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Hosemann gives Senate update

Mississippi’s Legislature is pushing through a session that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to tackle more than 800 bills.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann gave an update Thursday morning where he said that the Senate currently has four senators who are out due to contracting COVID-19.

That has led to the Senate to bring in other senators to take over as vice chairs of committees.

One of the 876 bills filed concerns raising teacher pay by about $1,000 annually. Hosemann said he believes the bill will be approved and funded this session and said there is a need to recognize what the teachers have done this past year.

The Senate is also working on another broadband bill to ensure that all Mississippi children have access to the Internet and distance learning.

Medicaid is also up for renewal this session. Hosemann said the aim is to make access to medical care easier in this state.

“We’re working on everything from health care to prison reform,” Hosemann said.

When asked about Senate Bill 2588, a bill that could change how voting rolls are purged, Hosemann said the purging of voter rolls is essential. The bill states that if a registered voter has not cast a ballot in two presidential elections, their name is flagged and a post card is sent to the address on the rolls. If a response is not made, their information not updated or a ballot is not cast by that person within four years, their name is removed from the rolls. Hosemann said that equates to eight years before a name is purged from the rolls. He added that people regularly move or pass away, so the change is needed to keep the rolls current and make jury pool selection easier.

When asked, Hosemann said there is no bill being considered to eliminate income tax within the state.

He also addressed a need to improve the state’s many parks.

“We have to have public spaces for our people,” Hosemann said.