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February 5th Legislative Roundup

By Associated Press | Published 05 Feb 2013 12:39pm | comments

Bill limits state takeovers of schools to 3 years

JACKSON, Miss.- State education officials could only take over a school district for three years under a bill moving forward in the Senate.
 
The Senate Education Committee approved Senate Bill 2124, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Steve Hale of Senatobia.
 
Hale says that it should be clearer what has to be done for a district to return to local control when the state takes over a school district.
 
He cited the Tate County district, which the state has been running for four years. The state currently controls seven other districts.
 
Hale's measure says a takeover couldn't last longer than three years, unless the governor grants an extension. It also says the state Board of Education must name specific exit criteria when a takeover starts.
 
   The bill goes to the Senate for more debate.
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Lawmakers call for all school boards to be elected
 
JACKSON, Miss.- Some lawmakers want voters to elect all school board members in Mississippi.
 
The Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 2141 on a split voice vote Tuesday.
 
Sponsored by Sen. Tony Smith, a Picayune Republican, the measure mandates all board members run for four-year terms beginning at the 2016 presidential election. School districts would be cut into five equal zones and candidates would run in nonpartisan races.
 
County school boards are elected, but city school boards are appointed or a mix of elected and appointed positions.
 
Smith says he wants voters to be able to change boards they don't like.
 
Sen. David Jordan, a Greenwood Democrat, amended the bill to require school board members complete at least one year of college.
 
 Lawmakers are also pushing for all superintendents to be appointed.
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Electronic tracking bill clears Senate panel
 
JACKSON, Miss. - Offenders who violate Mississippi's sex crime registration law could be subject to electronic monitoring under a bill headed to the state Senate.
 
The Senate Judiciary A Committee on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 2732. Sen. Will Longwitz, R-Madison, says the bill does not apply to all sex offenders. He says it is limited to those who fail to register as required or fail to notify authorities when they move.
 
Violations of the sex offender registry law carry a penalty of five years in prison. Longwitz says if an offender is released before serving the entire five years, they would be electronically monitored for the remainder of the time.
 
Longwitz says the Mississippi Department of Corrections would oversee the electronic monitoring system. The offenders would pay for it.
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