A glance at bills in the Mississippi Legislature

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Here’s a glance at the status of selected bills in the Mississippi Legislature. Tuesday was the deadline for House and Senate committees to act on general bills that had already passed the opposite chamber. There are separate deadlines for budget and revenue bills.

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ALIVE

ABORTION — House Bill 1390 would require physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology.

ATTORNEY GENERAL — House Bill 211 would limit the powers of the attorney general. It would allow state government agency heads to hire outside lawyers without the attorney general’s approval when they have conflicts with the attorney general. The bill would also require all outside legal contracts be filed with a state board.

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION — Senate Bill 2330 would consolidate Sunflower County’s three school districts into one. The districts — Sunflower County, Indianola and Drew — are all under state conservatorship for a variety of reasons, including low academic performance. Senate Bill 2760 deals with consolidation of some of Bolivar County’s six school districts. Senate Bill 2737 would allow the State Board of Education to consolidate failing districts that the state takes over for a second time.

SCHOOL START DATES — House Bill 707 would require that schools start no earlier than the third Monday in August, which would be anywhere from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21.

UNDERAGE PREGNANCY — House Bill 16 would require health care workers, clergy members, educators, child care workers, law enforcement officers and commercial film developers to report to investigators any alleged or suspected instance of sexual abuse of a child. Critics say its provisions are weaker than existing state law.

BREWERY SAMPLES — House Bill 1019 would allow beer breweries to provide small samples for tasting during brewery tours.

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DEAD

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Senate Bill 2401 would’ve allowed the creation of charter schools, which are public schools free from traditional rules.

IMMIGRATION — House Bill 488 would’ve required police or deputies to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement every time they arrest someone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Law enforcement departments that don’t comply could be fined up to $5,000 per day. The bill also would’ve prohibited any illegal immigrant from applying for a driver’s license or business license.

FETAL HEARTBEAT — House Bill 1196 would’ve prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, unless the woman’s health is at risk.

RU-486 — House Bill 790 would’ve regulated the use of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 by requiring the prescribing physician to be in the room when the woman takes it.

CONSUMER LOANS — House Bill 1396 would’ve allowed loan companies to charge 99 percent interest for loans up to $1,500. The current cap is 36 percent. It also would’ve changed amounts that could be charged for loans up to $4,000. For example, the new cap would be set at 74.83 percent interest for loans of $1,600 and 56.73 percent interest for loans of $4,000.

SCHOOL PRAYER — House Bill 638 would’ve created a “limited public forum” to give public school students a chance to speak every school day and before every athletic competition, graduation or school event. Sponsors hoped this would make it legally acceptable for prayer before fellow students and other audiences.

SCRAP CARS — Senate Bill 2667 aimed to penalize those who steal old cars and sell them for scrap. The original version of the bill would’ve made it a felony to knowingly falsify an affidavit claiming ownership of a vehicle without a title.