The Legislative Report Header
January 8, 2021
The Legislative Report
Mississippi Legislative Session Begins
Despite talk of possibly postponing the legislative session until March due to COVID-19, the Mississippi Legislature opened the 2021 session at noon, Tuesday, January 5th. The first bill considered for the session was HB 1 which ratifies the new state flag that was approved by voters in the November 2020 statewide election. Members of the House passed the bill with a vote of 119-1, and members of the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 38-7. HB 1 has been sent to Governor Reeves for his consideration.

The Senate Education Committee hosted a hearing Wednesday for the Mississippi State Superintendent of Education, Carey Wright. Dr. Wright updated the legislators on the state of Mississippi’s K-12 schools amid COVID-19 concerns, focusing mainly on topics such as accountability ratings, the status of the devices that were purchased with CARES Act funds, and MDE’s legislative priorities. Dr. Wright announced that she is recommending waiving the passing requirement for the statewide 3rd grade reading gate and high school end-of-course assessments for the 2020-21 school year. Dr. Wright expressed the need for a grace period which would also allow for school districts to retain their letter grade from 2018-2019 for the 2020-2021 school year.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
As of January 1, 2021, leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is no longer mandatory. However, school districts may voluntarily choose to extend the leave entitlements under the FFCRA to employees through March 31, 2021. This extension does not provide any additional FFCRA leave time to employees who have already exhausted their allotment under this law. If a school district wishes to extend the FFCRA, the district should notate the extension in the board minutes and update the FFCRA addendum under policy GBRIA. MSBA has attached an updated version of the FFCRA addendum under the exhibits tab of policy GBRIA.

Separate from the FFCRA, the Mississippi Legislature passed HB 1647 during the 2020 session which allows local school boards of any public school district to grant administrative leave with full pay to employees for an emergency related to a State of Emergency Declaration by the Governor. This provision applies during the emergency declaration period. The Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration related to the coronavirus is still in effect. This method of leave has already been cleared by MDE.
Recent Bills
Outside of HB 1, additional bills have begun to be introduced in both the House and the Senate. The first being SB 2001 which increases the starting pay for certified teachers to $37,000, increases the minimum salary for assistant teachers to $15,000, and provides a $1,000 pay increase for all other teachers. Other important bills include HB 20 which would authorize absences from board meetings in the event of a family emergency and SB 2039 which would prescribe the local school board salary scale based on school district student enrollment.

To view the bills that have been assigned to the House Education Committee, click here.

To view the bills that have been assigned to the Senate Education Committee, click here.
  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 — Requests for general bills and constitutional amendments to be drafted

  • Monday, January 18, 2021 — Introduction of general bill and constitutional amendments

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2021 — Committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in own house

  • Thursday, February 11, 2021 — Original floor action on general bills and constitutional amendments originating in own house
Day at the Capitol
MSBA’s Day at the Capitol, originally scheduled for March 2, 2021, has been postponed until further notice.
We're Here For You!
austin gilbert
Austin Gilbert
MSBA Policy Manager