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The last few weeks have seen the legislative process change from action in committees to action on the House floor. For a bill to make it through committee, it had to pass by February 23. Out of the 1,500 House bills that were filed, only 271 survived the committee process. These have now been placed on the floor calendar and, to survive again, must pass the full House by Thursday, March 3. A few bills of importance:
House Bill 796—Early Voting. On February 18, we passed HB 796 through the Elections Committee. If passed into law, this will allow voters to cast their ballots in their circuit clerks’ office during the 14-day period prior to Election Day. Current law states that to vote early (by absentee), a voter must be disabled, over age 65, or out of the county on Election Day. This bill will allow everyone to vote early with no excuse. Around half of states have allowed early voting and, in those states, voting has increased among both Republicans and Democrats.
House Bill 1178—Telemedicine. By a vote of 103-17, the full House passed HB 1178, which provides for the use of telemedicine. If passed by the Senate, this will allow Mississippians to visit their doctors over the telephone or by video, rather than physically going to a doctor’s office. This is beneficial in a few ways. First, it will allow doctors who otherwise do not have enough patients to keep them in business can begin seeing patients anywhere in the state. Second, it will allow people who are physically impaired or who lack transportation to have their medical needs met. The bill stipulates that all physicians practicing telemedicine in Mississippi have a Mississippi license. It also stipulates that doctors cannot force patients to be seen by audio or video; that decision must be the patient’s to make.
Many visitors from District 90 visited the Capitol over the past few weeks. The Covington County FFA, Simpson County FFA, and the Simpson County Youth Leadership groups visited the House. Simpson County Supervisors Brian Kennedy and Danny Craft and Jefferson Davis County Supervisor Rev. Michael Evans visited the Capitol to discuss pending legislation affecting their counties. Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts, a Mount Olive native, addressed both the House and Senate as part of her statewide travels.
To survive, bills must pass through the full House by Thursday, March 3, and we will be busy trying to get through as many as possible by then. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. God bless.
Rep. Noah Sanford represents portions of Covington, Simpson, and Jefferson Davis Counties in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 601-517-6622.