House passes several Senate bills

With March 11th being the deadline for the House to take action on bills and constitutional amendments originating in the Senate, several significant issues were settled.  From the House of Representatives Weekly Summary, the following issues were approved:

Senate Bill 2389 is an Article V vehicle to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget and limit the ability of Congress to raise the debt limit without states’ approval. The bill was passed by the House but not without some contention between Democrats and Republicans.

Senate Bill 2695, the “Special Needs Bill,” was passed to set-up a pilot program to give parents of special needs students allotments (or vouchers up to $6,500) to can seek the educational opportunities appropriate and best suited for their children’s specific situation.

Senate Bill 2161 establishes a commission to study Common Core State Standards, determine suitability for Mississippi school children, and present recommendations to the State Board of Education.

Senate Bill 2407 removed the exemption of public hospitals from open meetings laws (in the wake of the Singing River Health System pension debacle). The Bill was designed to improve transparency and require hospitals to satisfy requirements of the Open Meetings Act. The House passed the bill 109-8.

Senate Bill 2457 was passed unanimously to create the Mississippi Works Fund to finance strategic workforce training needs with $50 million.

Senate Bill 2441 passed permitting the Mississippi Insurance Department to allow hospitals to create HMOs with the intent of creating managed care companies.

Senate Bill 2258 creates penalizes teachers who, with willful intent, certify statewide tests that have been incorrectly administered (i.e. cheating).

Senate Bill 2300 clarifies the funding flow from local school districts to charter schools.

Senate Bill 2839 phases out the franchise tax over a 10-year period. The House added a requirement for a 3% growth in the state economy before each phase in the reduction is implemented.

Senate Bill 2840 provides a tax credit for supermarkets in economically distressed communities and sales tax exemptions to incentivize stores being created in depressed areas.

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