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New laws enacted on July 1 that Mississippians should know about

July is here, which means a long list of bills are going into law – with or without the signature of Gov. Tate Reeves. After four months of lawmaking at the state capitol in Jackson, with sine die officially taking place on May 14, over 170 bills made it through the gauntlet that is the legislative process. Below is a summary of some of the top pieces of legislation enacted as of Monday.

K-12 funding formula

Arguably the biggest topic lawmakers addressed during this year’s session was how to fund Mississippi’s public schools moving forward. Republican House Speaker Jason White led the charge on replacing what he referred to as the “outdated” Mississippi Adequate Education Program and instead convinced his peers to implement the new Mississippi Student Funding Formula. The “updated” formula is intended to maintain objectivity while giving districts the chance to address specific needs, such as special education or number of students from low-income households, through a per-pupil module. It is estimated to deliver an extra $250 million to K-12 public schools.

Automatic Medicaid for pregnant women

While conversations regarding full Medicaid expansion died at the end of the session, lawmakers did pass some other health-related bills. One of which was House Bill 539, allowing earlier Medicaid coverage for pregnant women in an effort to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in the state with the worst infant mortality. The new law provides presumptive eligibility for pregnant women, meaning Medicaid will pay for outpatient medical care for up to 60 days while applications are being processed and considered. This tails a bill passed in 2023 that extended postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to a full year.

Prior authorization

Another health-related piece of legislation was Senate Bill 2140, which forces insurance companies to answer quicker on whether they will cover a prescribed procedure, service, or medication. For emergent requests, providers will have 48 hours to decide, and for non-emergent requests, seven working days to decide. Reeves did not sign this legislation but allowed it to become law after arguing that it would up premiums for state employees.

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