Several new laws went into effect in the state on July 1, and a couple appear
particularly timely. The Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletic Compensation Act, which will allow college athletes to contract with an agent to receive compensation for endorsing products, went into law as the Mississippi State Bulldogs were on a bus back to Starkville with their College
World Series trophy. (The NCAA is rewriting the rules.)
House Bill 1135, which allows for home delivery of alcoholic beverages to areas where their consumption is legal, may help the celebration parties go on a little longer without a reveler having to get on the road. The Mississippi Native Spirts Law will allow a little more leeway for sales of liquor and wine by producers in the state so they can bypass the state warehouse and sell directly to consumers. Another House bill (277) lets tribal ID cards be used to purchase alcohol, as well as tobacco and lottery tickets.
Some more significant laws went into effect this week, too.
Starting Thursday, people with professional licenses in good standing in other states — including public school teachers — can move to the Mississippi and work, thanks to House Bill 1263. There are some exceptions, such as physicians and attorneys, but it covers dozens of other professions, such as accountants, cosmetologists, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists and veterinarians.
The bill is “a loss for governmental bureaucracy and red tape” that will help Mississippi attract residents and jobs, Gov. Tate Reeves said.
A pay raise of about $1,000 per year for Mississippi’s more than 31,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and teacher assistants will also take effect.
A pay raise of up to 3 percent for the about 26,000 state employees approved during the 2021 session will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022.
Senate Bill 2795, for criminal justice reform will expand parole eligibility and would allow as many as 3,000 of the state’s roughly 17,000 people now in prison to become eligible for parole within three to five years. That’s not good news for most of us, as we continue to see story after story of criminals who were released early committing more crimes. The timing is interesting, though, as news of Bill Cosby’s release on a technicality caused waves of discontent among Democrats who found themselves in the unusual predicament of being upset about a person of color getting out of prison early.
Those convicted of violations deemed violent crimes committed without a weapon, such as simple robbery or burglary, would be eligible for parole after serving 20 years or 50 percent of their sentence, whichever is less. Some convicted of possession of drugs or of selling drugs and those convicted of some other nonviolent crimes would be eligible after serving 10 years or 25 percent, whichever is less.
The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act (House Bill 196) provides women in prison with minor children more opportunity to see the children and provides additional rights for pregnant women, such as allowing a newborn to remain with the mother for 72 hours unless there are medical concerns, and it prohibits invasive searches of pregnant women. The new law also would provide additional rights for all women, such as access to menstrual hygiene products.
Another new law makes it a misdemeanor to tamper with urine samples used for testing. A third conviction could result in a felony.
A bill created a task force to study domestic laws, including those surrounding divorce, and another law passed mandating that people identified as boys at birth cannot participates in girls’ sports.
It’s a sign of the times that such a bill even has to be on the books. What would the Founders think as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our country this weekend?