This was the eleventh week of the 2019 Legislative Session. Because it is late in the session, much of the week was spent deciding whether to concur with any changes made to House bills by the Senate or to invite conference on those bills. In conference, representatives and senators work together to finalize the details of each bill before they are sent to the governor. Included in the bills being sent to conference are most of the revenue and appropriations bills from both the House and Senate, which will decide the state’s budget.
On Thursday, Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2116into law. “The Heartbeat Bill,” as some have called it, makes it illegal for someone to have an abortion after there is a detectable heartbeat in the womb. Usually this occurs at or around week six of a pregnancy. This law is now one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States.
How your legislators are paid?
There’s been some discussion this week on Facebook and other media platforms about how state legislators are paid. I know before I was elected it seemed to be a well kept secret just how much a state representative made. Now that I’ve been doing this for almost 4 years I think I understand some of the process.
First, the basic legislative pay is $10,000 for each legislative session. The amount doesn’t change for a normal 90 day or three month session or for the once per term 120 day or four month session. A legislator receives 1/3 of that pay in January, February, and April. Additional salary includes $1500/month for each month the legislature is not in session. So if you add all that together the basic salary of a Mississippi state legislator is, $22,000/year.
During the legislative session a state legislator is paid mileage for travel in their personal vehicle to and from the capital each week and a per diem to include lodging and food. The mileage varies for each legislator depending on where they live. I googled the route between my home and the state capital and submitted that as my mileage. These rates, mileage and per diem is set by the federal government and simply adopted by the state. The per diem rate is $94.00/night for lodging, $55.00/day for meals and mileage is paid at $.58/mile. In my case google shows the mileage from my home to the capital is 202 miles, so I am reimbursed for each week during the legislative session $234.32 for mileage and $149.00 each day for lodging and meals or a total of $979.32. If the legislature takes off a Friday, like we’ve done several weeks this year, a legislator does not get paid for that day.
When the legislature is not in session each legislator receives the $1500.00/month we’ve already discussed plus allowed a specified number of reimbursable days for travel to and from the capital. A committee chairman is allowed six day each month, and vice-chair can travel to the capital five days each month and a committee member is allowed four days each month. These days are often called “constituent days” by legislators but they are often used for meetings with a House attorney, out of session committee meetings, or sometimes just lunch with other legislators to discuss an issue.
This is why you may see a large discrpenecy in total pay among legislators. If a legislator is a chairman they may always use their full 6 days of travel to and from the capital, while others only use 4 days or even less. One note that many don’t know is that if a legislator travels from their home to any other place in the state they do not receive any reimbursement for that travel. A state legislator only receives reiembursement for travel to and from the state capitol.
Here is what the State of Mississippi paid me for the past three years. These numbers include all salary plus travel and per diem reimbursements.
2016 – $37,610.98
2017 – $34,429.37
2018 – $30,741.63
My Votes for Week of March 18
HB1009 Suffrage; restore to Catina Faulkner Taylor of Marshall County. Yea
HB1676 Suffrage; restore to Kathy Whitten Huling of Itawamba County. Yea
HB1692 Suffrage; restore to Anthony Leroy Wallace of Harrison County. Yea
HB1693 Suffrage; restore to Shannon B. Oatis of Harrison County. Yea
HB1713 Suffrage; restore to Dexter Lee Foster of Lee County. Yea
HB1722 Suffrage; restore to Jimmie Joseph Webb, Jr., of Harrison County Yea
HB1725 Suffrage; restore to Miko Butler of Pike County. Yea
HB1728 Suffrage; restore to Christopher Mathis of Tippah County. Yea
HB1729 Suffrage; restore to Billy Gene Barnes of Tippah County. Yea
HB1746 Suffrage; restore to Donna Kaye Taylor of Panola County. Yea
HB1747 Suffrage; restore to Phillip L. Sterling of Lincoln County.House Yea
HB1748 Suffrage; restore to Stanley Love of Tunica County. Yea
HB1749 Suffrage; restore to Dorothy Jones of Amite County. Yea
HB1751 Suffrage; restore to Charles Frank Holloway, Jr. of Copiah County. Yea
HB1752 Suffrage; restore to Patrick J. Fick. Yea
HB281 Suffrage; restore to Larry Braddock of Lowndes County. Yea
HB444 Windstorm Underwriting Association; authorize to levy recoupable and nonrecoupable assessments.House Conference Report Adopted Nay
HB602 Suffrage; restore to James Vaughn of Tunica County. Yea
HC96 Chief Lee Vance; commend dedicated and meritorious career upon his retirement. Yea
HC97 Mrs. Essie Mae Buckner; commend the life and legacy upon the passing of. Yea
HC98Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan; commend service upon her retirement as President of Tougaloo College. Yea
SB2988 City of Flowood; extend repeal date on hotel and motel tax that may be imposed for construction of a convention center. Nay
SB2994 Walnut Grove; authorize correctional facility to house prisoners who have been classified to any custody level. Yea
