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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.

Confirmed Cases: 66646

Reported Deaths: 1874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5599118
DeSoto363230
Harrison249836
Madison241464
Rankin227633
Jackson226942
Jones188558
Forrest177856
Washington164641
Lee142839
Lauderdale140792
Neshoba128592
Lamar120214
Oktibbeha111838
Bolivar110834
Warren108932
Lowndes107437
Panola105412
Sunflower102425
Scott99820
Lafayette96416
Copiah95028
Pike92836
Leflore92562
Holmes89048
Grenada84321
Yazoo82912
Pontotoc8218
Lincoln80941
Simpson79530
Leake78625
Monroe77853
Wayne76421
Coahoma74312
Tate72028
Marshall6889
Marion65720
Union62716
Winston62016
Adams61725
Covington61213
George5595
Newton54211
Pearl River54038
Tallahatchie53010
Attala52125
Walthall49819
Chickasaw45920
Noxubee45311
Alcorn4195
Calhoun4179
Prentiss41710
Tishomingo4095
Claiborne40413
Smith40413
Clay39413
Hancock38814
Jasper3879
Tippah36013
Itawamba35810
Tunica3337
Clarke32625
Montgomery3213
Lawrence3197
Yalobusha31310
Humphreys29111
Quitman2621
Carroll26111
Greene24111
Kemper23214
Perry2327
Jefferson Davis2316
Amite2306
Webster22812
Wilkinson20513
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1957
Stone1944
Benton1431
Choctaw1334
Franklin1242
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12969243
Mobile9836206
Montgomery6609148
Madison531433
Tuscaloosa419073
Unassigned356061
Baldwin350224
Shelby326035
Marshall313035
Lee266045
Morgan236918
Etowah210431
DeKalb179813
Calhoun176113
Elmore171538
Walker152064
Houston138612
Russell13582
St. Clair132817
Dallas131823
Limestone131813
Franklin127020
Cullman122012
Colbert117113
Lauderdale115717
Autauga108621
Escambia107516
Talladega100913
Jackson9684
Tallapoosa85479
Chambers84038
Dale82723
Blount7884
Chilton7886
Butler75836
Coffee7566
Covington73420
Pike7037
Clarke6629
Barbour5735
Lowndes57124
Marion57024
Marengo55315
Hale47326
Bullock46311
Winston45011
Perry4404
Bibb4265
Wilcox42610
Monroe4194
Randolph39610
Pickens3929
Conecuh38810
Washington38612
Sumter36018
Lawrence3481
Macon33414
Crenshaw3143
Choctaw28112
Cherokee2707
Henry2593
Geneva2570
Clay2525
Greene25011
Lamar2202
Fayette2045
Cleburne1261
Coosa1012
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