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Civil asset forfeiture and brewery sales are among the new laws in Mississippi

FEWER: The Mississippi Legislature passed fewer bills than it did last year. Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

With fiscal 2017 coming to an end today, the new laws passed by the Mississippi Legislature go into effect.

Here are some of the more important bills that were passed in the session that ended in April:

  • House Bill 812 will bring civil asset reform to the Magnolia State. Law enforcement agencies will have new reporting requirements every time they forfeit property and create a new forfeiture warrant system. The bill also would mandate the construction of a website — run by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics — detailing every forfeiture. The Legislature appropriated up to $500,000 for its construction and operation. It will also require law enforcement agencies to use either local district attorneys or the Bureau of Narcotics to handle all legal work on forfeitures.

  • H.B. 967 was signed by the governor into law. It will mandate licensure requirements for daily fantasy sports gaming operators by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The bill also would set requirements for daily fantasy sports gaming, including a minimum age for participation (18) and rules to prevent participation in the games by an operator’s employees. An operator license would cost $5,000 and last for three years before requiring renewal.

  • H.B. 1090, the “Restore HOPE” Act, would add verification requirements for recipients of Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and provide oversight for the tracking of the use of EBT (food stamp) and TANF cards.

  • H.B. 1322 will allow Mississippi craft brewers to sell their beer on premises.

  • H.B. 1425 would give the governor and other senior state officials more authority over occupational licensing boards. Its passage makes Mississippi the first state to become compliant with the U.S. Supreme Court 2015 ruling North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. In that case, the court ruled that state licensing boards can receive immunity only if they are actively supervised by the state.

According to data from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, 2,854 bills were introduced, but only 308 became law, a five-year low. That’s down from last year, when 376 bills became law out of 2,758 proposed by both chambers.

Of the proposed bills, 78 percent died without being considered. As for where bills met their demise, 44 percent of passed House bills died in the Senate, while 30 percent of Senate bills were voted down in the House.

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