Mississippi Legislature Roundup: Drug policy, Law Enforcement bills introduced

Published 10:45 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

Legislators introduced 40 new house bills in Mississippi’s third day of the state legislative session in 2023 Thursday.

Drug policy continues to be an issue being addressed by legislation.

House Bill 231 would add fentanyl and drug abuse prevention education to Mississippi’s tobacco education, cessation and prevention program. It would also include vaporizing devices in the definitions of smoking or smoke. Additionally, House Bill 233 would require the Mississippi Department of Health to provide people with free testing strips for detecting the presence of controlled substances. Both measures were referred to the Drug Policy Committee.

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Bullet proof bill

Law Enforcement could get help paying for bulletproof vests under House Bill 247. It would create a revolving fund for a program administered by the Department of Public Safety. The act would help local law enforcement agencies to apply for money needed to purchase bulletproof vests and provide reimbursement up to 50 percent of costs.

HB 247 states the purpose of the fund is to purchase replacement bulletproof vests older than five years, purchase a vest for someone who has not been issued one before. These vests must have Armor Protection rated at a Level II or higher.

Brookhaven Police Department would be eligible to apply for the funds in fiscal year 2024 and every third year after according to the bill as would other police departments which serve a population less than 15,000. This fund would be on a first come first serve basis as funds would be limited to $250,000 annually. HB 247 was referred to the Judiciary B and Appropriations committee.