New Mississippi Laws: Tax Cut, Teacher Pay Raise, State Song
Several new laws go into effect in Mississippi on Friday, which is also the first day of the state’s new fiscal year.
In the new budget year, teachers will receive average increases of about $5,100 and assistant teachers will receive $2,000. The average teacher salary in Mississippi in 2019-20 was $46,843, according to the Southern Regional Education Board. The national average was $64,133.
Mississippi will reduce its income tax over four years. From 2023, the 4% tax bracket will be abolished. The following three years, the 5% portion will be reduced to 4%. After the first year, the non-taxable income levels will be $18,300 for a single person and $36,600 for a married couple.
Mississippi is becoming the latest state to enact a law requiring equal pay for equal work between women and men. Critics said the new law is harmful because it will allow an employer to pay a woman less than a man based on the pay history workers bring into new jobs.
National and local election offices are prohibited from accepting donations from outside groups for election operations. Mississippi joins other Republican-led states in imposing a ban in response to donations Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made across the United States in 2020.
RURAL EMERGENCY ROOMS
The state Department of Health could issue up to five licenses for stand-alone emergency rooms in rural areas.
A new law designates “One Mississippi,” by singer-songwriter Steve Azar, as a new state song. It also creates a committee to recommend additional state songs from various genres. The state drops “Go, Mississippi”, which had been the state song since 1962. It uses the tune from “Roll With Ross”, the 1959 campaign jingle of segregationist Governor Ross Barnett.
NEW LAWS PASSED EARLIER THIS YEAR
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Feb. 2 to legalize medical marijuana for people with debilitating illnesses. It came into effect immediately, but the opening of the first clinics will take months. In November 2020, voters in Mississippi approved a medical marijuana initiative. The state Supreme Court overturned it six months later ruling that it was not properly on the ballot because the initiative process was outdated.
OPPONENTS TO ABORTION
The “Pregnancy Resources Act” allows individuals or companies to claim tax credits after donating to pregnancy centers in times of crisis. The centers try to dissuade women from having abortions and provide supplies such as diapers and baby clothes.
In March, Reeves signed a bill prohibiting schools, community colleges or universities from teaching that “any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.” It became law immediately. Several black lawmakers have said the limitations could stifle honest discussion about the harmful effects of racism.
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