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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: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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