Tax exemption helps state farmers

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This past week we agreed with House Bill 1566 that will allow processed food products grown by Mississippi farmers to be sold without tax from any farmers markets that have been certified by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.

Currently, most agriculture products exempt from tax must be sold in their original condition. The exceptions allowed under this bill should allow growers to expand their markets by entering the prepared foods arena, possibly creating larger business opportunities.

We got House approval on Senate Bill 2651 that will limit the information printed on credit and debit card receipts as a means of decreasing the chances of fraud.

We secured House approval of Senate Bill 2642, the Armed Forces Absentee Voting Law to make our law comply with federal statutes.

The Senate amended House Bill 1715 that authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health each to borrow up to $80 million, which cities and counties could in turn borrow from to finance certain water and sewer related projects at a reduced interest rate.

Senate conferees are currently engaged in discussions with members of the House to try and craft a fiscal year 2011 budget.

We will go to conference with the House and negotiate the Senate’s position on the following bills.

– Senate Bill 2293 that promotes creation of open enrollment public charter schools, an alternative education choice that more closely involves parents in the process and sets higher learning standards for students.

– Senate Bill 2923 that seeks to classify domestic violence as assault and provide a mandatory 24-hour cooling off period in which the aggressor would have to stay away from the victim.

– Senate Bill 2989 that would allow certain school boards to turn over to worthy non-profit agencies buildings that are no longer needed or being used.

– House Bill 1716 that would provide a $4 per acre tax credit to landowners willing to convert or dedicate portions of land for use as a natural area preserve, a wildlife refuge or habitat area, a wildlife management area or for the purpose of providing public outdoor recreational opportunities.

– Senate Bill 2393 that will allow asthmatic children to administer their own medications at school, should they need it.

If you have any interest in either of the above bills, please contact me at 601-359-3244 or e-mail me at bdearing@senate.ms.gov.

Sen. Bob Dearing represents Adams County in the Mississippi Senate.