Though we’re only a portion of the way through 2018, there have been a small handful of fairly major bills and acts that have passed in Mississippi during the year. Mississippi’s three-month legislative season, which just came to a close in March, was unfortunately rather lackluster in regard to the passing of new bills and laws, however.
Below you’ll find a brief summary of just a few of the major bills and acts that have passed in the first quarter of 2018:
15-Week Abortion Ban: As of March 2018, Mississippi almost became the state with the earliest abortion ban in the nation. Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 which prevents women from getting an abortion after the 15th week of their pregnancy. Almost immediately following this, a judge signed a temporary restraining order on the ban, however. The case and ban are awaiting litigation.
Medicaid Overhaul: Lawmakers approved a three-year reauthorization of Medicaid. Medicaid provides health insurance to roughly one-fourth of the state’s population. While a major overhaul was not approved, the bill that passed includes several smaller adjustments and fixes. Medicaid recipients will see limitations removed from the number of doctor visits they may use and monthly prescriptions. Rural hospitals will also be reimbursed at higher rates with the new adjustments.
Criminal Justice Reform: Lawmakers passed a bill that seeks to reduce inmate recidivism and does away with the practice of placing individuals in jail when they cannot afford to pay fines. Under the reform, courts will additionally lower some criminal penalties. In addition, a study committee was created with the intention of addressing sentencing disparities across Mississippi.
Kaelin Kersh Act: This bill, named after a former Mississippi State University track and field star who was killed in an accident with a Highway Patrol vehicle that was speeding, will require emergency response vehicles that are traveling 30 mph or more over the speed limit to have their lights set to flashing.
Pharmaceutical Changes: Mississippi pharmacists can now inform patients about cheaper ways to pay for their prescription drugs. If their copay is more expensive than the cash price of a drug, for example, they may inform patients of this.
Statewide Borrowing to Make Improvements: Mississippi lawmakers agreed to borrow about $260 million to fund several projects across the state including funding that will go towards Mississippi universities, repairing/replacing bridges on local roads, shipyard upgrades, community college projects, and several other state-owned renovation projects.
For a full list of the bills that passed and the ones that did not, please see here.