New state laws set to go into effect this July

Posted on Jun 29 2017 - 8:29am by Carly Owen

The Mississippi state Legislature closed session on March 29, 2017. They passed many laws in this regular session that will go into effect on July 1 of this year. These are the laws that you should be aware of going into effect next month.

Traffic Laws

 It is illegal for anyone to sit in the front seat of a car without wearing a seatbelt; Senate Bill 2724 expands on that law. It says that a driver may now receive a ticket for any passenger who neglects to wear a safety belt, regardless of where they are sitting in the car. This also means that if a car seats four and you drive nine people to a party, you are now subject to receiving two tickets instead of one: the ticket for overcrowding your car and the ticket for the people who are not wearing seatbelts.

Drug and Alcohol Laws

House Bill 1322 will now allow any “small craft brewery” in the state to sell light wine and beer on site. This does not give permission for these companies to act as an in-house beer shop. They are allowed to sell up to 10 percent of their yearly product or 1,500 barrels, whichever is the lesser amount. The Yalobusha Brewing Company in Water Valley, less than a half-hour drive from campus, falls under the jurisdiction of this law. 

Under Senate Bill 2194, several synthetic opioids have been added to the list of Schedule I narcotics under the Controlled Substances Act, including butyryl fentanyl and beta-hydroxythiofentanyl. They are mainly used in combination with other narcotics such as amphetamines, and the mixtures can have deadly results. Also added to the Schedule I list is AH-7921, which is similar to morphine. The Bill states these drugs have potential for “abuse, overdose, and death.”

House Bill 812 requires the Bureau of Narcotics to document each time law enforcement seizes property of a Mississippi resident on a public, searchable website.

Miscellaneous Laws

Mississippi lawmakers approved House Bill 645, known as the “Back the Badge Act,” or the “Red, Blue, and Med Lives Matter Act.” This law will enhance the penalty for any crime committed against a police officer or first responder.

House Bill 1116 says that any special public meeting held must be announced on a public body’s open website at least one hour before the meeting takes place.

House Bill 686 was amended to state that residents may request a revision of their tax returns for three years following each tax season, while Senate Bill 2445 provides a data match program with the Department of Revenue (DOR) that lets all financial institutions have immediate access to residents who are behind on taxes. The current law has the DOR send the financial institution levies when a person defaults on their taxes. This new law is intended to make the process quicker and more efficient.