PINE BELT (WDAM) - Many topics are developing in the legislature this legislative session that could impact residents in the Pine Belt.
Jessica Bowman spoke with Senator Joey Fillingane, of District 41, about what’s being laid out on the table, currently and weeks to come inside the Mississippi State Capitol.
State senators are actively debating bills on the senate floor. Most recently, there have been two big topics to keep an eye on. The Youth Court Act and the Guard and Protect Vulnerable Children and Adults Act.
“To try and revise some of the provisions of the youth court level and for vulnerable children and vulnerable adults to make sure when they become incapacitated, maybe through alzheimer’s or dementia or something like that, we have laws in place to make sure their assets are protected,” Fillingane said.
Fillingane, who represents Covington, Forrest, Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Smith counties, said another big play coming forward is the controversial Fetal Heartbeat Bill, which will likely be taken up Wednesday.
“I’ll be handling that bill on the senate floor," Fillingane said. "That basically says that the stage in a pregnancy where a fetal heartbeat is detected there cannot be an abortion at that point and after that, unless it’s for the safety and protection of the mother’s life.”
Right now, this is a highly controversial topic across the nation.
“New York has very recently signed into law a basically abortion on demand type situation where up until the actual birth of a child, the State of New York is now opening up the law to allow abortion up into any stage of the pregnancy,” Fillingane said.
Fillingane said as always, this topic will open a path of much discussion and probing questions on the senate floor.
“I don’t think that’s where Mississippians are," Fillingane said. "I think by and large, we value the sanctity of human life in the State of Mississippi. I think the Fetal Heartbeat Bill will be a response to what’s been going on in other parts of the country.”
The session is nearly at its halfway mark. Moving forward, you will begin to see bills dealing with an increase in teacher pay across the board and talk of state employee pay raises. Fillingane said later in the session, topics will be brought up through the finance committee dealing with bond bills that would help fund projects at university campuses across the state.
“A lot of action will start happening in the budgetary side of things during the second half of the session,” Fillingane said.
Fillingane said the Senate passed the Mississippi Foster Care Fund Bill on Tuesday, which allows for monies to be placed in position for funding of private or public services to get foster children reunited with their families or in permanent homes.