While the inclement weather certainly halted many of us in our tracks, members of the House were busy continuing to move meaningful bills forward. I applaud the team at ACE Power, many city workers, law enforcement officers, emergency personnel and frontline healthcare workers who worked diligently to protect our community and provide highly-valued services during our time of need.

Below are some bills I believe will be of interest to you all:

Autopsies – House Bill 70 is the result of the horrendous case of Christian Andreacchio, of Meridian, whose death shocked all who knew him. After Christian’s death, his autopsy photos were distributed without consent to various websites. HB 70 aims to keep autopsy photos confidential and allow them to only be used for investigative purposes.

Out of State Waiver – House Bill 111 was requested by Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC), allowing the college to waive out of state tuition.

Intervention Courts – House Bill 287 will impact our intervention courts and the vital role they play in providing people with alternative sentencing programs. These courts provide a mechanism for people to receive help, whether it be for drugs, mental health or issues related to veterans’ health. HB 287 would expand eligibility for these programs and focus on assisting more people during their moment of need.

Requirement of Government ID to Purchase Vaping Products – House Bill 875 aims to raise the age to 21 and require a government issued ID in order to purchase these products.

Department of Public Safety to Allow Official Documents from Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) as State ID – House Bill 551 addresses a specific problem inmates face when being released from prison. In many instances, these released individuals struggle to receive a valid ID, creating a myriad of problems, including hurdles while pursuing a driver’s license and finding meaningful employment. This bill would allow the Department of Public Safety to create an ID for these individuals upon departure from prison.

Dignity for Incarcerated Women – House Bill 196 is one of my all-time favorite bills that I’ve had the pleasure of working to orchestrate and being a part of. This bill creates certain protocols that are aimed at bettering the treatment of expecting inmates. HB 196 clearly proposes restricting shackling and restraining these pregnant individuals unless they are a danger to either themselves or the baby. In addition, HB 196 allows for visitation between the mother and the child post birth. Ultimately, this is a pro-life bill with the goal of bettering the life of both the mother and the child.

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