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 filed in their own chamber. There are separate deadlines for budget and revenue bills.
ABORTION DRUGS — Senate Bill 2795 says that only a physician may prescribe an abortion-inducing drug and it would require a physician to set a follow-up visit for a patient 14 days after the drug is administered.
CHARTER SCHOOLS — House Bill 369 and Senate Bill 2189 would broaden the legal authority to create charter schools in Mississippi and set up a new board to oversee such schools. Charter schools are public schools that agree to meet certain standards in exchange for freedom from regulations.
PRE-KINDERGARTEN — House Bill 781 and Senate Bill 2395 would set up a program for the state to fund prekindergarten classes for the first time. Local communities would set up consortiums that would have to match state money.
MANDATORY KINDERGARTEN ATTENDANCE— House Bill 779 would require parents to enroll their 5-year-old children in kindergarten. Attendance is currently optional.
SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION — Senate Bill 2637 would force the consolidation of the Starkville and Oktibbeha County school districts, while House Bill 716 would force the consolidation of West Point and Clay County schools.
SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA — House Bill 1530 requires a student to be present for two-thirds of a school day to be counted as present in calculations for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program’s funding formula.
CONCEALED WEAPONS — House Bill 485 would block public access to information about state-issued permits for people to carry concealed weapons.
TEEN PREGNANCY — House Bill 151 says physicians or midwives would be required to collect umbilical cord blood when a baby is born to a mother who’s younger than 16 if she doesn’t reveal the father’s name. DNA tests would be done on the blood as a way to try to identify the father and allow prosecutors to pursue statutory rape charges if there’s a large age gap between the age of the mother and the father, said House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton.
SPEED LIMIT — House Bill 376 would increase the speed limit on interstate highways and some state highways from 70 mph to 75 mph.
SCHOOL PRAYER — House Bill 1112 and Senate Bill 2633 designate school assemblies as “limited public forums” attempting to clear the way for students to pray before those gatherings. It also bans teachers from discriminating against religious viewpoints in academic work.
IMMIGRATION: House Bill 1221 would increase the fines for not using an electronic system to verify that someone is eligible for employment and would direct the attorney general to enforce the law.
SOVEREIGNTY — House Bill 490 would’ve established a Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Law. Its sponsors, Republican Reps. Gary Chism and Jeff Smith, both of Columbus, said the bill was designed to ensure state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Opponents said the bill was unconstitutional because federal law trumps state law.
ABORTION-HEARTBEAT —House Bill 6 would’ve outlawed abortion once a fetal heartbeat could be detected.
HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRIDS — House Bill 819, the “Protection of the Human Person Act,” would’ve banned the creation of any human-animal hybrid through the use of in vitro fertilization.
COCKFIGHTING — House Bill 1029, Senate Bill 2220 and Senate Bill 2772 would’ve raised the penalties for cockfighting in Mississippi.
HEALTH EXCHANGES — Senate Bill 2773 and House Bill 915 would’ve taken away Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney’s disputed authority to set up an online health insurance exchange as part of the federal health insurance overhaul.
SMOKING BAN — Senate Bill 2078 and other similar bills would’ve banned smoking in public places and at job sites.
BUILDING CODES — Senate Bill 2591 would have created a statewide building code.
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING — House Bill 707 and House Bill 708 would’ve banned texting while driving.