How people might vote in the November General Election if they want to avoid the polling places because of fear of the coronavirus is being considered by the Mississippi Legislature.

House Bill 1521 passed through the House of Representatives. It was changed when it reached the Elections Committee in the Senate which is chaired by Sen. Jenifer Branning of Neshoba County. House Bill 1521 will go to conference and must be passed through both the House and the Senate again before it can be sent to the governor.

“If we are still under a state of emergency in November (because of COVID-19), we want to make sure there will be safe options for voting,” said Sen. Branning. “But not to the extent that the integrity of the ballot is compromised.”

The Senate version of the bill will allow anyone with a concern about COVID-19 to vote in person in the Circuit Clerk’s Office prior to the election.

“We think it is a very good option for people,” Branning said. “They are voting absentee in person. Now it has to go to conference. That’s the main issue I have been working on.”

Branning said her attention has also been on various Appropriation bills that are coming together,

“On the appropriation side, we are working on the CARES Act money to see where it would be best spent,” Branning said. “There is a lot of work is going to be going on in the next week to 10 days.”

Closer to home, Branning said a bond issue which would in part raise money for Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music to be built in Philadelphia, is still alive.

“Rep. Scott Bounds and I have been closely following this,” Branning said. “We probably won’t know anything until the end of next week but right now, it’s still alive.”

Branning is also working on a issue that was brought to her by Sheriff Eric Clark.

“If a law enforcement officer is working full-time, they can also work part-time for another department,” Branning said. “But the threshold has been set by law where they can only earn $275 a week working part-time.

“Sheriff Clark brought this to me to see if it can be increased to $450 a week. A lot of law enforcement officers work part-time jobs to make ends meet and $275 is not a lot. We are trying to get that increased,” Branning said.