By Rep. Joey Hood
Last week, House members raced against the clock to meet the Feb. 26 deadline for original floor action on Appropriation and Revenue bills originating in the House, and the Feb. 27 deadline of reconsideration on Appropriation and Revenue bills originating in the House. House members also began addressing Senate bills last week.
House Bill 1404 offers a sales tax exemption on the sale of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies during the Second Amendment Weekend holiday, beginning the first Friday in September. It passed by a vote of 86-27. I voted for the bill.
House Bill 1558 provides that a four-tenths of 1 cent per gallon gasoline tax shall continue to be collected after the Groundwater Protection Trust Fund reaches $10 million.
The new gasoline tax revenue collected would be deposited into the State Aid Road Fund and Local System Bridge Replacement Fund. Currently, once the Groundwater Protection Trust Fund reaches $10 million, the gasoline tax is not collected until the fund dips below $6 million.
H.B. 1558 passed by a vote of 90-31. I voted against the bill. Although additional revenue may be needed to improve our roads and bridges, I voted against this bill because increasing gas taxes at this time would place an undue burden on citizens. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider and died on the calendar.
Tax Credit for Injured Law Enforcement Officers
House Bill 1552 exempts law enforcement officers who are wounded or injured while performing their official duties from paying ad valorem tax on one motor vehicle owned by that officer. In order to qualify for the exemption, the officer must have received medical treatment for his or her injury. I voted for the bill.
Subcontractor Lien Rights
Senate Bill 2622 provides lien rights to subcontractors. The change comes as a result of the Fifth Circuit Court striking down the stop pay notice. The bill passed by a vote of 114-1. I voted for the bill.
Approximately 100 off-duty active Mississippi High Patrol troopers gathered at the Capitol Feb. 26 for MHP Trooper Day. They held a press conference urging legislators to support funding for a new trooper school. The last trooper school was funded in 2011. MHP is roughly 150 troopers short of its goal to have 600 troopers on the road. Another 130 troopers are eligible for retirement.
The Department of Public Safety estimates that a one-time cost of $6.9 million is needed to support the school, which would graduate around 60 new troopers, equip them and pay their salaries for the first six months. I will keep everybody updated on this issue as the session progresses.
I would like to thank the people of District 35 for allowing me the opportunity to serve. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. You can contact me at the Capitol at P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215 or call 601-359-3339. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.joeyhoodmississippi.com.