Jansen Owen’s Weekly Update: A Recap of Week Five in the 2024 Legislative Session

Published 9:31 pm Monday, February 5, 2024

By Jansen Owen

The fifth week of the 2024 Legislative Session saw committees beginning their work, focusing on drafting bills. Floor activity remained limited, given that bills need committee approval before reaching the entire House—critical deadlines approach: February 19 for bill introduction and March 5 for bills to exit committees. Despite the ongoing committee work, two bills moved to the House floor.

House Bill 539: This bill proposes presumptive eligibility for prenatal care under Medicaid for pregnant women with household incomes 194% below the federal poverty line. The aim is to provide care during the 60-day Medicaid application review period, addressing Mississippi’s high infant and maternal mortality rates. The bill passed the House with a vote of 117-5.

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House Bill 774: This legislation seeks to legalize online sports betting in Mississippi. It mandates online sportsbooks to partner with existing casinos in the state, ensuring revenue stays at physical locations. An amendment allocates the income to the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund. The bill passed the House by a vote of 98-14.

This week also marked my first House Judiciary B Committee meeting as Vice Chairman. The committee passed two bills:

First Bill: Caps fees for service sidearms of retired law enforcement officers and families of officers killed in the line of duty at $50.

Second Bill: This bill permits the issuance of search warrants via electronic means, allowing law enforcement to submit applications, meet with judges electronically, and have warrants signed electronically. Both bills are pending on the House floor.