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 amount 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.

The Senate convenes in the State Capitol in Jackson.

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.[1] Bills must undergo three readings in each house, unless two-thirds of the house dispenses with the rules.[1] Amendments to bills must be approved by both houses.[1]

The governor has the power to veto legislation, but legislators can override the veto with a two-thirds decision.[1]


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.

The President of the Senate is Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. The President pro tempore is Republican Terry C. Burton.[2]


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 23 28 51 1
Begin 21 31 52 0
End of previous legislature[3] 20 32
Begin 20 32 52 0
January 19, 2016[4] 31 51 1
March 8, 2016[5] 32 52 0
July 25, 2017[6] 19 51 1
October 16, 2017[7] 31 50 2
November 28, 2017[8] 32 51 1
December 19, 2017[9] 33 52 0
Latest voting share 37% 63%

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 defacto 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 (2016–2019)

District Name Party Residence Gender
1 Chris Massey Rep Nesbit M
2 David Parker Rep Olive Branch M
3 Nickey Browning Rep Pontotoc M
4 Rita Potts Parks Rep Corinth F
5 J. P. Wilemon Dem Belmont M
6 Chad McMahan Rep Guntown M
7 Hob Bryan Dem Amory M
8 Russell Jolly Dem Houston M
9 Gray Tollison Rep Oxford M
10 Bill Stone Dem Holly Springs M
11 Robert L. Jackson Dem Marks M
12 Derrick Simmons Dem Greenville M
13 Willie Lee Simmons Dem Cleveland M
14 Lydia Chassaniol Rep Winona F
15 Gary Jackson Rep French Camp M
16 Angela Turner Dem West Point F
17 Charles Younger Rep Columbus M
18 Jenifer Branning Rep F
19 Kevin Blackwell Rep M
20 Josh Harkins Rep Flowood M
21 Barbara Blackmon Dem F
22 Eugene S. Clarke Rep Hollandale M
23 Briggs Hopson Rep Vicksburg M
24 David Lee Jordan Dem Greenwood M
25 J. Walter Michel Rep Ridgeland M
26 John A. Horhn Dem Jackson M
27 Hillman Terome Frazier Dem Jackson M
28 Sollie Norwood Dem Jackson M
29 David Blount Dem Jackson M
30 Dean Kirby Rep Pearl M
31 Terry C. Burton Rep Newton M
32 Sampson Jackson II Dem Preston M
33 Videt Carmichael Rep Meridian M
34 Juan Barnett Dem M
35 Chris Caughman Rep Mendenhall M
36 Albert Butler Dem Port Gibson M
37 Bob Dearing Dem M
38 Tammy Witherspoon Dem F
39 Sally Doty Rep Brookhaven F
40 Angela Burks Hill Rep Picayune F
41 Joey Fillingane Rep Sumrall M
42 Chris McDaniel Rep Ellisville M
43 Dennis DeBar Rep M
44 John A. Polk Rep Hattiesburg M
45 Billy Hudson Rep Hattiesburg M
46 Philip Moran Rep Kiln M
47 Joseph Seymour Rep M
48 Deborah Jeanne Dawkins Dem Pass Christian F
49 Sean Tindell Rep Gulfport M
50 Tommy Gollott Rep Biloxi M
51 Michael Watson Rep Pascagoula M
52 Brice Wiggins Rep Pascagoula M

Past composition of the Senate

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Constitutional Provisions The Legislature And Legislation Rules of Procedure, Mississippi Legislature (accessed May 31, 2013)
  2. ^ Aldridge, Donesha (January 5, 2016). "Burton elected as Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore". WJTV. Jackson. 
  3. ^ Sen. Nickey Browning switched parties in early 2013 from Democrat to Republican.
  4. ^ Sen. Will Longwitz resigned to be appointed Madison County Court Judge. [1]
  5. ^ Walter Michel was elected to fill the vacancy left by Will Longwitz and assumed office March 22.[2]
  6. ^ Sen. Bill Stone (D-10) resigns [3]
  7. ^ Sen. Sean Tindell (R-49) resigns after a judicial appointment [4]
  8. ^ Republican Neil Whaley elected in non-partisan election to replace Sen. Bill Stone (D-10) [5]
  9. ^ Republican Joel Carter elected in non-partisan election to replace Sen. Sean Tindell (R-49) [6]

External links

Coordinates: 32°18′14″N 90°10′56″W / 32.30389°N 90.18222°W / 32.30389; -90.18222