Week of January 4, 2021
By Representative Fred Shanks
On January 5, 2021, the 133rd Mississippi State Legislature began the second session in its four-year term.
Though it is early in the session, there were several items taken up and passed on the House floor. House Bill 1, the first item introduced, provides that the flag design chosen by the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag and approved overwhelmingly by the citizens of Mississippi will be the new state flag. The bill passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 119-1 and was sent to the Senate for consideration, where it also passed.
Following House Bill 1, the Appropriations Chairman also introduced House Bill 68. The bill would appropriate an extra $10,000 to the Department of Finance and Administration for purchasing and flying the new flag over state buildings and other offices. HB 68 passed by a vote of 117-3, and it has been sent to the Senate.
Another measure introduced was House Bill 69. The bill would revise the term “nonstate service” under the State Personnel System to include employees of the State Veterans Affairs Board who are employed at Veterans Homes across the state. HB 69 passed by a vote of 122-0 and was sent to the Senate.
Finally, House Concurrent Resolution 2 was introduced on Friday morning. The resolution honors the life and career of former Representative Gary Staples (R-Laurel) who passed away at the end of last week. The late Representative Staples served in the House from 1988 to 1992 and from 2004 to 2020. HC 2 passed with unanimous consent in the chamber, and all House members were included as authors of the resolution.
Next Wednesday, January 13, is the deadline to request legislation, and Monday, January 18, is the deadline for filing bills. More than 190 House bills have already been filed and referred to committees.
Three new members joined the Mississippi House of Representatives since the House last convened as a result of special elections. De’Keither Stamps (D-Jackson), Lynn Wright (R-Columbus) and Joseph Tubb (R-Hattiesburg) joined the roster of representatives for the 2021 Legislative Session.
Due to COVID-19, visitors to the Capitol are limited this year. All guided tours have been suspended, and the Capitol Gift Shop is closed. However, Mississippians are allowed to visit the Capitol as long as they adhere to the proper guidelines.