The Clarion-Ledger summarized the 2015 session as follows:
For all the talk of broad tax cuts, or “a taxpayer raise,” the only break rank-and-file Mississippians will see from the 2015 legislative session is $5, from the elimination of vehicle inspection stickers.
The state’s GOP leadership, holding both a House and Senate majority, passed competing tax cut plans, and each chamber initially killed the other’s. They reached a compromise only late in the session, but then Democrats prevented the super-majority vote needed for passage.
This election-year session, which wrapped up Thursday, at times appeared more about politics or minutiae than major policy. Lawmakers argued over joining a drive to compel Congress to balance its budget (they did), banning trade with Iran (they didn’t, after realizing Toyota might have Iranian investments), exempting children from vaccinations for their parents’ philosophical beliefs (they’re not), feeding deer meat to prison inmates (they’re not) and whether to allow homeschooled children to play public school sports (they didn’t).
At one point in the session, lawmakers couldn’t get a bipartisan two-thirds vote to delay business for a day for an ice storm.
“As always, you get some things you want and some things you don’t,” Gov. Phil Bryant said of a legislative session where he saw several of his initiatives shot down.
In his own statement, Gov. Bryant praised the legislature for passing the following legislation to him:
- Education vouchers for special needs students (SB 2695)
- Strengthening 2nd Amendment protections (SB 2394, SB 2619)
- Improving state contracting procedures (HB 825, SB 2400)
- Investing in Huntington Ingalls in Pascagoula and Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson
- Increasing state trooper pay (SB 2500)
- Medical licenses for retired military practicing on voluntary basis (HB 215)
- Increasing public hospital transparency (SB 2407)
- Waiving out-of-state tuition for military veterans (SB 2127)
- Standing with Israel by restricting state financial involvement with entities conducting energy-related business with Iran (HB 1127)
See the Governor’s full statement below.
Gov. Bryant is carefully considering whether to sign Senate Bill 2161, an “anti-Common Core” bill. He is concerned that it doesn’t have any teeth but just makes recommendations that could be rejected by the Department of Education in favor of existing Common Core standards. Tea Party conservatives like Senators Chris McDaniel and Melanie Sojourner are pushing for a veto and a special legislative session to create a true alternative solution to Common Core.
The Governor has been more positive about a pair of pro-2nd Amendment bills, Senate Bills 2394 and 2619, which reduce concealed carry permit fees and allow weapons to be carried in fully enclosed cases (such as purses and briefcases) without a permit. Gov. Bryant has indicated that he will sign both bills.
[UPDATE: Post title originally indicated that the Senate passed the bill; the Senate has not yet passed the bill as of the time of publishing.]
Senate Bill 2394 was passed by the House on March 27th to allow concealed carry of a gun in “a purse, bag, handbag, satchel or other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case” without a concealed carry permit. The Senate is expected to approve the bill and Gov. Bryant has already said he would sign it into law.
Rep. Andy Gipson, who helped kill a bill earlier in the session misleadingly advertised as “constitutional carry” (SB 2618), reiterated his commitment to meaningful 2nd Amendment legislation and added the language to SB 2394. Originally intended to reduce the fees for concealed carry permits, SB 2394 would also exempt active-duty military and service-disabled veterans from concealed carry permit fees. A concealed carry permit would still be required for reciprocity with other states.
Senate Bill 2619 also passed the House and would exempt active military, veterans, and retired law enforcement from the training requirements to obtain enhanced carry permits. It also seeks to nullify any federal ammunition bans like the recent bans considered by the BATFE.
Both SB 2394 and 2619 must be approved by the Senate before going to the Governor.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves published his priorities for the 2015 Legislative session. As the second-highest ranking official in Mississippi and the President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor wields significant power in appointing members to Senate committees and setting the legislative agenda.
His initiatives are summarized as follows:
- Eliminating the vehicle inspection sticker.
- Placing public hospital boards under the Open Meetings Act.
- Reforming state contracting laws.
- Expanding physician residency access.
- Improving care for the mentally ill.
- Ensuring high academic standards for Mississippi students.
- Spending more on education based on effective district management.
- Providing school choice for special needs children.
- Reducing concealed carry permit fees.
- Recognizing military training for firearm permits.
Further explanation can be found on the Lieutenant Governor’s website. Like all state-wide offices, Mr. Reeves is up for re-election in 2015.
For more information: