Tyler McCaughn, Legislative update: Teachers, veterans see gains in this week’s bills

By SEN. TYLER MCCAUGHN,

Your Mississippi Senate has been in full swing this week with the deadline for committee action passing on Tuesday and floor debate beginning on Wednesday morning. Overall, the Senate moved over 100 bills off the Senate Calendar by the end of the week on Friday.  To keep everyone up to date on legislation moving from the floor, I’ll elaborate on several of note below.

SB2511 is an attempt to battle the teacher shortage by allowing those with a

21 ACT score, a 3.0 grade point average in certain coursework, or a passing Praxis score to enter a school of education.  Another bill to assist with the shortage is SB2864.  This bill would revise the Mississippi Employer-Assisted Housing Teacher Program that allows a teacher to borrow up to $6,000 toward closing costs associated with purchasing a house in a critical needs district.

SB2257 allows the state auditor to check the eligibility of persons receiving the U.S.

Department of Agriculture benefits throughout the state. This bill passed on a split vote and would allow the auditor to verify incomes of those recipients.  Additionally, the bill would allow the Department of Revenue to forward to the state’s Child Support Unit and the Fraud Investigation Unit of DHS, any information on a person delinquent with child support payments.

SB2723 would allow the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to extend hunting seasons that expire on a Friday to remain open until 6 p.m. on the following Sunday giving sportsmen a chance to enjoy the last weekend. This would apply to all seasons except for migratory bird seasons.

SB2856 will allow the City of Jackson to establish a system for accepting installment payments on past due water bills. 

SB2470 would authorize the denial of business permits to any new business having partners or members that owe the state unpaid taxes.

SB2287 provides uniformity across the state by allowing golf carts and low speed vehicles to operate on certain municipal streets with a permit.

SB2403 provides for the creation of the Mississippi Veterans Honor Medal Program as a program to honor our veterans for their service.  We can never thank our veterans enough for their service.

SB2338 was passed by a divisive vote.  This bill is aimed at regulating out of state roofing contractors coming in after natural disasters.  The Senate has made it clear that this bill needs additional work to protect our local roofers from any unintended consequences of this bill. 

SB2523 passed and would increase the death benefits payable to law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.  These men and women put their lives on the line daily and their sacrifices can never be repaid.

SB2328 increases the amount of money available for agribusiness loans and under the Emerging Crops Fund.  This fund is primarily used for the expansion of the poultry industry and is crucial for our district.

SB2362 is an attempt to divert more tax money to municipalities for infrastructure repairs and upgrades.

In visits this week, I was glad to welcome Dr. Andrea Morgan (Doctor of the Day), Deuce McAllister, members of the Mississippi Arts Commission including Ada McGrevey, members of the Mississippi Association of Realtors, students from Meridian Community College, and groups from across the state.  Lastly, we were welcomed into the Governor’s Mansion to build the relationship between Governor Reeves and the Senate.  As always, thank you for letting me serve you.