Mississippi lawmakers debate Medicaid, initiatives, and elections

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators had a light workload the first two weeks of their three-month session.

But they are about to get busy debating proposals on health care, voting rights and other issues.

Monday was the deadline to file general bills. Committees face a Jan. 31 deadline.

Bills that survive will face a Feb. 9 deadline for consideration in the full House or Senate.

Then the two chambers will exchange bills for more work.

Among the bills filed are those to help financially struggling hospitals, expand Medicaid, allow early voting and penalize parents who allow children to have gender reassignment procedures.

Here’s a look at some of the general bills:

HOSPITALS — Multiple bills seek to help financially struggling hospitals by creating grant programs or tax credits.

MEDICAID — Multiple bills seek expansion of Medicaid to people who work low-wage jobs that don’t provide private health insurance. A 2010 federal health care law allowed expansion, and Mississippi is among 11 states that have not taken the option. Other bills — including House Bill 426, which has bipartisan support — would allow extension of Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year after a woman has given birth.

EARLY VOTING — Multiple bills would allow people to cast ballots before Election Day. Mississippi currently allows early voting for people who will be out of town on Election Day and for those who have a disability or are 65 or older.

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