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The third week of the 2022 Legislative session is now behind us, and I am very pleased with the passage of a bill by a large margin on Thursday. We finally may be joining the other 49 states in making sure that women are paid equally for equal work. As difficult as it may be to contemplate, there has been nothing in Mississippi law that prohibited employers from discriminating against women who were working the same jobs as their male co-workers.
In today’s world, where females constitute the majority of our population, where a high percentage of them are either the sole breadwinner or the higher breadwinner for their families, it is past time for us to insist that their work be equally rewarded. And I say that as the husband of a wife who has excelled in her professional endeavors throughout our marriage.
I serve as vice-chair of the Judiciary A Committee which approved House Bill 770, or the “Mississippi Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.” The measure would require employers to pay employees the same amount for the same work done, regardless of sex. Equal pay is currently protected under federal law, but HB 770 would allow someone to file a suit in state court instead of going through the federal court in case of discrimination. The bill passed overwhelmingly by 114-6 in a bipartisan vote and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Senate Bill 2095, or the “Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act,” was introduced to the House on Wednesday. The bill is a follow-up to Initiative 65, which was passed by over 70 percent of Mississippi voters in November 2020 but was struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court over a technicality in the ballot initiative process. SB 2095 outlines a medical marijuana program that will treat conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, glaucoma and seizures, to name a few. After a committee amendment was adopted by the House, the program will be overseen by the Department of Health, and eligible patients with a registry ID card will be able to purchase no more than six MCEUs (Medical Cannabis Equivalency Units) per week and no more than 28 MCEUs per month. The final bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 105-14, and the bill has been returned to the Senate. I, along with a majority of my colleagues hope that this Act will help alleviate the pain experienced by so many of our fellow Mississippians. It is a worthy effort, in my opinion.
After Tuesday, Feb. 1, no additional general bills will be added to the House calendar for consideration, and members will meet in session for longer periods to discuss the bills that have made it out of committees.
If I can be of assistance to you, please contact me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My residential address is 1720 North Main Street, Water Valley, MS 38965, and my office address is P.O. Box 280, Charleston, MS 38921. My office phone number is 662-647-3203.