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Mississippi’s 2024 legislative session is over. Here’s what passed and what didn’t

Mississippi’s extended legislative session has officially come to an end.

Lawmakers on Saturday put the gavel to rest, ending more than four months’ worth of debating over prospective bills and approving a $7.9 billion budget to cover operations statewide.

While some hot-ticket items among voters – including Medicaid expansion, restoring Mississippi’s ballot initiative process, and legalizing mobile sports betting – did not come to fruition this year, the 2024 session was not without action.

In his first term as House Speaker, Republican Jason White made it his mission to do away with the oft-criticized Mississippi Adequate Education Program in favor of a new funding formula for public education. His persistence ultimately led a hesitant Senate to give in and pass the Mississippi Student Funding Formula. The new formula is expected to provide public schools with more money per pupil based on the number of students coming from low-income households, who have special needs, and other factors intended to up the funding for districts with the largest needs.

To complement the historic education funding formula, a pair of bills were passed that will impact classrooms statewide. Senate Bill 2339 allows sign language to count as a foreign language credit within the public school system. In addition, Senate Bill 2695 was sent to the governor to makes driver’s education courses mandatory in public high schools beginning in 2026.

The legislature also took a step in addressing what Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and others consider to be a $25 billion issue with the public employees’ retirement system (PERS). Gov. Tate Reeves has until May 8 to sign Senate Bill 3231 into law. The bill puts a halt to the pending 2% rate increase for PERS employers that was expected in July 2024. Lawmakers intend to adjust the process by which future employer rate increases can be made, allowing a 0.5% increase this summer and each year after through 2028.

Mississippi’s elected officials continued their pursuit to set a hard boundary between biological sex and gender identity. Though legislation that would establish the Securing Areas for Females Effectively and Responsibly (SAFER) Act did not meet a committee

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