Legislation Authored by Brice and Signed into Law:
- (SB2395) Early Learning Collaborative Act. This established Mississippi’s first every early education program. Praised by corporate leaders, educators, law enforcement and clergy. Download PDF.
- (SB2377) Created second degree murder statute. Hailed by victims, prosecutors and attorneys for its necessity. Download PDF.
- (HB1259) Lonnie Smith Act. Authored Senate version which strengthened the criminal laws prohibiting child abuse. Download PDF.
- (HB2781) Created section to limit liability of pilots of offshore vessels.
- (HB585) Criminal Justice Reform Act. This clarified and strengthened laws against violent offenders while at the same time modernizing Mississippi Criminal Justice laws. It is projected to save Mississippians $210 million in correction costs. Download PDF.
- (SB2430) Katie’s Law. Requires collection of DNA from defendants upon arrest on violent offense(s). Partnered with the national organization DNA Saves. Praised by prosecutors and victims’ advocates. Download PDF.
- (SB2579) Department of Marine Resources Accountability and Transparency Cat. Passed in the wake of indictments of the agency’s top officials creating annual audits of the agency among other reforms. Download PDF.
- (SB2407) Open Meetings and Open Records Act for Community Hospitals. Passed in the wake of the pension crisis at Singing River Hospital and other community hospital issues. Download PDF.
- (SB2117) Strengthened fondling of a child statute preventing sex offenders from exploiting loophole. Download PDF.
- (SB2051) Authorization bond proceeds for Ingalls Shipbuilding. Download PDF.
- (SB2081) Open Meetings Act; technical correction. Download PDF.
- (SB2364) Juvenile Detention Facilities Licensing Act; create. Download PDF.
- (SB2533) MS Open Records Act; revise time period for release of records containing trade secrets or confidential information. Download PDF.
We were successful in lobbying for and passing several important bills this legislative session. They ranged from the important reauthorization of Medicaid program to the allocation of $45 million in bonds for Ingalls Shipbuilding.
I am especially proud of the following:
- My work as Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman to improve access to services by removing restrictions on doctor visits and prescriptions, provide funding for rural hospitals, and allow new tools to fight our growing opioid crisis.
- The $2.5 million additional allocation to our state’s Early Learning Collaboratives (ELCs), tieing the importance of early education as our best weapon against fighting growing gang activity.
Specific Bills Passed Also Included:
- (SB 2836) Reauthorization of the Mississippi Medicaid program; revise and improve services, provider reimbursement rates and extend repealer. Download PDF.
- (SB 2463) Establishment of Rare Diseases Council and study by UMMC and other agencies. Download PDF.
- (SC 561) Designation of May 17, 2018 as ‘Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Awareness Day in Mississippi. Download PDF.
- (SB 2614) Define conflicts of interest for community hospital board members. Download PDF.
- (SB 3075) Extend the repeal date on the county’s hotel and motel tax benefitting Jackson County & Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast. Download PDF.
- (SB 3076) Authorize contributions to the Mississippi Maritime Museum, Inc. Download PDF.
In 2019, our biggest accomplishments were the lobbying and passing of the Animal Cruelty Bill signed into law, the extra funding for Early Learning Collaboratives, and the CARES Act funding along with the Appropriations funding.
- We are proud to share that Legislature decided to raise the per-pupil funding rate for collaboratives from $2,150 to $2,500. A classroom of 20 will now have $100K, as we have advocated. In this extremely difficult budget year, this is a tremendous sign of recognition of the hard work our Early Learning Collaboratives do.
