Legislative Update Week January 30 – February 3

Legislative Update Week January 30 – February 3

House and Senate Activities

Both the House and the Senate convened briefly at 9:00am. The only business handled by the Senate was committee announcements. A schedule of both House and Senate committee meetings on Monday, February 6, is attached.

Rep. Cecil Brown’s (D- Jackson) motion to reconsider HB16 was tabled.

Both the Senate and the House will convene at 4:00pm, Monday, February 6.

Senators and Representatives introduced several bills before leaving for the weekend.

Bills are summarized below.

HOUSE BILLS

Apportionment and Elections

Rep. Bob Evans (D- Monticello) introduced HB57, which would prohibit an elected official from changing political party affiliation during their term. An elected official’s change in party affiliation would trigger automatic resignation from the State Legislature.

Appropriations
HB28 (See Below), HB34 (See Below), HB54 (See Below), HB55 (See Below), HB56 (See Below)

Education

Rep. Bill Denny (R- Jackson) introduced HB34.
If passed, all municipal school districts would be abolished and merged into a countywide school district. The Countywide district would be structured as follows: One Board of Education and One Appointed County Superintendent.

The bill makes several guarantees including: consolidations will not require school closings, and the newly elected countywide Board of Education will not be able to change school attendance zones.

This bill has also been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Bryant Clark (D- Pickens) authored HB54. HB54 would increase the amount MAEP allocates to “at-risk” students. This means that funding would increase at schools with more students deemed “at-risk.” This bill has also been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Bryant Clark (D- Pickens) also introduced HB55. HB55 is an important accompaniment to HB54. ( MSCCD will be talking with Rep Clark to discuss the reference to ‘Autism’ as only disability. See below. )

While MAEP supplemental funds are to be allocated to “at-risk” students, the term “at-risk” students is never defined. This bill would define “at-risk” students as: “a compulsory-school-age child having an increased probability of school failure and those children who drop out as a result of certain risk factors including, but not limited to: (i) Being from a family in poverty; (ii) Being from a single-parent family or being a parent themselves; (iii) Having been retained previously in school; (iv) Having an education attainment level below other students of the same age or grade level; (v) Failing to meet the requirements necessary for promotion to the next grade level or graduation; or (vi) Having been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.” This bill has also been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

MEDICAID

Rep. Bob Evans (D- Monticello) introduced HB28. HB28 seeks to adjust two aspects of Medicaid.

Firstly, the bill would allow individuals who do not have transportation, are elderly, or are disabled to complete the redetermination of eligibility process through the mail. Secondly, the Division of Medicaid would be required to designate representatives to help people apply for Medicaid and CHIP at more locations. This bill has also been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. James Evans (D- Jackson) authored HB56.

HB56 is exactly the same as Rep. Bob Evan’s HB28, except that all Medicaid clients would be allowed to complete the Medicaid redetermination of eligibility process through the mail.

This bill has also been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

INSURANCE

Rep. Bryant Clark (D- Pickens) authored HB32, which would require insurance policies to provide coverage for obesity treatment when a physician provides a written order.
This bill has also been referred to the House Public Health and Human Services Committee.

PUBLIC HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES

HB32 (See Above)

SENATE BILLS

Education

Sen. Gray Tollison (R- Oxford) authored SB2313. This bill would require that, by the year 2016, all local superintendents shall be appointed by local school boards.

Elections

Sen. Terry Burton (R- Newton) introduced SB2310, which would require that the Office of Elections Commissioner be a nonpartisan office.

Committee Meetings Schedule for Monday, February 6, 2012

Senate

Committee Time Room Notes
Housing 2:30pm 409 Briefing from MS Field Office Director of HUD

House

Committee Time Room Notes
Corrections 2:30pm 113 MS Department of Corrections Briefing

An up-to-date list of all disability related bills MSCCD is monitoring will be available on the site by Monday February 6th.

If you have questions or comments on any MS related legislation, please contact us at MSCCD office 1-800-721-7255 or 601+969-0601