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6.28.23 – (WJTV) -JACKSON, Miss.

New Mississippi laws will go into effect on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

The new laws will include an increase support for mothers of newborns, tighter restrictions on voting, a designation for a state fruit and set punishments for stealing pecans.

One of the Mississippi laws that is set to take effect Saturday is being challenged in federal court. It would expand the role of the state-run Capitol Police department and creating a new court with appointed judges.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and those who supported House Bill 1020 said they are trying to improve public safety. Opponents said Reeves and the majority-white and Republican-controlled Legislature are trying to take local control from Jackson, which is majority-Black and governed by Democrats.Is the Confederate flag still an issue in Mississippi elections? Chris McDaniel campaign tries to revive it

Here are some of the other laws that are expected to go into effect this weekend:

Senate Bill 2346

  • On July 1, web providers must implement “reasonable age verification methods” for accessing “material harmful to minors.” This bill prevents those under 18 in Mississippi from viewing sexually explicit content. As a general rule, these barriers must be implemented if a third of a website’s content contains “material harmful to minors,” as defined by the bill.

Senate Bill 2073 

  • Those who are 18 can now independently submit loan applications and enter into legally binding contracts involving real property before the 4th of July celebrations. In other words, you can pay off a mortgage or lease property as young as 18 years old, according to the bill

House Bill 1276

  • The bill relates to election runoffs for statewide offices. If no one receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates who received the most votes will have a runoff election three weeks later. 

Senate Bill 2212

  • The bill extends postpartum coverage under Medicaid to 12 months. Despite initial opposition within state government to enact this measure, coverage for qualifying mothers will soon extend six-fold from two to 12 months starting on July 1.

House Bill 401

  • The law passed in March restricts electric car manufacturers from selling vehicles in person unless they open franchised dealerships. The state’s only Tesla store in Brandon will still be able to remain open on July 1, but Tesla and other electric car companies wanting to build stores will have to enter into a franchise agreement. 

House Bill 1027

  • House Bill 1027 selects the blueberry to represent the Magnolia state. The bill establishes Vaccinium corymbosum as the state fruit of Mississippi. Senate Bill 2138, which designated the Mississippi Opal as the state gemstone, became law in March.

Senate Bill 2652

  • This bill requires the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to create a vulnerable person abuse registry. The bill empowers agencies and members of the public to vet out caretakers who have abused the elderly or other vulnerable persons in the past. 

Voting in Mississippi: Three steps to cast your ballot

House Bill 1170

  • The bill allows the Mississippi Department of Revenue to issue electronic liens and titles for mobile homes and cars. So the next time you buy or pay off your vehicle, you’ll have one less paper document to keep up with.

House Bill 772

  • In the wake of a fentanyl crisis sweeping the nation, this bill legalizes fentanyl testing strips and devices. Mississippi law previously classified such testing supplies as drug paraphernalia, which is illegal. 

Senate Bill 2358

  • Also relevant this election year is Senate Bill 2358, which makes ballot harvesting illegal. The law has exceptions for election officials, postal service workers, family members, caregivers, etc. Despite that, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit, alleging that it negatively hurt disabled Mississippian’s ability to vote. 

Senate Bill 2079

  • Senate Bill 2079 allows Mississippi schools to establish and train employees under a school safety guardian program. After proper training and vetting of candidates, the school safety guardian(s) would possess a firearm on campus in the event of an active shooter situation on or near the campus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.