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Report To The People

‘Noah’s Law’ Working It’s Way Through Legislature 

By Tommy Reynolds 

This week saw heavy committee activity as we worked to make sure that important bills made it to the floor of the House for action.

One of the bills that passed our Judiciary A Committee is House Bill 507, “Noah’s Law,” that prohibits sale of caffeine pills and other similar products to minors. As you may remember, this bill is named after Noah Smith, a 17 year-old young man from Water Valley who tragically suffered cardiac arrest after taking caffeine pills. His family and friends petitioned for this measure soon after his death, and I was proud to sponsor it. Noah’s mother, Jennifer Westmoreland and his father, Corey Smith, were with us at the Capitol on the day it was considered in committee where it passed overwhelmingly. At this writing, HB 507 is on the House calendar for consideration. I am hopeful that it will be passed by the full House this week and sent to the Senate.

I serve on the Ways and Means Committee and supported the following measure, which we passed last week:

House Bill 550 revises the Mississippi Pawnshop Act in two ways. First, the measure says that an individual wishing to purchase or sell a product must be at least 21 years-old. Secondly, it mandates that owners report transactions using an online system. This is an effort to further aid in the protection of individuals whose possessions are in pawn shops, and provide pawn shop owners with protections, as well.

Additionally, several measures which I support passed the House and have been transmitted to the Senate.

House Bill 583 exempts hospitals from the certificate of need (CON) process for repair or rebuilding when they have been significantly damaged by a natural disaster and damages exceed one million dollars. We are all aware of the devastation suffered by Winston Medical Center after last year’s tornado. The bill passed unanimously.

We are determined that our public retirement system operations will be transparent. In any other investment situation, investors are well informed of their funds’ activities, or should be. The committee passed House Bill 871 to require certain public retirement systems to disclose information to the participants in the program and any members of the public that request information. The bill requires: notification of changes made to the plan to the plan participants, a description of the plan to employees and any member of the public, and an annual report of the plan to plan participants and any member of the public. The bill passed unanimously.

House Bill 885 directs insurance companies to pay for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of children, ages 2-8, with autism spectrum disorder. A total of 38 states and the District of Columbia have similar legislation. The original bill allowed this coverage for dependent children up to age 21; however, it was amended in committee. I am very grateful that this effort is working its way through the Legislature during this session. With so many children being diagnosed with having an autism spectrum disorder, we should be doing everything possible to help these individuals achieve success to the highest level possible for them.


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