The Mississippi Legislature continued working on behalf of Mississippians this week amid concerns of the COVID-19.

On Thursday morning, legislative leaders met with Mississippi Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and other public health officials to determine a course of action in response to COVID-19. Currently, legislative leadership is encouraging anyone other than legislators, staff, and those with business at the Capitol to stay home for public safety reasons.

Despite the unusual day, Thursday still served as the deadline for bills to pass the floor of their original body. The following legislation was passed.

Senate

SB 2118 – This bill, also known as the Pecan Harvesting Law, would strengthen penalties for stealing pecans.

SB 2513 – This Farm Bureau supported bill would conform Mississippi’s Livestock Liability Law to the remainder of the state’s tort law and other southern state’s livestock liability laws. Currently, livestock owners have the burden of proof in a negligence lawsuit as a defendant. This legislation places the burden on the plaintiff suing.

SB 2553 – This Farm Bureau supported bill, also known as the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, passed the full senate with a reverse repealer. It would provide protections for owners of family land and allow more Mississippians to participate in farm bill programs.

SB 2725 – This Farm Bureau supported bill would legalize the cultivation of Industrial Hemp.

SB 2727 – This Farm Bureau supported bill would prohibit the transport of live wild hogs in Mississippi. MFBF is hopeful this is a step in the right direction toward eradicating wild hogs in the state. Under the bill, if someone is caught transporting a live wild hog, they would receive a Class I violation.

House

HB 721 – This bill would authorize an additional round of funds for the rural firetruck program.

HB 1081 – This bill would revise the formula that determines which bridges in the state qualify for Local System Bridge Program (LSBP) Funds. LSBP funds are state funds that go to local entities to repair bridges not supported by the Mississippi Department of Transportation or the state aid system. This bill would make more bridges eligible for funds. This bill unanimously passed the House floor.

HB 576 – This Farm Bureau supported bill would conform Mississippi’s Livestock Liability Law to the remainder of the state’s tort law and other southern state’s livestock liability laws. Currently, livestock owners have the burden of proof in a negligence lawsuit as a defendant. This legislation places the burden on the plaintiff suing. This bill passed the House with only seven “no” votes. Judiciary A Chairwoman Angela Cockerham brought the bill to the House floor for a vote. The Senate’s version of this bill is awaiting its House committee assignment.

HB 1091 – Rep. Trey Lamar authored this Farm Bureau supported bill, also known as the Mississippi Educational Talent Recruitment Act, in an attempt to help with Mississippi’s “Brain Drain” problem.

Women’s Day at the Capitol

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation State Women’s Leadership Committee hosted Women’s Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, where women from across the state gathered to hear from legislative leaders who are friends of agriculture.

“It’s important for farm women to meet with our legislators so they understand what’s going on with our farms,” State Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Betty Mills said. “We appreciate them taking time from their day to visit with us and learn a little more about agriculture.”