A Glance at Some New Laws in Mississippi | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Glance at Some New Laws in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Here's a glance at some new Mississippi laws that take effect Monday:

CHARTER SCHOOLS — The governor, lieutenant governor and state superintendent of education have until Sept. 1 to nominate people to serve on a board that will oversee development of charter schools, which are public schools that agree to meet certain standards in exchange for freedom from regulations. (House Bill 369)

SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA — Under a new statewide standard for counting who is present or absent, a child who misses more than 37 percent of any school day must be considered absent for the entire day. (House Bill 1530)

SCHOOL PRAYER — Mississippi school districts must adopt a policy to allow a "limited public forum" at school events such as football games or morning announcements, to let students express religious beliefs. The policy must include a disclaimer that such student speech "does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position or expression of the district." (Senate Bill 2633)

SCHOOLS-SECURITY — The state Department of Education will create a grant program to help schools hire security officers. The maximum state grant would be $10,000 per officer hired, and the local school or district would be required to spend at least that amount. The new law was written in response to the December 2012 fatal shootings at a school in Newtown, Conn. (Senate Bill 2659)

DRUNKEN DRIVERS — When someone is convicted for a first-offense DUI, the person's driver's license could be suspended for 90 days, or a judge could order a 30-day license suspension and require the person to use an ignition interlock device for six months. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol on his or her breath. (House Bill 481)

CHILD SUPPORT — The state Department of Human Services is authorized to hire private vendors to collect unpaid child support, which lawmakers say totals more than $1 billion. (House Bill 1009)

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSES — State boards can issue a temporary or permanent license to someone transferred to Mississippi because of a spouse's military job, if the person already has a professional license from another state. This could affect teachers, cosmetologists, accountants, engineers, real estate brokers, physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. People with temporary licenses can start working while applying for permanent ones. The new law also says people who learn job skills in the military can count that experience as they work toward licensure, certification or registration in their fields in civilian life. (Senate Bill 2419)

ABORTION — A physician must be present when a woman takes abortion-inducing drugs and the woman who takes the medication must have a follow-up physical examination two weeks later. (Senate Bill 2795).


Here's a glance at some new laws that took effect as soon as Gov. Phil Bryant signed them:

ALL YOU CAN EAT — Counties and cities are prohibited from creating food regulations such as requiring nutritional labeling at restaurants, banning junk foods, limiting soft drink sizes and keeping toys out of meals. (Senate Bill 2687, which was signed March 18)

CONCEALED WEAPONS INFO — The public no longer has access to names, addresses or other information about people who have state-issued licenses to carry concealed weapons. (House Bill 485, which was signed March 4)

EARLY LITERACY — Schools are to provide intensive instruction to students in early grades who are falling behind in reading. Children who can read proficiently by the end of third grade are not to be held back for more work. (Senate Bill 2347, which was signed April 18)

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