Last week, the House passed a big committee deadline, and we spent much of the week on the floor debating bills that made it out of committee. We went from thousands of bills, to a few hundred that remain alive. As we convene this week, we will continue floor debate. We have until Thursday, February 8, to vote on those bills remaining on the General Calendar. Last week, we considered over a hundred bills that dealt with a variety of issues. Here are some of the bills we passed last week:
HB1177, the MS False Claims Act, would set up a whistleblower law similar to a federal law on the books since the Civil War. The bill is aimed at saving taxpayer dollars by rooting out fraud and abuse in government agencies. HB1175 and HB858 continue our effort to reduce regulations and red tape. HB1175 requires occupational licensing boards to review their existing rules and submit a summary to the new Occupational Licensing Review Commission every three years. This will require agencies to justify the regulations on their books on a regular basis. HB858 would shorten the time in which agencies can issue “temporary” regulations instead of permanent regulations that require public feedback. I worked on all three bills as author, or co-author.
HB419 would build on a pilot program for mental health courts, patterned after our successful drug court diversion program. HB419 would allow mental health courts to be established statewide. In another bill aimed at helping those who have paid their debt to society, a tax credit would be offered to taxpayers who employ persons convicted of certain non-violent crimes by HB 175.
HB709 would create the Prescription Drugs Consumer Affordable Alternative Payment Options Act. This would allow pharmacists to provide additional information to patients detailing options for more affordable medication.
The House also passed HB1510, which would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. I supported this bill because, as someone who is strongly pro-life, I believe it is important to protect both the lives of both unborn children and their mothers.
This week, the House will continue to meet as a whole to vote on bills that will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Visitors to the Capitol are welcome to come watch the proceedings from the gallery. For more information on these and other bills, please visit www.corywilson.ms, or www.legislature.ms.gov.