The Tuesday after Memorial Day the Mississippi Legislature resumed the 2020 regular session. This will go down as one of the longest regular sessions in Mississippi history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The House and Senate committees are working on bills received from the other side of the Capitol and reviewing them before the June 9 deadline for committee action. Additionally, the appropriations process is moving forward as the budget is beginning to take shape for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. The legislature, to conserve time, may be working towards passing a limited number of general bills before passing a final budget for the year, but remaining in session part time to deal with COVID-19 issues.
Most of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s priorities are still alive this session including:
SB 2553 – Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act
SB 2513/HB 576 – Livestock Liability
SB 2328/HB 1027 – Increase in Emerging Crop Loan Program
Funding for Mississippi State and Alcorn State’s Ag Units
We are also monitoring the Hemp legislation and other bills that effect agriculture and rural Mississippi.
Last week Commissioner of Revenue Herb Frierson and state economist Darrin Webb painted a bleak picture of revenue collections this year and the state’s economy for the next few years. Commissioner Frierson noted that some numbers were up from last year including sales tax and use tax, but since the filing deadline for income tax was moved to July, those numbers are down. Mr. Webb indicated this is the worst the state’s economy has been since the Depression, but it was a quick decline and could be a quick recovery, back to where we were by 2023.
Mississippians will begin seeing $2000 grants sent to small businesses that were shut down by state government orders. Governor Reeves announced the opening of the Back to Business Mississippi website (https://www.backtobusinessms.org/). This is in line with the Mississippi Legislature’s Back to Business Grant program which will be administered by the Mississippi Development Authority under Governor Tate Reeves’ interim director of MDA John Rounsaville, the recent director of USDA Rural Development in Mississippi.