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Mississippi sets new laws on Medicaid during pregnancy, school funding, inheritance and alcohol

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is enacting several new laws, including one that says sign language courses may replace foreign language courses for students to earn credit toward high school graduation.

A look at some of the other new laws taking effect on July 1:

Medicaid during pregnancy

Mississippi will allow earlier Medicaid coverage during pregnancy to try to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in a poor state with the worst rate of infant mortality in the U.S. The “presumptive eligibility” law says Medicaid will pay for a pregnant woman’s outpatient medical care up to 60 days while her application for the government-funded insurance program is being considered. Processing Medicaid applications can take weeks, and health professionals say early prenatal care is vital.

School funding

A new law changes the way Mississippi pays for public schools. The Mississippi Student Funding Formula replaces the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which has been fully funded for only two years since it was enacted in 1997. The new formula is designed to give districts a boost for students who can be more expensive to educate. For example, extra money would be calculated for students who live in poverty, those with special needs, those in gifted programs, those with dyslexia or those who are learning English as a second language.

Inheritance rights

A child born from a pregnancy that begins after a parent’s death will have inheritance rights, even if the embryo is not yet implanted when the parent dies. The new law says there must be clear indication that a parent intended to use his or her genetic material for “assisted reproductive technology” such as in vitro fertilization, that implantation of the embryo must

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