Gov. Bryant signs Compact for a Balanced Budget, texting ban

Gov. Bryant signed several bills into law recently including the Compact for a Balanced Budget and a bill prohibiting texting while driving.

Senate Bill 2389, the Compact for a Balanced Budget, enters Mississippi into the interstate compact that calls for a Constitutional Convention to ratify a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Governor outlawed texting while driving by signing House Bill 389 which specifically states, “An operator of a moving motor vehicle is prohibited from writing, sending, or reading a text message and from accessing, reading or posting to a social networking site using a hand-held mobile telephone [or other portable electronic communication device] while driving said motor vehicle.” Mississippi already had a law prohibiting those 16 and under from texting while driving but this law expands the ban to all drivers. Phone calls are not impacted.

Other recently signed bills:

  • House Bill 215 allows temporary medical licenses to be issued to out-of-state doctors in state for military, National Guard, or Reserve duty.
  • House Bill 257 requires/allows HIV testing of adults accused of sexual assault on a child prior to any conviction.
  • Senate Bill 2127 provides in-state tuition rates for non-residents eligible for veterans education assistance.

The new laws become effective July 1st.

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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.

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Mississippi House passes Compact for a Balanced Budget

The House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 2389 to enter Mississippi into the Compact for a Balanced Budget. Gov. Bryant is expected to sign the bill making Mississippi the 3rd state to enter the interstate compact to pass a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance the budget and limit federal borrowing.

Alaska and Georgia are the first two states to enter the compact; 38 states are required to pass the interstate compact and ultimately ratify a proposed amendment. With U.S. House and Senate resolutions, the amendment process is initiated and the states’ governors participate as delegates to a 24-hour Article V convention to propose and ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment.

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Senate passes balanced budget amendment for U.S. Constitution

The Mississippi Senate passed Bill 2389 which, if also approved by the House and signed by the Governor, will enjoin Mississippi in the Compact for a Balanced Budget, an interstate effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a federal balanced budget, reduce federal borrowing, and seek state approval before increasing the debt limit. Alaska and Georgia entered the compact in April 2014 and at least 38 states are required.

With three-fourths of state agreeing to the compact, the U.S. House and Senate can pass resolutions without presidential signature to initiate the amendment process. Having the wording agreed upon up front, a 24-hour Article V convention would convene in which each governor, acting as their state’s delegate, would vote “yes” to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment.

The U.S. Constitution, Article V provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. However, three-fourths (or 38) states are required to ratify an amendment.

Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall introduced the bill.

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