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Mississippi legislature moves to boost tourism dollars
By: Stephan Burklin
JACKSON, Mississippi: Lawmakers in Mississippi this week passed controversial legislation that will increase the alcohol content allowed in beer and also require school districts to push back their start dates with the aim of boosting tourism revenues in the state.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, House Tourism Committee Chairman Rita Martinson said that the prospect of more tourism dollars helped convince skeptical lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Legislature to approve the measures.
"I felt a lot more energy concerning tourism this year, and I believe part of that is because we realize more and more that's one of our economic engines for bringing in money,” she said.
According to a report by the Gulf Coast Business Council, requiring schools to start in late August could add $100 million to the economy.
Also according to the Clarion-Ledger, Rep. Jeffrey S. Guice, who presented the bill on the House floor, said, “It also allows for the areas that use and employ school-age people in their businesses to maintain their employees for a little longer, which stimulates money in that community.”
Other laws related to tourism were nearly passed by the Legislature. A bill easing three-day waiting periods and blood test requirements for marriage licenses was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in late April.
Another bill that would have increased incentives for producers to shoot films in Mississippi passed the House but died in a Senate committee.