Analysis: Session brings wide range of new Mississippi laws

MGN Online

Mississippi is enacting a wide range of laws based on bills passed during this year's legislative session, including some that separately regulate wine, school buses and scooters.

Posted: Jul 12, 2020 6:22 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is enacting a wide range of laws based on bills passed during this year's legislative session, including some that separately regulate wine, school buses and scooters.

Mississippi residents who visit wineries in other states will be able to have bottles of wine shipped back home, in a roundabout way. House Bill 1088 will become law Jan. 1. It says a person may purchase wine from a winery and have it shipped to a package retail store in Mississippi, and that package store will ensure that the Mississippi Department of Revenue collects all taxes, fees and surcharges that the state is owed — expenses that will, presumably, come from the wallet of the consumer and not from the retailer acting as the middle man.

School bus drivers may now go as fast as 65 mph on interstate highways, up from a previous limit of 50 mph. That change is in House Bill 1176, which became law July 1.

Vicksburg and Jackson received permission to regulate motor-assisted scooters on certain city streets, through Senate Bills 2921 and 3036.

Gautier and Walnut Grove received permission to let people drive golf carts of other low-speed vehicles on city streets, through Senate Bill 3033 and House Bill 2150. Another measure, House Bill 1468, clarifies the types of regulations that Pass Christian may set for people puttering along in such vehicles.

The bills dealing with scooters and golf carts are “local and private” legislation, which deal with issues in specific cities or counties.

In a local and private measure unrelated to golf carts or scooters, House Bill 1586 let Coahoma County spend local money for specific projects — up to $2 million for costs related to a new justice complex and a new fire station, and up to $2 million toward construction of a Jonestown highway bypass.

Other local and private bills allow several cities to either extend existing taxes or set new ones. The taxes on restaurant meals and hotel and motel stays typically pay for parks and recreation programs.

One new statewide law prohibits convicted sex offenders from having further contact with their victims. Senate Bill 2009 became law July 1. It says that a convicted sex offender may not “threaten, visit, assault, molest, abuse, injure or otherwise interfere with the victim,” including by following the person to work, school or home or by contacting the victim by phone, written communication or electronic means. Violation is punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

A judge could grant exception for contact at the request of the victim or the victim’s parent, guardian or conservator “if the court determines that reasonable grounds for the victim to fear any future contact with the defendant no longer exist.”

Republican Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula is chairman of the Judiciary B Committee, which was the first to examine the bill. Wiggins is a former prosecutor, and he said it has been standard practice in some court districts to have sentencing orders that prohibit sex offenders from having further contact with victims. But, he said those could differ “from place to place and judge to judge.”

Wiggins said some convicted sex offenders have tried, while inside prison, to contact their victims.

“It puts these criminals who have been convicted on notice that if they violate that, it creates another crime that they’ve committed,” Wiggins said Friday.

Another new law requires the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services to form teams to assess and respond to children who are victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. This requirement is in House Bill 1559, which became law July 8.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
Bolivar199477
Oktibbeha197654
Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
Leflore163287
Sunflower158849
Warren153255
Monroe146572
Pontotoc145219
Pike137256
Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
Copiah135736
Coahoma124036
Scott123829
Grenada120638
Yazoo119933
Simpson119549
Union116025
Leake113940
Holmes113760
Tate113639
Itawamba111325
Pearl River110559
Adams105243
Prentiss102919
Wayne99421
Alcorn96712
George95718
Covington94525
Marion93342
Tippah86521
Newton84927
Chickasaw83225
Winston82621
Tallahatchie82525
Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
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