Some of DeSoto County’s state lawmakers this weekend provided an update on the legislative session’s progress in Jackson.
State Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven) announced during his mid-session update released Friday that he would be running for a second term. Blackwell, representing Senate District 19, was first elected to the legislature in 2015, running unopposed in both the Republican primary and the November general election.
“While I believe we have worked to help advance our state, there is still much work to be done,” Blackwell wrote in his mid-session update. “That is why, with your support, I am running for a second term to hopefully continue the work we have started.”
Among the Senate bills Blackwell reported passage on was Senate Bill 2243, which would allow the president of the Board of Supervisors to declare a local state of emergency.
State Sen. Chris Massey (R-Nesbit) is the principal author of the bill with Blackwell, state Sen. David Parker (R-Olive Branch) and state Sen. Phillip Moran (R-Kiln) as additional authors.
Senate Bill 2525 would protect confidentiality certain information held by rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs. It passed by a 50-0 vote.
Another bill, Senate Bill 2754 would create the crime of trespassing on critical infrastructure such as pipelines, electrical power grids and water transmission lines. It carries a fine of up to $100,000 and passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 2744, know as the Caller ID Anti Spoofing Act, conformed state law to federal law and gives Mississippians the ability to recoup punitive damages through legal action against unwanted harassment by telemarketers.
That is in addition to bills earlier reported on, such as the teacher pay raise measure, the fetal heartbeat abortion ban that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected at about six to seven weeks. The bill provides an exemption for medical emergencies, and the rural broadband act that allows rural electric cooperatives, such as Northcentral Electric Power Association, the ability to offer internet services to their members.
On the House side, a weekly report for state Reps. Robert Foster, Jeff Hale, Ashley Henley and Steve Hopkins state the House version of the fetal heartbeat abortion bill was passed on an 81-36 vote after extensive debate on the House floor.
Sent to the Senate was House Bill 1289, a measure called the Law Enforcement Identity Protection Act that would prohibit the public release of officers’ identities involved in fatalities until the investigation of the case is complete.
While the bill is meant to protect officers and their families from undue scrutiny, such information is typically reported by the media and investigations sometimes can take years to complete. The House passed the measure 86-30 and sent it to the Senate.
House Concurrent Resolution 47 proposes an amendment to the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 that would ensure rights to victims throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems. According to the proposed amendment, crime victims would be notified of all proceedings involving their perpetrator. Opponents of the legislation said that the proposed amendment did not address hate crimes in the state, while supporters said the legislation does address all crimes. The concurrent resolution passed the House 84-33 and will now be considered by the Senate.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.