. 12/6/16Are laws needed to protect patients from sexual abuse? The state Board of Medical Licensure voted Monday to study whether legislation is needed with regard to the problem of sexual abuse by physicians. The decision comes in the wake of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution study that ranked Mississippi dead last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia when it comes to protecting patients from bad doctors, including the problem of physician sexual abuse. In a Monday meeting, board member Dr. Randy Easterling called the article “greatly flawed,” saying the American Medical Association “already has a code of ethics that…Mississippi Capitol's north entrance to close for a year The north entrance of the Mississippi Capitol will be closed for the next year during the rebuilding of the second-floor terrace above it. The Department of Finance and Administration says the terrace is deteriorating from leaks. WTOK 12/5/16Charter schools to expand in Mississippi Two Mississippi charter schools have gotten approval to expand enrollments, despite concerns over low test scores in one school's first year of operation. The Charter School Authorizer Board Monday approved plans for RePublic Schools to expand its two middle schools in Jackson to 600 students apiece. Serving grades 5-8, ReImagine Prep and Smilow Prep were each previously approved for fewer than 500 students. WTOK 12/5/16RELEASE: NGAUS Selects New Association President WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2016) - The association that gives voice to National Guard officers in the nation's capital will soon have a new person running its day-to-day operations here. The NGAUS board of directors has selected retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson of Mississippi to be the association's next president. He will succeed retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, who will step down in April. Robinson will begin his transition in February. The NGAUS president serves as the association's chief executive officer. The position has daily responsibility for the 28-member NGAUS Washington staff, the NGAUS… Replacing lost factory jobs in Mississippi CBS 12/1/16State education leader to visit DeSoto County Looking to highlight successes in public school education over the past year, Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Supt. Dr. Carey Wright is setting about a statewide tour to a select group of schools that have excelled in the classroom. Wright’s tour will include what will likely be her first-ever visit to a DeSoto County school when she stops at Lewisburg Middle School on Friday, Dec. 16, the last day before DeSoto County School District students and teachers begin their Christmas vacation.... ...The Dec. 16 visit is one of 167 stops the state education…Musselwhite to run for re-election Saying “I’m not done yet,” Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite Thursday announced his plans to run for re-election to another four-year term in 2017. In a statement announcing his re-election campaign plans, Musselwhite said, “We’ve made great progress during my first term and spent a large amount of time correcting problems and completing pending projects.” Desoto Times 12/1/16DAILY JOURNAL - OUR OPINION: Teacher incentives valuable for educational progress The potential items being discussed for the upcoming session include funding for the School Recognition Program, which seeks to provide pay raises to teachers and other staff in A- and B-level schools, as well as in improving schools. The program was part of the 2014 legislation that gave teachers a $2,500 across-the-board pay increase over a two-year period and raised the starting pay for teachers.... ...Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, have said they support the 2017 Legislature funding the program. Rewarding…BILL CRAWFORD: PERS’ deficit ‘mortgage’ ballooning, not shrinking You know how a mortgage works right? You make your monthly payments and gradually your mortgage balance comes down. Pat Robertson, executive director of the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), tells legislators and retirees to think of PERS’ massive $16.8 billion funding shortfall as a mortgage: “Having an unfunded liability (deficit) is analogous to having a mortgage and making mortgage payments faithfully every month.” Well, PERS’ deficit “mortgage” does not work like yours and mine. Despite four years of payments, the balance has ballooned, not shrunk. And the number of years…Sid Salter: Judicial elections are inherently partisan All due respect, it’s almost laughable that Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James is blaming U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for her loss in a re-election bid on Nov. 8. James, the incumbent appellate judge, lost that bid by more than 20,000 votes to challenger Latrice Westbrook — who defeated James 57 percent to 43 percent, or 86,525 to 65,145 votes. How is that Thompson’s fault? James claims in a lawsuit she filed against the Democratic congressman and Westbrook that her challenger “willfully and unlawfully” formed an alliance with Thompson that led to…Will mental health suits be combined? If Mississippi gets its way, a long-running case challenging the state’s mental health care for children could be rolled up with the more recent suit by the federal government over how the state provides mental health care for adults. The federal government, though, is fighting that effort, saying the two cases should remain distinct. The Troupe case was filed in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, alleging Mississippi was far too reliant on sending children away from their families to psychiatric institutions for mental health treatment. The adult case was filed in August,…Jimmie Gates: Connie Cochran leaves with her head up For almost as long as I have been a reporter in the Jackson area, Connie Cochran has been a Hinds County election commissioner. Since I have known Cochran, she has been one of those individuals who would give you a straight answer. Even if she made a mistake on something — such as not ordering the number of ballots required by law — she would admit it. After 24 years, Cochran will leave office at the end of this year. She was defeated in her re-election bid this year. Newcomer Yvonne…Lawmaker wants crackdown on uninsured motorists The Legislature in 2017 is expected to again tackle an age-old problem: uninsured motorists on Mississippi roads. “What we are hoping to do is pass a bill that gives the authority for a tax collector to verify insurance coverage when someone renews their car tag,” said House Insurance Chairman Gary Chism, R-Columbus. “Now, over at (Department of Revenue) they have a new tag and title system that will adapt well to real-time insurance verification. … Just like now you can’t get your tag renewed if you owe money on your garbage bill — If…Governor Phil Bryant is chair-elect of the Education Commission of the States. Bryant made the announcement on the Paul Gallo Show Monday morning on SuperTalk Radio. The Governor also serves as chairman of Jobs for America's Graduates. Bryant expressed his intent to work with President-elect Donald Trump's Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos in these roles to positively change the education system, noting he had already discussed possibilities with Trump. 