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.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820011

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148361924
Mobile726091339
Madison52337697
Shelby37622350
Baldwin37258552
Tuscaloosa35117612
Montgomery34116740
Lee23536246
Calhoun22232488
Morgan20952378
Etowah19834500
Marshall18372304
Houston17390412
St. Clair16064339
Cullman15454293
Limestone15349199
Elmore15264286
Lauderdale14314295
Talladega13842283
DeKalb12662261
Walker11206370
Blount10197176
Autauga10047148
Jackson9874184
Coffee9211191
Dale8900185
Colbert8871201
Tallapoosa7089198
Escambia6775134
Covington6713183
Chilton6645162
Russell637059
Franklin5962105
Chambers5610142
Marion5007127
Dallas4975200
Pike4796106
Clarke475784
Geneva4574127
Winston4519103
Lawrence4324117
Bibb425286
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331564
Randolph329764
Butler326496
Pickens316384
Henry312766
Hale311688
Cherokee302860
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224447
Conecuh186253
Coosa180240
Lowndes175364
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138840
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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