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MS Legislative Halftime Report 2019

2019 MS Legislative Halftime Report

The 2019 Legislative Session, apparently by design, has been relatively uneventful compared to previous years, with few highly controversial bills being passed out of committee. Now more than halfway through the session, the House and Senate have passed the deadline for approving bills that originated in their own chambers. They are now considering bills approved by the other chamber. Except where noted, the following bills are still alive.

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Huntington Ingalls Shipyard

Bond Bill for Huntington Ingalls Shipyard

Mississippi taxpayers already owe more than $5.8 billion in bond debt alone and the Mississippi House wants to add to that debt in a big way.The House passed a $173 million bond bill last Tuesday, on top of $45 million for a bond that would be a handout to Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula.

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Port of Gulfport

TopShip: A Top-Down Economic Development Deal Is Dead

The state was to provide TopShip with $36 million from bond money and specifically targeted tax breaks, a division of Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). In December, ECO couldn’t meet its investment or job creation goals and asked the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to amend its agreement. Thankfully, the MDA said no to any amendments with the memorandum of understanding that involved cutting the investment and the number of jobs created.

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Phone Privacy

Invasion of Privacy by Law Enforcement – Cell Site Simulator Devices

The Mississippi Legislature missed a great opportunity to protect the privacy of its citizens in the Information Age from the misuse of cell site simulator devices. House Bill 85 would’ve required a warrant for cell site simulator devices that can represent an invasion of privacy by law enforcement. It never made it out of committee for the third consecutive year.

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PERS AG Opinion

PERS Regulation Change on AG’s Opinion

Imagine being able to vote yourself better retirement benefits while you’re a beneficiary of a retirement plan. That’s the scenario in Mississippi if the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi follows an opinion from the office of Attorney General Jim Hood and changes its present regulation. This would allow legislators and other statewide officials who are also PERS retirees to keep collecting their benefits while in office.

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Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform Bills

Mississippi has been a national leader since 2014 in the field of criminal justice reform and passage of these two bills will give recently-released convicts a chance at a new life with the goal of reducing recidivism rates.

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