State Representative, Wilkes provides important item in 2023 session
Published 10:29 am Thursday, February 2, 2023
With the Mississippi legislative session underway, The Item asked legislators representing Pearl River County and Mississippi about what the community should keep their eyes and ears to.
In previous coverage, Mississippi State Representative Stacey Hobgood Wilkes and Mississippi House of Representatives Jansen Owen gave us a deep looking into their priority list for this session. The list included Roe vs. Wade, tax cuts, teacher pay raise, and road improvements.
Through written response, here are a few more bills that Wilkes thinks are very important to know for this session.
HB 795 – Shoplifting
House Bill 795 aims to assist small businesses in a problem commonly occurring – repeat shoplifters. Currently, the felony threshold for shoplifting is $1,000; however, that total is calculated for each occurrence. Unlike big box stores like Walmart and Target, small businesses are unable to monitor repeat shoplifters. Because of this, an individual might shoplift from a small business three times, each time under the felony level, and only receive three misdemeanor charges. This legislation would allow for aggregation of multiple instances of shoplifting by an individual in a thirty (30) day period to target those individuals who repeatedly target our already struggling small businesses.
HB 1143 – Small contractor repeal
Last year, Wilkes opposed a measure that required that subcontractors receive certain licenses, and permits, and pay certain fees before being able to accept jobs with contractors. This placed an unnecessary and expensive burden on the backs of our independent subcontractors.
“Whether you are an electrician or a plumber, the legislation required that you submit to these new, unnecessary legislations,” she said.
Wilkes added that she is opposed to legislation that makes it harder for people to work and make a living. That’s why she voted against the bill last year. Unfortunately, it still passed. This session, after hearing from many of my constituents who have been impacted by this policy, Wilkes has authored legislation to either repeal it entirely or reform it to accommodate existing contractors.
REAP Act — Protecting Minors from Permanent Mutilation
Earlier this session, the House passed the REAP Act – Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act. This legislation aims to protect minors less than 18 years of age from being subjected to experimental transgender procedures and surgeries. Under the law, a child under 18 cannot purchase alcohol or get a tattoo because we recognize that children are unable to make decisions that could have a permanent impact on their lives. The recent rise by those on the left attempts to encourage children to permanently mutilate their bodies by seeking surgeries to transition to another sex.
“This cannot be tolerated in Mississippi,” Wilkes said. “We must protect our children, and it is our responsibility to do so. That’s why I supported this legislation and I expect to see its passage this session.”
HB 1233 – Sales Tax Diversion
Right now, only 18% of sales taxes collected in municipalities are diverted back to the municipalities to help fund local governments. This low amount of diversion places most of the responsibility of supporting cities and towns on the backs of property owners.
“I have long supported efforts to ease that burden, and this bill will increase the sales tax diversion to cities and towns to 22%. Likewise, counties do not receive any diversion from sales taxes, and this places the burden on the backs of taxpayers,” Wilkes said.
This legislation will also provide a 5% diversion to counties and move towards easing the burden on the landowners within the counties.