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Teacher pay, abortion restriction alive at 1st deadline

February 5, 2019
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A judge holds a printout of the details of the GAP (Guard and Protect vulnerable children and adults ) Act during a Senate Judiciary A Committee meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Jackson, Miss. Lawmakers are racing to meet a deadline for their committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own Houses. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Tuesday marked the first deadline of the three-month session of the Mississippi Legislature. It was the final day for committees to act on general bills originating in their own chamber. Bills that survived move to the full House or Senate for debate. Tax and spending bills face a later deadline to pass committees.

Here’s a look at the status of selected bills:

ALIVE

TEACHER PAY — House Bill 1349 and Senate Bill 2770 propose $500 increases in teacher salaries for each of the next two years, for a total of $1,000.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE — House Bill 1352 would ease penalties on some Mississippians accused or convicted of crimes. It also would expand drug courts to handle people with mental illnesses and military veterans. And, it would stop automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines or for simple drug possession.

ABORTION — House Bill 732 and Senate Bill 2116 would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which could be as early as six weeks.

PROPERTY OWNER LIABILITY: House Bill 337 and Senate Bill 2901 would limit reasons that property owners could be sued for something that happens on their property.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS — House Bill 571 would prevent charges from being filed against trafficking victims who are younger than 18. The minor would be taken into protective custody and counseling would be provided. Foster parents would be trained to help trafficking victims.

TEENS TANNING — Senate Bill 2847 would prohibit people younger than 18 from using tanning beds.

DEAD

CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE — House 1104 would have allowed police agencies to resume seizing property associated with drug arrests without a court judgment.

MISSISSIPPI FLAG — More than a dozen bills would have removed the Confederate battle emblem that has been on the Mississippi flag since 1894. Several other bills would have required universities or other public entities to display the flag.

VOTER IDENTIFICATION — Senate Bill 2242 would set a three-day deadline for voters to go to a courthouse to show photo identification if they forget ID at the polls. Current law allows five days.

STUDENTS VOTING — Senate Bill 2806 attempted to resolve problems college students face while trying to cast absentee ballots for elections that could go to runoffs.

ANNEXATION — Several House bills would have allowed elections on the question of whether cities could annex targeted areas.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA — House Bill 1371 and Senate Bill 2358 would have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

MINIMUM WAGE — Several bills proposed setting a state minimum wage higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

HATE CRIMES — House Bill 1494 and Senate Bill 2163 would have expanded the existing hate crimes law by allowing prosecutors to seek tougher penalties to crimes targeting people because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The current law allows enhanced penalties for crimes that target people because of their actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender.

VACCINATIONS — Senate Bill 2255 and Senate Bill 2398 would have allowed a philosophical or religious exemption for vaccinations that are required for children to attend school.

EQUAL PAY — Several bills would have required equal pay for equal work done by women and men.

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