New legal guidelines have an effect on alcohol, elections, and autopsies

JACKSON, miss. (AP) – Several new laws go into effect July 1 in Mississippi, including one that allows home delivery of liquor, wine, or beer from local stores.

The supplies are approved by House Bill 1135. Buyers must prove that they are at least 21 years old, deliverers must be at least that old and deliveries cannot be made to people who “appear intoxicated”. The new law states that deliveries can only be made within 30 miles of the store where the alcohol is sold, and they cannot be made in arid cities or counties.

Some other new laws signed by Republican Governor Tate Reeves:

ELECTIONS – In Mississippi, people must decide months in advance whether to run for a long list of offices, including governor, senator, state representative, sheriff, district overseer, tax collector, or judge of the state’s Supreme Court. The qualification deadline was March 1st. A new law postpones it to February 1st. The change is in House Bill 1048. The earlier deadline is particularly important in the State House and Senate races. The legislature meets from January to March. Some incumbents will go to extremes to avoid attracting an opponent in the final weeks leading up to the candidates’ qualifying deadline, either by being extra careful so that they don’t attract attention or by being extra conspicuous so that they do.

OPEN MEETINGS – Mississippi adds to the list of reasons elected officials can go to closed meetings to discuss public matters. House Bill 1323 allows board meetings to discuss plans to combat trafficking in human beings or the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The existing list of acceptable grounds for board meetings includes discussions of personnel matters, land purchases, or lawsuits.

AUTOPSY RECORDS – A new law restricts access to photos, videos, and audio recordings made during an autopsy or by a coroner at a crime scene. House Bill 70 states that a surviving relative such as a spouse, parent, or adult child may have access to the records, but others may not see, hear or copy the records without the direct supervision of the recorder or his agent.

DENTAL CHARITY – Dentists will be immune to charity lawsuits under House Bill 72. They will join doctors, medical assistants and certified nurses who have already been shielded from civil liability in such circumstances.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES – Individuals moving to Mississippi from other states may retain their professional licenses. House Bill 1263 requires licensing authorities to issue professional licenses for occupations without new exams or classroom training if an individual has had a valid license from another state for at least a year. This includes nurses, architects, engineers, and others. Licensing authorities must also issue licenses if individuals have worked for at least three years in a state that did not require licensing for their occupations.

TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION – A new law states that photo identification from any federally recognized Indian tribe is an acceptable form of identification for financial transactions or other business transactions. For example, it can be used to prove a person’s residence, to obtain a fishing license, or to prove that a person is old enough to buy a lottery ticket. The details are in House Bill 277.

SPECIALTY LABELS – Mississippi residents like to complain about the high price of auto brands, but many are willing to spend extra cash on a brand that will mark their favorite school, job, job, or hobby. New specialty labels legislature approved this year include those for Indianola Academy, Humphreys County High School, South Pike School District, and the Picayune Maroon Tide Touchdown Club. The new list in House Bill 374 also includes tags for Shriners, retired judges, and veterans of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.


Emily Wagster Pettus has been reporting on the Mississippi government and politics since 1994. Follow her on Twitter: