Week of April 4, 2016
As the 2016 Regular Legislative Session winds down, these last few weeks will be filled with members either concurring on bills with the Senate or choosing to send the bills to conference, where the final details will be worked out with a committee comprised of three House members and three Senate members. Conferees are determined by the chairmen of the committees. The chairman serves as one conferee and chooses the other two members, who must be approved by the Speaker.
The deadline to file conference reports on Appropriations and Revenue bills falls on Saturday April 16. Conferees must file reports, or final versions, before 8 p.m. Saturday. Monday, April 18, is the deadline for adoption of those conference reports filed.
This week, the Local and Private Committee was very active. This committee is very important to all local communities across the state. The Local and Private committee addresses issues that counties or cities need that are not allowed by general law. Every community’s needs are different, so the committee looks at each request and works with the representatives from that community to aid where possible. Issues from county jail locations to taxes on hotels and restaurants to contributions to local charities are covered in this committee.
Bills where both chambers concurred with the changes were sent to the Governor’s desk. So far in the 2016 Legislative Session, Governor Bryant has signed 35 House Bills into law. Some of these signed bills originating in the House include:
· House Bill 200: includes teachers employed at public special purpose schools to receive EEF Procurement cards
· House Bill 1381: establishes regulations related to transportation network companies.
· House Bill 1413: provides that a trafficked child is an abused child.
· House Bill 1511: creates the Mississippi Consumer Alternative Installment Act.
· House Bill 1523: creates the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.
House members chose to significantly change Senate Bill 2858, the “Taxpayer Pay Raise Act of 2016” this week. In its original form from the Senate, enactment of this measure would have provided approximately $577 million in tax breaks in personal income and through elimination of the franchise tax over a 15-year period. The House version proposes to eliminate the three percent individual income tax bracket in 2017. An amendment was adopted prohibiting this bill from being effective until a state lottery is enacted. Upon being sent back to the Senate, the Senate chose to send this bill to conference to work out the details.