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Session Update: Week 10

We have just completed WEEK 10 of the Mississippi Legislative Session and it has been a roller coaster. There is a Ways and Means Committee meeting on Monday, March 12th where we are anticipating the committee vote on Senate Bill 3048. Many thanks to those of you that have made calls to the Speaker’s office asking for SB 3048 to be heard. While this seems to be working, we cannot let up on this pressure, yet!

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Key Dates

***MAJOR DEADLINE*** Tuesday, March 13 - Deadline for ORIGINAL FLOOR ACTION on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OTHER House.

Campaign Updates

State Legislative Campaigns

TOBACCO TAX -

Increase the state cigarette tax by $1.50 with Other Tobacco Products (OTP) parity by 2020. The state’s cigarette tax is currently at 68 cents – ranked 39th.

Senate Bill 3048 – tobacco equity tax

  • SPONSOR: Senator Joey Fillingane
  • CO-SPONORS: Senators Kevin Blackwell, Albert Butler, Bob Dearing, Hillman, Frazier, Robert Jackson, David Jordan, Willie Simmons, Tammy Witherspoon

Bill Progress:

  • Assigned to Senate Finance: passed out of Senate Finance on Tuesday, February 20th
  • Voted on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, February 21 VOTE: 46-4 (2 members were absent)
  • Assigned to House Ways and Means: Tuesday, March 6th

UPDATE: This was a roller coaster week! Senate Bill 3048 has been on life support. However, after applying pressure to the Speaker’s office with phone calls and emails, it looks like the bill will be heard in the Ways and Means committee meeting on Monday, March 12th. We will have a tight turn around after the bill leaves committee and will have to have a ‘yes’ vote by 3/5 of the House to allow the bill to move forward through the process. Please be on the lookout for an alert to drive either calls or emails to your State Representative.
While this is not one of the bills that we have been tracking, it does have the code sections in it that will allow this issue to move forward in the process! Also, it does not have specific amounts attached to it, but it can still happen. It has a “reverse repealer” which forces the bill into conference. This is where the amount will likely be worked out.

We still have a LONG WAY TO GO! The challenge is now in the House. We do not have champions like Senator Wiggins and Senator Simmons to help us provide the momentum that
we need.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT FUNDING:

House Bill 1599 -

Of the funds appropriated in Section 2, twenty million dollars ($20,000,000.00) shall be derived from the Tobacco Control Program Fund, created in Section 41-113-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, and shall be allocated as follows:

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute: $4,250,000.00
  • Department of Education - Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell – Mary Sprayberry Public School Nurse Program: $3,060,000.00
  • Attorney General's Office - Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit: $680,000.00
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center – A Comprehensive Tobacco Center: $595,000.00
  • Mississippi Health Care Alliance - ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction Program (STEMI): $382,500.00
  • SKOOL ADS Program: $255,000.00 
  • Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program: $3,400,000.00
  • Mississippi Health Care Alliance for the Stroke System of Care Plan: $212,500.00
  • Mississippi Health Department Programs: $7,165,000.00

Bill Progress:

  • Passed the House Appropriations Committee on February 13th
  • Passed the House Floor on February 14th with a vote of 112-0
  • Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee on February 15th
  • Passed Senate Appropriations Committee on March 7th
  • Passed the Senate Floor on March 8th with one amendment with a vote of 50 - 0

State Regulatory Campaigns

STEMI Facility Designation:

Enact statewide standards for the formal recognition of STEMI facility designations and the development and implementation of transport protocols for STEMI
patients in accordance with AHA criteria.

STEMI Registries:

Enact statewide standards for the development and utilization of STEMI registries in accordance with AHA criteria for support. We are working closely with the Mississippi State Department of Health, STEMI Advisory Council and the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance on developing these standards. We are expecting a vote by the Mississippi State Board of Health on most of the guideline at the April Board Meeting.

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