 Milken Educator Award. That same day, seven students from St. Andrew's Episcopal School were honored with House Resolution 64 for obtaining a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college admissions test. Students from Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary School received House Concurrent Resolution 64 for being named best elementary school in Mississippi by SchoolDigger.com. Finally, House Concurrent Resolutions 57, 58 and 60 were presented to Mississippi's Male Athlete of the Year (Brian Fleming), Female Athlete of the Year (Evelyn Watkins) and Youth Athlete of the Year (Megan Heggie), respectively.
On Thursday, House Concurrent Resolution 71 was passed to designate August 26 as Women's Equality Day in Mississippi. The Raymond High School boys basketball team was presented with House Resolution 72 to commend and congratulate them on winning the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship. House Concurrent Resolution 104 was also presented to recognize the grand opening of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience.
More Mississippians were honored Friday, including Dr. James Anderson, who was recently named a Healthcare Hero for his 50-plus years of healthcare service to low-income, uninsured minority populations. Similarly, Dr. Freda McKissic Bush was honored for her life of healthcare service to Mississippians. This year's Miss Black Mississippi USA Kristy D'Anna Johnson was also recognized for her title.
Among the special guests that were honored, other visitors to the Capitol this week included Mississippi Farm Bureau, NASA's Stennis Space Center, Mission Mississippi and the Center for Education Innovation.