The 2020 Mississippi Legislative Session kicked off this week with an array of new faces in statewide positions and across the House of Representatives and Senate floors.
Newly elected Public Service Commissioners Brent Bailey and Dane Maxwell, along with incumbent Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley were sworn into office last week. On Wednesday newly elected Transportation Commissioners John Caldwell and Willie Simmons, along with incumbent Transportation Commissioner Tom King were sworn into office.
On Thursday, newly elected Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Treasurer David McRae and Secretary of State Michael Watson, along with incumbent Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney and Auditor Shad White, were sworn into office. Mississippi Governor-elect Tate Reeves will be sworn into office on January 14.
“My staff and I are extremely excited to begin working with all of the newly elected statewide officials to help our Mississippi farmers and ranchers,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said. “I congratulate all of them on their new positions.”
On Tuesday, the Mississippi Legislature welcomed 25 new representatives and 14 new senators. Despite having so many new members, both sides of the Legislature set to work establishing rules for the next four years, as well as appointing members to leadership roles.
With the quick start to the 2020 Legislative Session, Hosemann made history as the first person to preside over the Mississippi House and Senate in the same week. On Tuesday, Hosemann finished his duties as Secretary of State by presiding over the House. Mississippi law states that the Secretary of State should preside over the House before a speaker is elected. After being sworn into his new role as Lieutenant Governor on Thursday, Hosemann presided over the Senate throughout the rest of the week.
The Senate unanimously elected Dean Kirby as the new President Pro Tempore and appointed Buck Clarke as Secretary of the Senate. Chuck Younger was appointed Chair of the Agriculture Committee and Ben Suber was appointed Vice-Chair. To view all of the Senate committee appointments, click here.
The House unanimously re-elected Phillip Gunn as its Speaker and Jason White as the Speaker Pro Tempore. Gunn then named the Appropriations and the Ways and Means committee chairs and vice-chairs, as well as its other members. The Appropriations Committee Chair is John Read and the Vice-Chair is Karl Oliver. The Ways and Means Committee Chair is Trey Lamar and the Vice-Chair is Jody Steverson.
On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee met and passed a spending bill to correct an error in a bill passed during the 2019 Legislative Session regarding teacher pay raises.
“I appreciate the Legislature’s quick work in taking care of business,” McCormick said. “Their dedication to the people of Mississippi shows.”