Mississippi State Senate
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|Mississippi State Legislature|
New session started
|January 7, 2020|
President pro Tempore
Length of term
|Authority||Article IV, Mississippi Constitution|
|Salary||$10,000/year + per diem|
|November 5, 2019|
|November 7, 2023|
|State Senate Chamber|
Mississippi State Capitol
|Mississippi State Legislature|
The Mississippi Senate is the upper house of the Mississippi Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Mississippi. The Senate is composed of 52 senators representing an equal number of constituent districts, with 54,704 people per district (2000 figures). 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.
Membership, terms and elections
According to the current Mississippi Constitution of 1890, 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.
Powers and process
The state legislature is constitutionally-mandated to meet for 125 days every four years and 90 days in other years. The Mississippi Senate has the authority to determine rules of its own proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and expel a member with a two-thirds vote of its membership. Bills must undergo three readings in each house, unless two-thirds of the house dispenses with the rules. Amendments to bills must be approved by both houses.
The governor has the power to veto legislation, but legislators can override the veto with a two-thirds decision.
The Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi serves as the President of the Senate, but only casts a legislative vote if required to break a tie. In his or her absence, the President Pro Tempore presides over the Senate. The President Pro Tempore is elected by the majority party caucus followed by confirmation of the entire Senate through a Senate Resolution. Unlike other upper houses in state legislatures, the President Pro Tempore's power is limited. The Lieutenant Governor has the sole ability to appoint the chairmanships or vice chairmanships of various Senate committees, regardless of party size. The other Senate majority and minority leaders are elected by their respective party caucuses.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature (2019)||18||31||49||3|
|Latest voting share||30.8%||69.2%|
Although the Democratic party retained their majority (27D to 25R) in the state Senate after the 2003 general election, a party switch by former Democratic Senator, James Shannon Walley of Leakesville threw control of the chamber to the Republicans. Walley was elected as a Democrat in 2003 to represent District 43, which includes George, Greene, Stone, and Wayne counties, then announced he was switching parties and won re-election as a Republican. Because the Lieutenant Governor at that time, Amy Tuck, was a Republican (and also a previous party switcher), this gave Republicans control of the Senate for the first time since Reconstruction and a de facto majority only on a tie vote.
Until January 2008, the Senate contained 25 Democrats and 27 Republicans. Democrats enjoyed a net gain of three seats in the November 6, 2007 statewide elections and won back control of the chamber by a 28–24 margin until Senator Nolan Mettetal announced his party switch in February, 2008. The Senate balance was 27–25, with the Democrats holding the slim majority until Cindy Hyde-Smith switched parties, giving the GOP a 26–26 de facto majority, with Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant holding the tiebreaker vote. After the switch of Ezell Lee on February 17, 2011, the GOP expanded their majority to 27–24, with one vacancy. The majority was expanded in the general election later that year to 31-21, including the party switch of Sen. Gray Tollison.
Members of the Mississippi Senate (2020–2024)
Past composition of the Senate
- Constitutional Provisions The Legislature And Legislation Rules of Procedure, Mississippi Legislature (accessed May 31, 2013)
- "Dean Kirby elected Senate president pro tempore". WJTV. Jackson. January 7, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Mississippi Legislature
- State Senate of Mississippi at Project Vote Smart
- Mississippi State Senate at Ballotpedia