February 2, 2011 2:11:00 PM
Here''s a glance at the status of selected bills in the Mississippi Legislature. Tuesday was the deadline for House and Senate committees to act on general bills filed in their own chamber. There is a later deadline for budget and revenue bills.
IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT - Senate Bill 2179 would allow a law enforcement officer to check a person''s immigration status if the officer thinks the person might be in the United States illegally.
PAYDAY LENDING - House Bill 455 would give consumers longer to pay off loans from check cashing businesses and would reduce finance charges.
CHARTER SCHOOLS - Senate Bill 2774 is designed to strengthen the state''s current charter school law by allowing organizations to run open-enrollment charter schools anywhere in the state after receiving approval from the state Board of Education, the state College Board or local school districts. The current law allows charter schools to open in low-performing districts.
ANIMAL CRUELTY - Senate Bill 2127 says a person could be charged with aggravated cruelty for torturing, mutilating, maiming, burning, starving, disfiguring or killing any domesticated dog or cat. Senate Bill 2127 would allow a felony charge on a third offense of animal cruelty within five years.
FAKE BATH SALTS - Senate Bill 2226 would outlaw fake bath salts and other products containing toxic chemicals that some people are using to get a psychotic high.
OPEN MEETINGS - House Bill 314 says public officials could have to pay fines out of their own pockets if they improperly close meetings that should be open. Under current state law, taxpayers pay the fine - not the officials themselves. The bill also says anyone who denies someone access to public records may face a fine of up to $100 per violation.
WATER ASSOCIATIONS - House Bill 702 would make the state Open Meetings law apply to rural water associations.
SEX EDUCATION - House Bill 999 would allow each school district to develop its own sex education curriculum to allow either the current state policy of abstinence only or an "abstinence plus" option. House Bill 967 would require teenage recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Medicaid to participate in programs about birth control, abstinence and parenting.
ATTORNEYS'' CONTRACTS - Senate Bill 2618 would change the procedures for the attorney general to hire private attorneys to file lawsuits on behalf of the state.
CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM - House Bill 79 would authorize development of a Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
UNDERAGE DRINKING - House Bill 504 would set penalties for people who host parties where minors consume alcohol.
MENTAL HEALTH - House Bill 1277 attempts to correct disparities among services in community mental health centers.
TEACHER CONDUCT - House Bill 641 would provide specific reasons for suspending or revoking the license of a teacher or school administrator for sexual misconduct with a student.
''BASTARD'' - House Bill 1318 would remove the words "bastard" and "bastardy" from state laws dealing with paternity proceedings for children of unmarried children.
COSMETOLOGY - Senate Bill 2766 restructures the state Board of Cosmetology to offer training programs and certification for shampooing and hair design. Currently, a salon worker has to have a cosmetology license to shampoo hair.
STATE PLANE - House Bill 1201 says anyone using a state plane for personal business would have to pay the state 10 times the cost of the plane''s operation for the trip.
OLE MISS MASCOT - House Bill 1106 would''ve required the University of Mississippi to bring back Col. Rebel as mascot and would''ve mandated that the Ole Miss band play "Dixie" and "From Dixie With Love" at football and basketball games.
SHARIA LAW - House Bill 301 would''ve banned Mississippi courts from using foreign laws, including Sharia law, which is a guide to Islamic religious practice.
NURSE PRACTITIONERS - House Bill 605 would''ve deleted a regulation that nurse practitioners enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician located within 15 miles. The Mississippi Nurses Association, which supported the proposal, said there are 2,000 nurse practitioners who could fill the void in rural areas that have no physicians.
GOLF CARTS - House Bill 531 would''ve let cities or counties authorize the use of low-speed vehicles, such as golf carts, on roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or slower.
CIVIL RIGHTS REPEAL - House Bill 273 would''ve repealed a civil rights education commission.
ARTS SCHOOL - House Bill 42 would''ve moved the Mississippi School of the Arts from Brookhaven to Columbus.
ELECTIONS - House Bill 1 would''ve changed state elections from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
LOBBYING - House Bill 44 would''ve banned former lawmakers from becoming lobbyists until they''d been out of office at least four years.