New state laws on school funding, inheritance and alcohol go into effect today

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is enacting several new laws, including one that says sign language courses may replace foreign language courses for students to earn credit toward high school graduation.

A look at some of the other new laws taking effect on July 1:

Medicaid during pregnancy

Mississippi will allow earlier Medicaid coverage during pregnancy to try to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in a poor state with the worst rate of infant mortality in the U.S. The “presumptive eligibility” law says Medicaid will pay for a pregnant woman’s outpatient medical care up to 60 days while her application for the government-funded insurance program is being considered. Processing Medicaid applications can take weeks, and health professionals say early prenatal care is vital.

School funding

A new law changes the way Mississippi pays for public schools. The Mississippi Student Funding Formula replaces the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which has been fully funded for only two years since it was enacted in 1997. The new formula is designed to give districts a boost for students who can be more expensive to educate. For example, extra money would be calculated for students who live in poverty, those with special needs, those in gifted programs, those with dyslexia or those who are learning English as a second language.

Inheritance rights

A child born from a pregnancy that begins after a parent’s death will have inheritance rights, even if the embryo is not yet implanted when the parent dies. The new law says there must be clear indication that a parent intended to use his or her genetic material for “assisted reproductive technology” such as in vitro fertilization, that implantation of the embryo must happen no more than three years after the parent’s death, and the child must live at least five days after birth.

Alcohol

A new law allows any town or city, regardless of its size, to hold an election on whether to allow the sale of alcohol, even if that municipality is in a dry county. The previous law had population thresholds of at least 5,000 for any municipality that is entirely within one county or 6,000 for any municipality in two different counties.

Elections

Mississippi is mostly banning ranked-choice voting in statewide, county, city and school district elections, but the method will remain available for military members and U.S. citizens overseas who use absentee ballots to vote in Mississippi elections. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. Even if a voter’s top choice doesn’t win, the ranking of other candidates helps determine the winner. Two states use ranked-choice voting: Maine for state primaries and for federal elections, and Alaska for state and federal general elections. Some cities also use it, including New York, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

Shoplifting

Mississippi is expanding its law against shoplifting to specify that aiding, abetting or encouraging people to steal at least $1,000 worth of goods is a felony. The punishments are the same as for the previously existing punishments for grand larceny: up to five years for stolen items totaling $1,000 to $5,000; up to 10 years for items totaling $5,000 to $25,000; up to 20 years for items totaling more than $25,000.

Other laws

— A law that took effect when Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed it in May regulates transgender people’s use of bathrooms, locker rooms and dormitories in public education buildings. Mississippi became at least the 12th state to restrict transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity. The law requires all public education institutions to equip their buildings with single-sex bathrooms, changing areas and dormitories, as well as at least one gender-neutral bathroom and changing room.

— If no candidate wins a majority in a primary or general election for a federal, state or local office, a runoff between the top two candidates will take place four weeks later. Current law sets the runoff three weeks later. This law will take effect Jan. 1.

1 comment
  1. Porsche
    Porsche
    July 1, 2024 at 5:48 PM

    So transgender people use women rest room now.. I really want to know.. new law for is shoplifting 6 months probation of over 1500

    Reply

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