The Mississippi House of Representatives adjourned for the regular 2020 session on Wednesday, July 1. We will likely be forced to return later in the year to take up more COVID-related matters, especially if the federal government sends more funding to the states to battle the pandemic and lessen its effects on businesses.
During the last week before adjournment, the House passed several bills which were among the most noteworthy of the entire session.
First, Mississippi followed suit with many other states in limiting liability for business owners and healthcare facilities in the event that someone becomes infected with COVID-19 while visiting the business or facility. The law carves out an exception to this liability in the event that the business acted intentionally or wantonly.
The state is partnering with the private sector to infuse a total of $150 million into rural areas for broadband expansion. Part will go to electric co-ops to help roll out their broadband programs; unfortunately, most co-ops in South Mississippi have declined so far to pursue broadband.
By a vote of 84-35, the Mississippi House of Representatives voted to change the state flag. This issue caught the attention of national and even worldwide media. For the last five years, I have told my constituents that I would support efforts to allow them to vote at the ballot box on the flag issue. For that reason, I co-authored the amendment that would have put the issue on the ballot. When that amendment failed, I voted against the bill. It passed, however, with a bipartisan vote, and a new flag must bear the words “In God We Trust,” the state’s motto. A proposed design will appear on voters’ ballots in the November 2020 election.
As always, I appreciate the opportunity to serve. Please contact me if I can be of assistance.