January 31, 2018 10:02:19 AM
JACKSON -- Tuesday marked the first deadline during the three-month session of the Mississippi Legislature. It was the final day for House and Senate committees to act on general bills originating in their own chamber. Most bills that survived the deadline are going from a committee to the full House or Senate for more debate. Tax and spending bills are alive under a later deadline to pass out of committee.
Here's a look at the status of selected bills, with HB to designate a House Bill and SB to designate a Senate Bill:
TRANSPORTATION -- The House has passed a number of bills meant to divert current or future revenue to transportation spending, including HB 722, which would divert money from a tax on internet sales to cities and counties and HB 354 , which would take half the growth in the state general fund in any year it exceeded 2 percent and use it for road and bridge maintenance.
SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA -- House members have moved to rewrite the state's current public school funding formula. HB 957 would increase funding by $107 million from this year after a seven-year phase in. But the proposal at that point would spend $157 million less than the current formula legally mandates next year.
MEDICAID RULES -- Both the House and the Senate are considering proposals to renew parts of the state's Medicaid health insurance program, as they're legally mandated to do this year. SB 2836 mandates studies of whether more spending should be controlled by managed care groups and whether payments to health care providers should be cut.
OIL SPILL MONEY -- SB 2176 seeks to create a separate account in the state treasury for the state's $750 million economic damage settlement from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. HB 1512 and HB 1185 would try to put someone else besides lawmakers in charge of spending the money.
GANG PENALTIES -- Gang members would get longer prison terms under HB 541, while SB 2868 would add penalties for gang members who are recruiting children to the criminal organizations.
FAKE URINE -- HB 1080, the "Mississippi Urine Trouble Act," would set penalties for selling fake human urine that's designed to defeat drug tests.
FERTILITY TREATMENTS -- HB 1198 would require private insurers to pay for up to $20,000 to treat married people who are having trouble conceiving children.
WIND POOL -- HB 948 requires the insurance commissioner's approval before the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, known as the "wind pool," can buy more backup coverage, known as reinsurance, above a certain level. Commissioner Mike Chaney said he's been imploring the 11-member board that runs the pool to buy less reinsurance for years. The pool spent $38.4 million last year to buy enough coverage to cover $910 million in losses.
LOTTERY -- SB 2849 is one of several bills that would have created a state lottery.
VACCINATIONS -- House members declined to consider HB 1505 , which would have loosened Mississippi's rules on childhood vaccinations. Instead, House leaders are promising to study the issue and consider legislation next year.
EQUAL PAY -- HB 717 would have required equal pay for equal work by women and men.
SMOKING AGE -- HB 835 would have increased the age to buy cigarettes and other products from the current 18 to 21.
CERTIFICATE OF NEED -- HB 1174 would have eliminated large portions of the certificate of need process in which the state Health Department must approve new medical services or equipment.
NURSE PRACTITIONERS -- HB 114 would have deleted the requirement that advance practice registered nurses have a collaborative relationship with a physician.
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