by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
Mississippi legislators ended their 2021 session Thursday, adjourning days after approving a state budget and passing dozens of bills.
The budget is for the year that begins July 1, and it includes increased spending for education. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves last week signed a bill that authorizes a pay raise of $1,000 for most teachers and $1,100 for teachers in the early years of their career.
During three months at the Capitol, legislators argued over some big issues that ended up going nowhere.
House Speaker Philip Gunn and his allies pushed to overhaul the state tax structure. They proposed phasing out the income tax, phasing out half of the 7% grocery tax, increasing the sales tax on most items from 7% to 9.5% and increasing several other taxes. The House passed the tax plan a day after it was introduced. But Senate leaders blocked the plan, saying they want time to study tax rates after the session.
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and his allies pushed a bill that would have allowed a faster purge of names from voter rolls. The bill said local election commissioners would send a postcard to registered voters who do not cast a ballot in any local, state or federal election during a two-year period that includes two federal elections — a presidential election and a midterm congressional election.
If voters fail to confirm their address within four years of receiving the postcard, or if they fail to vote during that time, the county would remove their name from the rolls.
The bill never came up for a vote in the House, and it died.