Mississippi State Legislature

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Mississippi State Legislature

Seal of Mississippi.jpg
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 8, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Tate Reeves (R)
House Speaker:  Philip Gunn (R)
Majority Leader:   TBA (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Tyrone Ellis (D) (House)
Members:  52 (Senate), 122 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 4 years (House)
Authority:   Art V, Mississippi Constitution
Salary:   $10,000./year + per diem
Last Election:  November 8, 2011
52 seats (Senate)
November 8, 2011
122 seats (House)
Next election:  November 3, 2015
52 seats (Senate)
November 3, 2015
122 seats (House)
Redistricting:  Mississippi Legislature has control
The Mississippi State Legislature is the state legislature of the state of Mississippi. The bicameral legislature is comprised of the lower Mississippi House of Representatives, with 122 members, and the upper Mississippi State Senate, with 52 members. Both Representatives and Senators serve four-year terms without term limits.

The Legislature convenes at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi.

The rights, responsibilities, privileges and expectations of the state legislature are defined in Article 4 of the Mississippi Constitution.

As of April 2015, Mississippi is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.


Article IV of the Mississippi Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to meet. Section 36 of Article IV states that the legislature is to convene in regular session on the Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each year. Section 36 limits the length of regular sessions to ninety calendar days, except for once every four years when the regular session can last up to one hundred twenty-five calendar days. The most recent one hundred twenty-five day session was in 2008, and the next session of this kind will be in 2012.

Section 36 also allows the Legislature to extend its sessions for thirty days by a two-thirds vote of both legislative houses. There is no limit on the number of times a session can be extended in this way. In 2010, the Legislature extended its session once, moving the date of adjournment from April 3rd to May 3rd.

Article V of the Mississippi Constitution gives the Governor of Mississippi the power to call the Legislature into extraordinary session. Section 121 of Article V enumerates this power.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through April 7.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included creating a budget, charter schools, and medicaid expansion.[1]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through May 3.[2]


In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through April 7. [3]


In 2010, the Legislature was originally scheduled to be in session from January 5th to April 3rd. However, the session was extended to May 3rd. Additionally, a special session was held that convened on April 22nd and adjourned on April 23rd.[4]


See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Mississippi was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[5]


See also: Redistricting in Mississippi

The five-member Standing Joint Reapportionment Committee handles redistricting, with no veto power afforded to the Governor. Should it fail to finalize a plan on time, a backup commission -- composed of the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Majority Leaders of both legislative chambers -- would take over the process. Mississippi is required to have its maps pre-cleared by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

2010 census

Mississippi received its local census data on February 3, 2011. The state's population grew 4.3 percent, with several of its well-known cities (Jackson, Gulfport, Biloxi) losing as much as 13 percent. Most of the state's population loss was in the north-central region and along the western edge.

Republicans controlled the Legislature and governorship at the time of redistricting. Because Mississippi holds legislative elections in odd-numbered years, the legislature was given a tight deadline -- June 1, 2011 -- for redistricting in time for the 2011 elections while allowing 60 days of review by the DOJ. The deadline passed without a plan, meaning any new maps would not take effect until 2015. Elections were held with the previous maps, and the House passed a new map in April 2012, with the Senate following in May.[6] The House plan includes five two-incumbent races, with the Senate having one. As of August 18, 2012, the maps were still with the Department of Justice for pre-clearance.[7]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Mississippi legislature are paid $10,000/year. Per diem is $109/day tied to the federal rate.[8]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Mississippi legislators assume office the first day of the regular session of the year following election. The Constitution requires the Legislature to convene yearly on the Tuesday after the first Monday in January.


The Mississippi Senate is the upper house of the Mississippi Legislature. The Senate is composed of 52 Senators representing an equal amount of constituent districts. Each member represents an average of 57,063 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[9] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 54,705.[10] Senators serve four-year terms with no term limits.

Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to the state cabinet, commissions and boards.

According to the current Mississippi Constitution, the Senate is to be composed of no more than 52 members elected for four-year terms. Elections to the Senate are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November during the state general elections.

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 20
     Republican Party 32
Total 52

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Mississippi State Legislature. According to the state constitution of 1890, this body is to comprise no more than 122 members elected for four-year terms (Section 34). To qualify as a member of the house candidates must (a) be at least 21 years old, (b) have been a resident of Mississippi for at least four years, and (c) have resided in the district in which he/she is running for at least two years (Sections 41, 44 and 45). Current state law provides for the maximum number of members. Elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Each member represents an average of 24,322 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[11] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 23,317.[12]

The Constitution also specifies that the legislature shall meet for 125 days every four years and 90 days in all other years (Section 36 of Article 4).

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 56
     Republican Party 66
Total 122


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Mississippi’’
Partisan breakdown of the Mississippi legislature from 1992-2013

Mississippi State Senate: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Mississippi State Senate for 18 years while the Republicans were the majority for four years. The Mississippi State Senate is one of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the Mississippi senate to the Republican party with the last two years being Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Mississippi State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Mississippi State House of Representatives for the first 20 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last two years. The Mississippi State House of Representatives is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final three years of the study depicted a shift not only in the Mississippi House but in the entire state government to the Republican party with the last two years being Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Mississippi, the Mississippi State Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Mississippi state government(1992-2013).PNG

Joint legislative committees

External links