2020 Mississippi Law Changes

Published on Dec 20, 2019 at 8:51 am in Legal Information.

Statue of justice holding scales and a sword

Every new year brings new state laws. If you’re planning to file a personal injury claim or you’ve already done so and your case is carrying over into 2020, law changes could impact your case. No matter what area of civil litigation your claim falls into, it’s important to understand the applicable state laws.

At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we stay up-to-date on all of Mississippi’s law changes to ensure our clients receive the best representation possible. This list is not comprehensive because law changes take place at different times throughout the year, but the following have been announced prior to the 2020 session. Let’s take a look at what the state will see in 2020.

Changes to the Mississippi Bar Exam Rules

According to the Mississippi Supreme Court, starting January 1, 2020, a person seeking to become a lawyer has to pass the bar exam with three attempts. If they fail to do so, they will have to go back to law school for at least 12 credit hours before they can retake the test. If they do go back for the additional course work, they are only permitted to take the exam one additional time. Failing will result in being disqualified from becoming a lawyer.

This law change came into effect after the annual passage rate of the Mississippi Bar exam dropped from 78% in 2014 to 48% in 2018. In 2019, ten of the 102 applicants who took the Bar exam in February had previously failed three or more times. For the entire year, only 48% of applicants passed—which is one of the lowest percentages in recent years.

Possible Medical Marijuana Amendment

A medical marijuana petition was signed in September 2019. The petition is being reviewed so it can be filed with the Legislature on the first day of the 2020 session in accordance with state law. This measure would provide a medical marijuana program under the direction of the Mississippi Department of Health.

State residents suffering from debilitating medical conditions could seek certification from a Mississippi-licensed physician to obtain medical marijuana. Debilitating medical conditions include cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cachexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more.

The measure states that no qualified patient could possess more than 2.5 ounces at any one time and could not receive more than that in a fourteen-day period. Additionally, no medical marijuana treatment center could be located within 500 feet of a school, church, or child-care establishment.

Banning County Redistricting Until 2020

After the 2020 census, Mississippi plans to draft and enact new district maps. Some counties, however, want to change lines sooner. In the past, there have been counties that have changed precinct lines prior to the release of the census. This throws off the state’s redistricting to federal officials. That is why the attorney for the state Joint Standing Reapportionment Committee has urged lawmakers to pass a bill preventing changes in boundary lines until January 1, 2021.

Redistricting is the process of drawing new state legislative and congressional district boundaries. The boundaries create districts from which the United States Representatives and state legislators are elected. The lines are redrawn every 10 years upon the completion of the census and federal law requires that all districts have nearly equal populations and cannot discriminate based on race or ethnicity.

If you have questions about our state’s laws or are curious as to how changes could impact a personal injury case, contact our office today. Our lawyers are here to answer legal questions and ensure Jackson’s residents receive justice when they’ve been wrongfully injured.

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