Jansen Owen Weekly Legislative Update: Busy Sessions, Notable Bills, and Honoring Alyce G. Clarke

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Mississippi Legislature completed its seventh week of the 2024 session with members actively engaged in bill discussions and committee meetings.

A significant deadline passed on Monday, February 19, as the window for introducing new general bills or constitutional amendments closed. Despite this deadline, over 1,200 House bills have already been filed, indicating a busy session ahead. Committees continued their work throughout the week, considering various bills before presenting them to the full House.

Representative Jansen Owen successfully guided House Bill 286 through the House. This bill seeks to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual battery if DNA evidence is discovered, challenging the current two-year restriction. The bill passed with overwhelming support, receiving a vote of 121-0.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In addition, two bills proposing new state celebrations were introduced. House Bill 124 aims to designate the fourth Thursday in March as “Tuskegee Airmen Day,” honoring the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. While not a legal state holiday, the day would recognize their contributions. HB 124 unanimously passed the House and is now with the Senate. House Bill 365, which proposes designating March as “Mississippi Musicians Month,” also passed unanimously with a vote of 118-0.

Several Representatives introduced bills this week. Representative Jimmy Fondren introduced House Bill 526, allowing hunters to wear fluorescent pink as an alternative to orange. The bill passed 110-4. Representative Rodney Hall introduced House Bill 80, known as the Zeb Hughes Law, which would create a presumption of death for missing persons who have experienced a catastrophic event. The bill passed unanimously with a vote of 121-0. Representative Zachary Grady presented House Bill 1004, which seeks to revise definitions related to regulating the sex offender registry. The bill passed unanimously with a vote of 119-0.

On Tuesday, former Representative Alyce G. Clarke of Jackson was honored by the House of Representatives and community leaders with unveiling her portrait in the House Education Committee Room. Clarke, the first African American woman elected to the Mississippi Legislature, served for 38 years. She implemented the federal WIC food program, established drug courts, organized school breakfasts, and championed the state lottery system during her tenure. Clarke is the first woman and African American to have a portrait displayed in the State Capitol.