This week –the 11th of the 15-week session – Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law SB 2988 which should begin to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the state of Mississippi.
Barbour had signed a dozen bills into law at mid-week. We completed committee work this week on bills that had originated in the Senate, and they did likewise with House bills. In the week ahead (March 24-28) we will complete floor work on those bills. Less than two weeks later, we will hopefully be putting the final touches to our FY 2009 budget and completing work on all bills. Sine die is Apr. 19.
Bills that originated in the Senate that the full House passed this week included:
• SB 2793 designed to establish an alternative method of cost recovery for utility companies – basically a pay-as-you-go plan to add new power generation units.
• SB 2913 would enhance the “troops to teachers” program, using federal funds to recruit veterans who want to start a second career in the classroom. SB 2518, would establish the “Teach for America” program in the Mississippi Delta region.
•SB 2149 sets up a plan for eliminating elected or appointed superintendents in poorly-performing districts for two straight years. A task force to study and report on the status of underperforming schools and school districts in Mississippi, effectiveness measures for improvement of those schools and school districts, and enhancement of accountability and sanctions imposed on those schools and school districts will also be created. The bill was amended in the House to provide that an elected superintendent forced from office must sit out at least one full term before becoming eligible to seek the office of superintendent again.
• SB 2652 encourages school districts to ensure that children whose family receives TANF benefits to remain in school. Districts that don’t enforce the regulations could lose some state funds.
• SB 2642 authorizes the state to contract with more counties to build regional prisons.
• SB 2619 creates a task force to study the preservation of DNA evidence for court cases.
• SB 2209 creates a second county court judgeship in DeSoto County using no state funds.
• SB 2246 encourages the creation of more drug courts.
•SB 2605 would require any person or company providing mortgages to utilize the multistate licensing system for application, renewal and surrender of licenses and any other activity the state may require.
•SB 2264 authorizing monitoring (such as wiretaps) of cell phones outside the state for investigations of criminal activity when probable cause exists.
•2712 adds five years to a sentence under an act entitled “Miss Breland’s Law” concerning home burglaries and assaults. The extra penalty is for such offenses as identity theft and forgery.
• SB 2497 would increase the maximum weekly compensation for jobless benefits to $244 on July 1 and each year thereafter would be adjusted based on the Social Security automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) as determined by the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Call us at the Capitol at 601-359-3770 and follow us on the Internet webcast at www.ls.state.ms.us <http://www.ls.state.ms.us> . And click on “House.”