General bills now filed at Mississippi State Capitol

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 7:52 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Two weeks into the legislative session, and all general bills have been introduced. We’re checking in on some that are already generating some chatter.

One bill would put more sets of eyes on Mississippi classrooms. Rep. Stacey Hobgood-Wilkes is proposing requiring surveillance cameras, both for safety reasons and to hold teachers accountable.

“I’ve heard from a lot of parents and things that are going on in the schools. Sometimes it’s violence and things like that,” noted Rep. Stacey Hobgood-Wilkes. “Sometimes it’s what’s being taught in our classrooms, behavior issues, just all kinds of things I’ve heard from parents.”

She says the proposal is to have live streams from those classrooms that are accessible only by parents who have children enrolled at that school. The footage would be saved for 90 days in the event that something needed to be reviewed.

Two other bills attempt to tackle the topic of where Mississippians can buy a bottle of vino. Rep. Brent Powell filed bills to allow wine in grocery stores and direct wine shipments.

“It’s just bringing us in the 21st century, more or less, and as far as alcohol sales go,” explained Powell. “We need to get Mississippi out of the prohibition era. We’re still a prohibition state. So this is just a way to kind of egg that along [and] also to give the consumers more choices.”

Versions of both of those bills have been filed before but garnered significant pushback from the state’s package stores.

There’s another topic that has been filed but failed to gain traction in sessions past. Five general bills plus a resolution seeking a constitutional amendment are pending that seek to expand early voting. Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray thinks the state should have no less than 10 days of early voting.

“Our people in Mississippi, we have a lot of working people that don’t have time that their employer won’t let them off to go vote,” said Jackson-McCray. “And they want to vote. So give some extra time during the week, during the weekend, so they can cast they vote.”

Finally, a mental health hearing from November has prompted Rep. Sam Creekmore to file the “Mississippi Collaborative Response to Mental Health Act.”

“We have a lot of the assets and maybe almost all the assets in the state of Mississippi, but they’re not all working together. There’s some requirements in this bill that require the chance for us to report to the Department of Mental Health and a little more communication avenues.”

The bill covers several areas:

  • Expand the pilot for court liaisons
  • Require mental health training for law enforcement
  • Address staffing at state-run facilities and incentivize private hospitals to take on mental health patients

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