Flag bills die, limits on attorney general survive deadline

Mississippi flagJACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Tuesday marked the first big deadline during the three-month session of the Mississippi Legislature. It was the final day for House and Senate committees to act on general bills filed in their own chamber. Some bills that survived the deadline have already gone to the full House or Senate for debate; others move to one of the two chambers. Here’s a look at the status of selected bills, with HB to designate a House Bill and SB to designate a Senate Bill:


ATTORNEY GENERAL – The Mississippi attorney general would have to seek permission from the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state before filing any lawsuit that might carry an award of at least $250,000. Currently, that would limit the power of the lone Democrat in statewide office. HB555, http://bit.ly/2iCqJol .

BLUE LIVES – Any crime committed against emergency personnel because of their status as police officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians would be a hate crime. State law currently doubles penalties for targeting people because of race, ethnicity, religion or gender. SB2469, http://bit.ly/2kpy7QB .

CAMPAIGN CASH – Politicians would face new limits on using campaign donations for political expenses such as clothing. They also would be required to disclose details of how they spend campaign donations using credit cards. HB479, http://bit.ly/2kLM24i .

DAILY FANTASY SPORTS – Fantasy sports betting operators would face an 8 percent tax on their Mississippi revenue, and the Gaming Commission would regulate sports betting operations online or in casinos. HB967, http://bit.ly/2kM3J41 , and SB2896, http://bit.ly/2kLWLMd .

DEATH PENALTY – Mississippi would add to the list of drugs it uses to carry out lethal injections. The state also would be authorized to have other methods of execution as backups, including the gas chamber, the firing squad and the electric chair. HB638, http://bit.ly/2kNnAj0 .

EARLY VOTING – The state would have no-excuses, in-person early voting, starting 14 days before an election. Current law only lets people vote early if they will be out of town Election Day. HB228, http://bit.ly/2iY9q1o .

HEALTH AGENCIES – The governor would gain oversight of the Mississippi State Department of Health, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Rehabilitation Services. SB2567, http://bit.ly/2kM4I3T .

GOVERNMENT VEHICLES – Most state agencies would be banned from buying vehicles for one year. HB938, http://bit.ly/2jsmsEF .

STATE EMPLOYEES – About 75 state boards and agencies would be exempt from Personnel Board rules for three years, taking away workers’ civil-service protections. HB974, http://bit.ly/2jssy87 .


MISSISSIPPI FLAG – Several bills would have either removed the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag or punished schools, universities and local governments that don’t fly the current flag. Among them were HB280, http://bit.ly/2kufRFP , which would have removed state accreditation from K-12 schools that don’t fly the flag; HB1275, http://bit.ly/2kNtMYp , which would have added a magnolia design as a second state flag along with the current one; and SB2081, http://bit.ly/2kNAjSR , which would have replaced the current flag with a magnolia design.

EQUAL PAY – Employers would have been required to provide equal pay for equal work by women and men. HB818, http://bit.ly/2kNJIde , and SB2697, http://bit.ly/2jshHuJ , were intended to chip away at the gender pay gap, with women currently earning less on average.

GOVERNOR’S POWER – The governor would have gained power over a wide range of boards and commissions. SB2489: http://bit.ly/2kLZDIU .

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