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State employees could lose protection from Personnel Board

With a House Bill that passed Thursday, a majority of the people who work for state agencies would no longer have protections from the Mississippi State Personnel Board.

That’s over 30,000 people.

House Bill 974 was heavily debated and questioned on the House floor Thursday morning before a committee substitute of the bill narrowly passed 62-57.

The committee substitute of the bill states that from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020, certain agencies would be exempt from the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board– meaning the workers within those agencies may not get some of the protections therein.

Also included, there could be no pay raises given without notifying the legislature in a monthly report.

There were two amendments of the bill that allowed for officers with Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Highway Patrol, and the Bureau of Narcotics to stay under the SPB, as well as the Department of Mental Health.

“What we have tried to do with this at the request of the agencies to give them the flexibility to move things around and not do layoffs,” said House Appropriations Chair John Read. “We’re not up here to penalize, to throw out, we’re up here to keep people on the payroll.”

While David Baria authored the amendment to keep the Department of Mental Health under the board, Read agreed with the move.

“I ask that you leave Mental Health in,” said Read. “I think in the long run we can protect more people.”

News Mississippi will continue to follow this bill as it moves through the legislative session.

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