Legislative leaders reflect on 2023 session

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 8:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -The 2023 legislative session is a done deal, and we were there as leaders reflected on what did and didn’t change that will impact you.

More money for hospitals, roads and bridges, and incentives for adoptions in this post-Roe world — those were all among the bragging points for the Speaker and Lt. Governor as they look back at the session. It included plenty of spirited debates.

However, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann’s biggest regret was this:

“I was for a ballot initiative, and I didn’t get it,” said Hosemann. “We reduced significantly the number of individuals that have to sign. It was in the last four things that we asked the House. That was one of the four, and in the last 24 or 48 hours, it didn’t make it.”

This was Speaker Philip Gunn’s response:

“It was 8% of all registered voters,” said Gunn of the signature threshold the Senate offered in the last proposal. “157,000 people. We were at 106. So yeah, but I just didn’t even think that was with all the other stuff we had going on. That was not something that was a serious offer. It was not something seriously to be entertained.”

The same question about any regrets was asked of the Speaker.

“The only thing that comes to mind would be the continued elimination of the income tax,” described Gunn. “We made a huge step in that direction last year. But it did not the plan that we passed was not a plan toward full elimination. I think that still needs to be done.”

Despite disagreements on how to get there, education funding was a final point of pride for both leaders as they looked back on this session.

“Over $100 million is being spent in addition to their normal funding for education in Mississippi,” noted Hosemann. “Those are the seeds of the future. That’s where we need to be spending our money. I was very proud of the fact that we did that.”

“They can use it on assistant teachers’ pay raises if they want to,” explained Gunn. “They can use it on teacher pay raises, textbooks, classroom improvements, computers...Pretty much anything except administrative salaries.”

But MAEP, the school funding formula, will likely continue to be a point of debate moving forward based on comments from the leaders. But remember, the leadership will soon change. Speaker Philip Gunn does not intend to run for re-election. So, there will be new House leadership and that could mean slightly different policy positions or priorities.

Here are some of the specific bills touted by the leaders Monday.


Senate Bill 3120

$620M in new funding to invest in roads, bridges, and other infrastructure

$450M for large-scale capacity highway projects in the MDOT 3-year plan

$40M for matching funds to draw down additional federal infrastructure

$30M for the Strategic Multi-Modal Investments Fund (ports, airports, and rail improvement projects)

$100M to the Emergency Road and Bridge Fund


House Bill 1613

$100M increase in general funding, distributed based on Average Daily Enrollment, or the number of children enrolled each day in each school district divided by the total number of school days. Can’t be used to raise administrative salaries.

House Bill 817 & 1613

Increases funding for the early learning collaboratives to $2,500 per full-day student (from $2,150) and to $1,250 per half-day student (from $1,075).

House Bill 2487

$9M program for community colleges and IHL to pay for dual enrollment and dual credit courses for 11th and 12th-grade students in public school districts and charter schools.

House Bill 588

There was a career coaching program pilot last year. This formalizes it and ups the funding. The goal is to steer high school students to high-demand and high-paying jobs.


Senate Bill 2372 & House Bill 271

$103M grant program (ARPA) for Mississippi hospitals distributing funds based on number of licensed beds and type of care, which helps funding reach rural hospitals in the most need.

Senate Bill 2373

$6M loan repayment program (ARPA) for Mississippi nurses who go to work in a Mississippi acute care hospital or skilled nursing home. Recipients will receive $6,000 each year for up to three years (maximum total of $18,000) toward any outstanding student loan debt.

Senate Bill 2371

$25M grant program (ARPA) for infrastructure, equipment, curriculum, and other expenses to establish or expand nursing and allied health programs through community colleges or workforce areas. $3M grant program to establish new physician residency programs at hospitals in the state.

Senate Bill 2323

Legislation providing antitrust immunity to hospitals in the state. This promotes and facilitates legal collaboration and consolidation of facilities and services where necessary to make them stronger and more financially viable.


Senate Bill 2212

Extends the current Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days postpartum to 12 months postpartum. The eligibility requirements for women to qualify for Medicaid after pregnancy is confirmed are the same. The bill only extends the length of time those women would receive the covered healthcare. State share to fund the extension will be around $7M.

Senate Bill 2696

Provides a one-time tax credit of $10,000 for the adoption of a child residing within Mississippi and a $5,000 tax credit for the adoption of any child residing outside of Mississippi. The current law was a $5,000 tax credit in either instance.

House Bill 1734

Provides a 50 percent tax credit to employers providing dependent care for employees either through childcare on-site or providing a child care stipend of at least $6,000 to a licensed entity providing child care to the employee’s child during work hours.

Senate Bill 2384

Women, Children & Families hearings identified a multitude of issues needing further in-depth study by people experienced in these areas. Some of the issues to be studied in the task force included in this bill are revisions to our adoption statutes, the role, and funding of the Guardian Ad Litem, parent representation in youth court proceedings, and available federal funding.

House Bill 1671

Offers additional tax credits for private businesses and individuals who donate resources to help meet the needs of mothers and children. It also increases the pregnancy resource tax credit from 3.5 to 10 million.

House Bill 1318

The bill allows a baby to be placed in a baby safety device, called a Safe Haven Baby Box, without a court order.

House Bill 1149

Includes Child Protection Services reforms and a path to permanency for foster children.

House Bill 1125

Would ban both gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy for minors.


Senate Bill 2961: $7M to MEMA; $3M to schools; $7 state match for temporary housing through FEMA.

House Bill 1626: $1.5M to Sharkey Issaquena Community Hospital.

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