Thousands of pieces of legislation that were introduced at the beginning of the 2016 legislative session are now dead. Some of the bills that have been killed include efforts to change the state flag as well as a controversial school voucher plan.
Tuesday marked the first major legislative deadline for lawmakers. All general bills had to be passed out of committee in their originating house or else they would be considered dead.
And there were a lot of them. Thousands of pieces of legislation were killed.
One group of bills that met its demise, were a set of measures that called for a new state flag. Republican Terry Burton of Newton is the President Pro Tem of the Senate and Chair of the Rules Committee.
“I think the leadership in the House, Senate and the Governor’s office has made it abundantly clear,” says Burton. “The people made the decision to adopt this flag and the people will make the decision on the next round to keep it or not keep it. So that will be a referendum that the people will vote on, I think.”
Another bill that died unexpectedly was House Bill 943. It was a plan to allow parents of public schools students to send their children to private schools using taxpayer money.
The education committee passed the measure last week, but it also required passage by the House Appropriations Committee, which did not bring the bill up before a legislative deadline.
Education Committee Chair, Republican John Moore of Brandon says this isn’t the end of vouchers in Mississippi.
“Yeah, I’m a little bit surprised, but I’m not thoroughly disappointed,” Moore says. “It’s a complicated piece of legislation. There’s been a lot of work that went into that bill, and I’ve been around here a long time, and good legislation sometimes takes two, three, five, ten years to pass.”
However, measures that would allow students to transfer out of under performing schools as well as plans to expand charter schools throughout the state remain alive.