On January 7th, lawmakers arrived at the Capital to start the 2020 legislative session. Throughout the semester, we’ll be keeping you up to date on what your elected officials are up to. Here are the highlights so far:
- Jan. 9 – MS House passed a bill covering the $18.4 million needed to fully fund the $1,500 teacher pay raise passed in 2019. Due to a counting error in a state database, nearly 10,000 educators were left out last year.
- Jan. 9 – A special House committee was appointed to hear the election challenge filed by former Representative Ashley Henley. Henley, a Republican, lost the District 40 House seat in DeSoto County to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray by only 14 votes. Alleging voter fraud and uncounted ballots, Henley is asking the House to overturn the results of the election. Four Republicans and one Democrat make up the committee.
- Jan. 10 – Lt. Gov Delbert Hosemann served his first day as President of the Senate. When making committee appointments, Hosemann surprised many with the bipartisan move of appointing Democrats to key leadership positions. For example, Juan Barnett (D – District 34) was appointed chairman of the Corrections Committee, Hob Bryan (D – District 7) was appointed chairman of the Public Health Committee and David Blount (D – District 29) was appointed chairman of the Gaming Committee. Of the 16 Democratic Senators, only two received no appointments. The rest were appointed to multiple committees, including at least one leadership position. “We are now at the governing stage. We’re no longer at the party stage,” Hosemann said.
- Jan. 14 – Tate Reeves was sworn in as the 65th Governor of Mississippi. For the first time, Republicans hold all eight statewide offices and have supermajorities in both legislative chambers.
- Jan. 17 – A federal appeals court refused to reconsider its ruling that Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is unconstitutional.