SB3074 City of Pascagoula; reenact the hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast tax, and extend the repeal date to July 1, 2023. Nay
SB3099 Coahoma County; authorize reserve and trust fund trustees to use certain amount to supplement county general fund. Nay
SB3100 Marshall County; authorize board of supervisors to contribute to Bishop Houck New Hope Village. Nay
SB3101 Marshall County; authorize board of supervisors to contribute to ARISE2Read literacy program. Nay
SC649 Recognize Mississippi Excellence in Education Awards recipients from George County. Yea
SC650 Commend Kossuth High School “Aggies” and “Lady Aggies” Bowling Teams for winning Class 1 State Bowling Championship. Yea
SC651 Commend law enforcement service of Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner on his retirement. Yea
SC653 Recognize civic contributions and journalism excellence of WTVA 9 Tupelo News Anchor Tanya Carter. Yea
SC654 Commend Kossuth FFA Senior Livestock Judging Team for winning State Championship and representing Mississippi in Nationals. Yea
SC655 Recognize outstanding academic and administrative career of former JSU Provost Dr. Mark G. Hardy, Sr. Yea
SC657 Commend Hartfield Academy “Hawks” Girls Volleyball Team for winning MAIS State Championship. Yea
SC658 Recognizing the lasting legacy of Senator Tommy Gollott who is the longest-serving state lawmaker in Mississippi history. Yea
SC659 Commend Tate Reeves for his service as President of the Mississippi Senate. Yea
SC660 Commend service of Governor Phil Bryant. Yea
SC661 Commend Barbara Westerfield on her retirement as Director of Student Records and Registrar at UMMC. Yea
SC662 Commend life of Dr. John Neihof, Jr., past President of Wesley Biblical Seminary.House Adopted Yea
HB1612 Special local improvement assessment districts; authorize municipalities to create.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Nay
HB1705 City of Jackson; authorize to create land banks to address blighted properties more efficiently within the city.House Passed As Amended Yea
HB1743 Lafayette County; authorize to create the Lafayette County Utility Authority. Yea
HB1745 City of Gulfport; authorize tax on hotels, motels and restaurants to promote tourism, parks and recreation.House Passed As Amended Nay
HC95 Dr. Beverly W. Hogan; commend for 17 years of service as president and congratulate upon her retirement. Yea
SC641 Commend public career of Central District Transportation Commissioner and former Mississippi Senator/Representative Dick Hall. Yea
SC642 Commend Pearl High School “Lady Pirates” Girls Basketball Team for winning the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship. Yea
SC643 Commend Olive Branch High School “Lady Quistors” Basketball Team for winning 5A State Championship. Yea
SC644 Commend Center Hill High School “Mustangs” Boy 3/21/2019 Yea
SC645 Commend Angela August for being awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Yea
SC646 Commend Raymond High School “Rangers” Boys Basketball Team for completing 3-peat winning Class 4A State Championship. Yea
SC647 Commend East Marion High School “Eagles” Boys Basketball Team for first-ever State Championship. Yea
SC648 Recognize legacy of award-winning Murrah “Lady Mustangs” Girls Basketball Coach Anna Jackson. Yea
HB940 Consigned motor fuels; provide crime for theft of.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Nay
HB1205 Public agency; prohibit from requesting or releasing certain personal information from an entity organized under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Yea
HB1283 The “Mississippi School Safety Act of 2019”; enact.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Nay
HB571 Commercial sexual exploitation of children; decriminalize for minors and improve response and support services of government agencies to.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Yea
HC80 Mississippi Links Day at the Capitol 2019; commemorate observance of.House Yea
HC83 Zella Delizabeth McNair Weathersby; commend her life upon her passing. Yea
HC84 Ms. Lucy Allen; commend for service to Mississippi Department of Archives and History upon her retirement. Yea
HC85 Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Month; declare the month of October 2019 as. Yea
SC619 Recognize Dr. Chris Duke of Ocean Springs as Mississippi’s “Veterinarian of the Year” for 2019. Yea
SC620 Commend Heritage Academy “Patriots” Boys Basketball Team for winning first State Championship. Yea
SC621 Commend Lamar School “Lady Raiders” Girls Basketball Team for winning first Overall MAIS Tournament Championship. Yea
SC622 Recognize Dr. Blake Thompson on the occasion of his inauguration as 20th President of Mississippi College. Yea
SC623 Commend Simpson County Academy “Lady Cougars” Girls Basketball Team for 2019 State 4A Division II Championship. Yea
SC624 Commend Simpson County Academy “Cougars” Boys Basketball Team for 2019 State 4A Division II Championship. Yea
HB1075 Felony abuse of a vulnerable person; expand crime to include the willful infliction of severe mental anguish.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Other
HB390 The MS Church Protection Act; clarify that “qualified retired law enforcement” are eligible for immunity as members of a church security program.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Other
HB628 Health insurance; revise mandatory policy provisions to penalize late payments of claims.House Concurred in Amend From Senate Other
If you have any questions, concerns, or request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org give me a call on my cell phone at (901) 275-4191.
It is an honor to serve you, and I humbly ask for your prayers as we seek to make decisions that help the people of our state.