State House passes bill to ease costs of prescription medicine

By RANDY RUSHING,

Committee meetings to discuss House bills wrapped up on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and the House convened as a whole Wednesday through Friday to discuss the legislation that made it to the calendar. Bills considered dealt with a variety of topics on different subjects.

House Bill 192 would make it lawful to transport unopened beer and light wine on state and federal highways in dry areas of the state. This bill passed by a vote of 91-19. I voted in favor of this bill.

A tax credit would be offered to taxpayers who employ persons convicted of certain non-violent crimes by House Bill 175, which passed by a vote of 110-5.  I voted in favor of this bill.

Another unanimous vote occurred on House Bill 1028, known as “Nancy’s Law.” This bill would allow the Department of Human Services to relocate an individual or provide a new caretaker when investigations reveal abuse of a vulnerable person. I had the privilege to sponsor and present this bill on the House floor. I hope it will help reduce the abuse of our vulnerable elderly.

The House Committee on Public Health and Human Services introduced House Bill 709. This bill would create the Prescription Drugs Consumer Affordable Alternative Payment Options Act, which allows pharmacists to provide additional information to patients detailing options for medication that might be more affordable. The bill passed by a vote of 118-1. I voted in favor of this bill.

County government would receive more power under House Bill 164, which would allow the president of a county board of supervisors to issue a proclamation declaring a local emergency. This measure passed by a unanimous vote of 118-0.

The House also passed House Bill 1510, sparking debate among members. This bill would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Supporters of the bill say it would protect both the lives of unborn children and their mothers. Those opposed argued that this seemed unconstitutional and that the state should not be making decisions about women’s health. The measure passed by a vote of 79-31. I voted in favor of this Bill.

In the coming weeks, the House will continue to meet as a whole to vote on bills that will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Visitors to the Capitol are welcome to come watch the proceedings from the

gallery.

Capitol visitors this week included members of the Mississippi Psychological Association, the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the Mississippi Association of Realtors and the Mississippi Association for Justice.

I also enjoyed visiting with the Newton County Elementary and Middle School Talented and Gifted (TAG) Students! They asked questions and enjoyed their visit to the Capitol. Thank you to the teachers and parents that brought these students over for a visit!

The House schedule was full of committee meetings in the previous week, as Tuesday, Jan. 30’s deadline to have House bills out of their corresponding committees quickly approached.

After Jan. 30, no additional bills can be added to the House calendar for consideration, and members of the House will begin meeting as a whole for longer hours to discuss the bills that made it out of committees.

Despite the busy week of committee meetings, a few bills were introduced to the House floor for discussion.

One bill that generated some debate was House Bill 559. The bill would authorize the Department of Finance and Administration to enter into a lease with a nonprofit for the development of a pediatric care facility for the severely disabled.

Some legislators expressed concerns that the current facility would be relocated from one area of Jackson to another, but proponents said renovating the current location would be cost prohibitive to the project. The bill passed by a vote of 76-39 and was then held on a motion to reconsider. I supported this bill.

House Bill 405, which would establish the “Mississippi Career-Tech Scholars Program” to provide free tuition to students enrolled in certain career and technical education programs at community and junior colleges was presented. In order to help those people trying to find a job, or learn a skill to change jobs, I thought this bill was a good idea.

The student would have to expend all other attempts of funding before this program would apply. The bill passed by a vote of 111-2. 

Also introduced was House Bill 325, which would change the failure to have mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance from a civil violation to a criminal offense. The bill passed by a vote of 93-14.

On Wednesday, country music star and Mississippi native Randy Houser was recognized in the House Chamber with a resolution declaring Dec. 18, 2018, as “Randy Houser Day in Mississippi.” I had the pleasure of meeting with Randy and the honor of introducing him on the Floor of the House to the Members.

Among the groups visiting the Capitol this week were members of the Mississippi Retired Public Employees Association, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, the Mississippi Tourism Association, the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Mississippi Counseling Association.

Randy Rushing. R-Decatur, represents House District 78. Contact Rushing via email at  rrushing@house.ms.gov or by phone at 601-917-9504. Please identify yourself when contacting Rushing.