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Rep. Noah Sanford
The House of Representatives has spent the last few weeks considering bills which originated in the Senate and passed that body.
In a rare case of unanimity, the House voted 117-0 to disallow artificial meat from being labeled as “meat” to Mississippi consumers. Some large food conglomerates have begun creating meat product—wholly in laboratory settings—using cells derived from animals. The product, which many refer to as “fake meat,” has likely not yet made its way to grocery stores in Mississippi. However, if signed by the Governor, this bill will ensure that—when it does—it will not be labeled as meat, thus ensuring that Mississippians know what they are purchasing.
More controversial was Senate Bill 2901, known as the Landowner Protection Act, which passed 78-36. Some areas of our state are experiencing serious issues of crime on retail/commercial and other properties, such as apartment complexes. Examples of such crimes are assaults in a shopping mall or a robbery in a parking lot. Current law allows for the victim, in some cases, to sue both the criminal and the business; in most all cases, the landowner winds up paying the entire amount of of the victim’s damages. The Landowner Protection Act, however, would allow damages to apportioned between the criminal and the landowner. For example, if someone is robbed in a parking lot of a grocery store, a jury would now be able to decide that the criminal is 80% at fault for committing the crime, and the grocery store owner is 20% at fault for not having proper lighting or a security guard. The driving force behind this legislation is the fact that some small businesses are being priced out of operation by ever-increasing liability insurance. Hopefully, this will help slow down those increases.
We will continue taking up Senate bills for consideration. The most important task the Legislature has each year is deciding how to appropriate funds. We will not take up this task until the last few weeks of session, when we will get final revenue estimates and a more full idea of next fiscal year’s budget. Right now, revenues are over and above last year’s estimates; this is good news, as it shows that the economy is improving, and as it gives the ability for pay raises for teachers and other state employees. Many state employees have not had a pay raise in twelve years.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve. Please contact me if I can be of assistance.
Rep. Noah Sanford represents parts of Covington, Simpson, and Jefferson Davis Counties in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He can be reached at 601-765-4122 or NSanford@house.ms.gov.