House of Representative ReportBy REP. TROY SMITH,
This was the sixth week of the 2020 Legislative Session. House members had a busy week full of committee meetings and hearings. The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, February 17, so members will remain busy over the next few weeks deciding which drafted bills will make it onto the House floor.
On Tuesday, Speaker Philip Gunn was presented the Angel Award by the Mississippi Center for Violence Prevention and was recognized for his commitment to fight human trafficking. In October 2018, Speaker Gunn’s Commission on Public Policy hosted a Human Trafficking Summit, and last session, the House passed House Bill 571 which made it illegal for a person under the age of 18 to be charged with prostitution.
After being held on a motion to reconsider at the end of last week, House Bill 95 came before the House again. The bill would provide that the Commissioner of Insurance shall resolve certain disputes between provider and the insured regarding billing. Amendment 1 to HB 95 was introduced and passed on a voice vote. The bill passed as amended and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 756 was the source of much debate during session on Thursday. The bill would require the Department of Finance and Administration to ascertain cost estimates of repairs at the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility. The correctional facility has been closed since the fall of 2016. The bill passed 91-22, and it has been held on a motion to reconsider.
Two Representatives presented bills for the first time before the House. Representative Price Wallace (R – Simpson) presented House Bill 687, which would extend the date of the repealer on the provision of law that requires the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation to submit the annual audit of its accounts to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce by November 15. The bill passed 117-2. Representative Lee Yancey (R- Rankin) presented House Bill 408, which would provide requirements for credit for reinsurance. The bill passed 115-4.
Although several resolutions were passed by the House this week, one concurrent resolution in particular stood out. House Concurrent Resolution 13 honors the life of Mr. William J. “Billy” McCoy, who passed away in November 2019. Speaker McCoy was a member of the House from 1980 to 2012, serving as Speaker of the House from 2004 to 2012. During his time in the House, he also served as Chairman of Ways and Means, Chairman of Education and Vice-Chairman of Highways and Highway Financing (now Transportation), among his other committee appointments. HC 13 was passed unanimously by the members.
During session on Thursday, the House was visited by Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Hyer. She addressed the House and spoke of her platform to increase the number of registered organ donors across the state.
Other visitors at the Capitol this week included Teen Pact Leadership Schools; the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks; the Mississippi Court Reporters Association; Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians.