Below is the summary of several pieces of legislation the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office will support in the 2015 Legislative Session.
1. Autism Advocate Bill – This bill requires health insurance policies to provide coverage for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. HB 885 (sponsored by Rep. Steve Massengill) passed the House and the Senate. The bill is currently on its way to the Governor. The Senate version of this bill was sponsored by Sen. Rita Parks.
2. Mississippi Uniform Limited Partnership Act – The Mississippi Uniform Limited Partnership Act updates and modernizes limited partnership law in Mississippi. The current laws are based on the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (RULPA 1978/1985) and were adopted in 1987. These updates would provide clearer protection for limited partners, perpetual duration for limited partnerships, expanded purposes for limited partnerships (allowing asset protection and estate planning type measures), and the formation of Limited Liability Limited Partnerships (LLLP). SB 2310 (sponsored by Sen. Sean Tindell) passed the Senate and the House. The bill is currently on its way to the Governor. The House version of this bill was sponsored by Rep. Trey Lamar.
3. Presidential Primary Date – In an effort to have the Presidential Primary in the southern states on the same date, the proposed legislation would move the Presidential Primary to the first Tuesday in March. The proposed legislation is intended to cause Presidential candidates to focus more closely on southern states. *SB 2531(sponsored by Sen. Terry Burton) passed the Senate and the House. Because changes were made in the House, the bill has been transmitted to the Senate for concurrence or non-concurrence. The House version of this bill was sponsored by Rep. Bill Denny.
4. Expansion Relocation Tax Credit – Provides a tax credit in the amount of actual relocation costs to existing Mississippi businesses expanding their workforce. The businesses must qualify for the jobs tax credit provided in the Economic Development Reform Act and relocate employees to the State of Mississippi from outside the State. HB 1612 (sponsored by Rep. Jeff Smith) died in the House Ways & Means Committee. SB 2782 (sponsored by Sen. Joey Fillingane) died in the Senate Finance Committee.
5. Employee Pass-Through Jobs Tax Credit – Allows a business receiving a jobs tax credit to pass all, or a portion, of the credit to one or more employees of the company in lieu of claiming the credit at the business level. HB 1608 (sponsored by Rep. Jeff Smith) died in the House Ways & Means Committee. SB 2783 (sponsored by Sen. Joey Fillingane) died in the Senate Finance Committee.
6. Cat Island – Allows the Secretary of State to negotiate with the United States and its agencies, including the National Park Service, for an in-kind acquisition of land on Cat Island. This acquisition would consolidate current holdings into contiguous tracts of land for the State of Mississippi and United States. **SB 2438 (sponsored by Sen. Sean Tindell) passed both the Senate and the House. Because changes were made in the House, the bill transmitted back to the Senate for concurrence or non-concurrence. The Senate chose not to concur and invited conference to further work on the bill. The House version of this bill was sponsored by Rep. Casey Eure.
7. Burial Plot Reversion – Permits privately owned cemeteries to revert burial plot ownership after a period of 99 years, if the plot has not been claimed. Cemeteries would be required to notify, by mail, the last known owner of the burial plot. After ninety (90) days, the cemetery would be required to provide notice in the newspaper of general circulation where the cemetery is located for three separate weeks. If the property is not claimed, the cemetery is able to make the plot available for purchase. An owner or heir may claim the property at any time before the property is sold. If the property is sold, the owner or heir would receive the “sell price” of the plot in return, less publication cost of the sale. HB 960 (sponsored by Rep. Brent Powell) died in the House Judiciary A Committee. SB 2681 (sponsored by Sen. Sally Doty) died in the Senate Judiciary A Committee.
8. Mississippi Iranian Divestment Act – Based on the “Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010” (Public Law 111-195). The bill prohibits the state, any agency, or political subdivision from investing in any company which (1) engages in business valued at $20 million in the Iranian energy sector, or, (2) invests in the Iranian energy sector in an amount of $20 million. The proposal requires the Executive Director of the Department of Finance Administration (DFA) to maintain a list of any company matching these criteria, as well as notice provisions and the ability to challenge the Executive Director’s determination. **HB 1127 (sponsored by Rep. Jerry Turner) passed the House and the Senate. Because changes were made in the Senate, the bill transmitted back to the House for concurrence or non-concurrence. The House chose not to concur and invite conference to further work on the bill. The Senate version was sponsored by Sen. Nancy Collins.
*Indicates the bill is subject to a March 26th deadline for concurrence or non-concurrence in amendments from other House on General Bills and Constitutional Amendments.
**Indicates the bill is subject to a March 30th deadline for filing of conference reports on General Bills and Constitutional Amendments.