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Mississippi lawmakers this year enacted three measures that could affect employers and employment.
Texting while driving. Effective July 1, 2015, Mississippi drivers may not use cell phones for text messaging, or accessing social network sites, while driving. Until that date, state law bars only texting by drivers with temporary or learners permits.
House Bill 389, signed March 13, bars any operator of a moving vehicle from writing, sending, or reading a text message and from accessing, reading, or posting to a social networking site while using a hand-held mobile phone and driving the vehicle.
The new law does not affect the making or receiving of cell phone calls while driving. It also provides an exception for drivers who are sending or receiving emergency, traffic or weather alerts.
Violations are punishable by civil penalties of $25.00 until July 1, 2016. After that date, the fine increases to $100.
Tax relief for employers who hire veterans. House Bill 33, signed on April 20, 2015, and effective Jan. 1, 2016, provides tax credits to employers who hire honorably discharged military veterans who have served on active duty on or after 9/11 and who have been unemployed for at least six months.
“We owe the men and women who defend our freedom a debt of gratitude,” said Gov. Phil Bryant on signing the bill. “Veterans make excellent employees and bring a unique skill set to the table. This bill will serve those who have served us by helping connect more of these men and women with job opportunities.”
The bill provides a five-year tax credit of either 10 percent of the hired veteran’s salary or $2,000, whichever is lesser. It applies to military veterans who have served on active duty on or after 9/11 and who have been unemployed for at least six months, including Guard and Reserve who have served on active duty during the current war.
Concealed guns. Senate Bill 2394, effective July 1, 2015, allows Mississippians to carry firearms in purses, briefcases, or other fully-enclosed satchels without a state-issued license.
“The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to America and to Mississippi,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “I have always been a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and I am proud to sign these bills into law. I thank the National Rifle Association for their support of these measures….”
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.
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