Specific Bills Passed Included:
- (SB 2658) An Act to amend section 97-41-16, Mississippi Code of 1972, to reverse the offense of abuse of a domesticated dog or cat; and for related purposes. Download File
- (SB 2286) Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013; revise funding and specify teaching standards. Download File
- (SB 3044) An Act to establish the “Equity in Distance Learning Act” to be administered by the Mississippi Department of Education to provide guidance, technical support, and financial reimbursement to schools to provide distance learning and online services. Download File
- (Senate Concurrent Resolution 564) A Concurrent Resolution Commending the Ocean Springs High School “Greyhounds” Boys Soccer Team for winning MHSAA Class 6A State Championship. Download File
- (Senate Concurrent Resolution 545) A concurrent resolution urging Congress to hear the concerns of the State of Mississippi regarding the Bonnet Carré disaster and to work collaboratively with the State to find long-term solutions for the prevention of future disasters created by freshwater releases into the Mississippi Sound. Download File
2020 Legislative Updates are currently being updated.
Brice's Stands on Issues:
“Early education is the foundation on which successful communities can be built, both educationally and economically. With strong children, you have a strong community. By investing resources and time in our children, we can steer children away from crime and abuse, give them the tools to be successful, and spark them to become the leaders of tomorrow.” – Brice Wiggins
Education is a top priority for me. I am a proud graduate of the Pascagoula Public School system and have two young children currently in school there. Through past work chairing the Excel by 5 Pascagoula Coalition, I have seen the difference early education and early reading programs can make. Educated, school-ready children are the key to our future and our economic vitality. I believe this is one of a number of workable solutions available that will enhance our children’s learning achievements and test scores without creating a hardship for taxpayers. My ultimate hope is to bring education to the forefront in our state and create a paradigm shift as to how we value education at all levels. Ultimately, I see Mississippi children and students setting the standard for education, not measuring up to it.
“Give law enforcement and prosecutors the proper and necessary resources to address the increased cases of child exploitation and abuse we are seeing.”
While District Attorney, and through my work with the Mississippi Prosecutors Association, I have seen first-hand the toll crime takes on victims and communities. In particular, a growing number of crimes are being committed against the most vulnerable, our children. These crimes are particularly devastating as it robs our youngest of part of their future. Citizens of all ages have a right to be safe in their communities. To accomplish this, we must give law enforcement and prosecutors the proper and necessary resources to address the increased cases of child exploitation and abuse we are seeing.
“In order for South Mississippi to be competitive in the world job market, we must be forward thinking and diversify our job base to attract new, modern jobs and increase demand for our small businesses and retail sectors.”
Economic development means economic diversity. Jackson County is home to great major industrial companies like Huntington-Ingalls, Chevron, Signal International, First Chemical and others. Financial advisors stress the importance of diversity in individuals’ and businesses portfolios to increase wealth and minimize downturns. Similarly, a diversified job and industrial base will bring in better jobs, better pay and better educational opportunities.
“With an eye towards fiscal responsibility, as Senate Medicaid Chairman, I am focused on all areas where Mississippi can improve in health outcomes for all of our citizens while addressing the waste, fraud, and abuse in our systems.”
As Medicaid Committee chair, I was proud to introduce and see a significant reform bill go to the Governor for his signature. The Medicaid and Human Services Transparency Act aka the Act to Restore Hope Opportunity and Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) is a clear victory for those who have been fighting to end Medicaid fraud. It protects this important program for those who are truly eligible by giving the state new tools to eliminate fraud. It also serves Mississippi – and federal – taxpayers millions a year by verifying the right people are getting services and the wrong people are not abusing the system.
“The people of this state deserve and, in fact, have the right to demand transparency and accountability from their public institutions. All actions, proposed or otherwise, should be available for review and discussion.”
Senator Wiggins has been instrumental in authoring two key pieces of legislation that will ensure transparency on public boards and state agencies. Brice introduced legislation that made community hospitals, like Singing River Health System (SRHS), declared public bodies and subject to the open meetings law. The bill also established new minimal requirements to serve as a trustee of a community hospital board. Through this bill, Wiggins hopes to prevent another financial crisis like the one involving the SRHS retirement program and put in safeguards to prevent other Mississippians from being harmed in the future. Brice also authored and introduced the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Accountability and Reorganization Act, in the wake of financial and other questionable activities within the department. The bill was meant to get DMR back to its original mission of overseeing the marine fisheries and coastal resources said Wiggins, and to position DMR to properly oversee taxpayers’ and other government funding in the future.Senate Committee Assignments