12/5/16Louisiana Senate race is next priority for Republicans Sen. Roger Wicker led the successful campaign to retain GOP control of the Senate as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but he said this week his job isn’t done. The Mississippi senator spent Monday in Louisiana trying to help fellow Republican John Kennedy in his bid for the Senate in next weekend's runoff election. Wicker plans to return Saturday to join Vice President-elect Mike Pence on the stump for Kennedy. “It’s the only show in town and we’re taking it seriously," Wicker said. USA Today 12/2/16RELEASE: Palazzo Supports Bill to Fund Military Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act to continue funding our Military. “Unfortunately, the world is not becoming a safer place but ever more dangerous. Which is why it is vital that we continue to support a strong national defense. The legislation passed today emphasizes military readiness efforts in Afghanistan and against ISIS. Furthermore, it ensures that our men and women in uniform have the tools and resources they need to do their job. "The effects of the Obama administration’s…RELEASE: Palazzo Praises Fellow Marine ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as Defense Secretary Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate retired General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. “President Trump could not have chosen a better person to serve as our next Secretary of Defense than my fellow Marine, General Jim Mattis. Marines lead the way. “When it comes to our military, there is no room for the political correctness we’ve seen throughout the Obama administration, and no one knows that better than a fellow…RELEASE: Wicker Statement on Trump’s Pick for Secretary of Defense WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s intention to name Gen. James Mattis as the next Secretary of Defense: “I am pleased that the President-elect has chosen this legendary Marine to lead the Pentagon. Gen. Mattis is one of our nation’s leading military strategists and for good reason: He understands where military strategy and foreign policy intersect. I have always appreciated his candor and honesty during his many appearances before the Armed… Facebook 11/30/16Pleased with the 99-0 Senate vote to extend #sanctions against Iran for 10 more years. Iran must be held accountable for its actions.— Senator Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran) December 1, 2016 12/1/16PEER: Medicaid should focus more on cost with bidding The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, examined Medicaid bidding process for the contract, and the way the current company handles complaints about service from the drivers it uses. PEER recommends the state in its bidding process for the services “assign more weight” to cost and utilize better technology. PEER said Medicaid’s current contract weighted a bidder’s technical capabilities at 70 percent and cost at 30 percent. Clarion Ledger 12/1/16After long hiatus, PEER watchdog panel running again The state Legislature’s “watchdog” committee is back up and running after a long hiatus and has issued its first report since late 2015. The committee had been defunct much of this year, with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves delaying his Senate appointments to the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER... ...The committee is made up of seven Senate and seven House members. They oversee a director and staff of – currently – 23 accountants and government experts who dig into state agency spending and operations. Chairmanship of the…Gov. Bryant meets with Israel’s prime minister Gov. Phil Bryant is still in Israel and Thursday he met with the country’s prime minister. Bryant tweeted Thursday that he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. WJTV 12/1/16RELEASE: Wicker Votes to Extend Sanctions on Iran Miss. Senator Says Obama’s Doctrine of ‘Strategic Patience’ Not Working WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today voted to extend economic sanctions on the Iranian regime through 2026. The sanctions will expire at the end of the year without congressional action. “Allowing these sanctions to lapse would be a mistake,” Wicker said. “The current deal with Iran has only emboldened the regime. I am hopeful these sanctions will strengthen America’s hand in dealing with the Iranian government after President-elect Trump takes office…RELEASE: Committee Chair Recommendations for the 115th Congress December 1, 2016|Speaker Ryan's Press Office WASHINGTON—The House Republican Steering Committee today approved the following recommendations for committee chairs in the 115th Congress. Agriculture: Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) Appropriations: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) Armed Services: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) Budget: Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) Education and the Workforce: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Energy and Commerce: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) Financial Services: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) Foreign Affairs: Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) Homeland Security: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) Judiciary: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) Natural Resources: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) Oversight and Government Reform:… Bennie Thompson's Ballot by yallpolitics on ScribdRELEASE: Palazzo Supports 21st Century Cures Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act. “This bill is beneficial to South Mississippi hospitals and care facilities, but more importantly, it will benefit patients for years to come. We need a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem. This bill supports the advancement of medical innovation in our country, invests heavily in cancer research, and focuses on curing diseases rather than just treating them. This legislation is by no means perfect, but it puts patients and people ahead of…RELEASE: Wicker’s Alzheimer’s Initiative Passes House ‘EUREKA Act’ Moves One Step Closer to Becoming Law; Senate to Act Next Week WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today said that his proposal to create prize-based competitions to encourage more public-private collaboration in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, is close to becoming law. Wicker’s bill, the “Ensuring Useful Research Expenditures is Key for Alzheimer’s (EUREKA) Act,” is part of the bicameral, bipartisan “21st Century Cures Act,” which passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 392-26. The Senate could pass the legislation as early as December 6. “Unless a…CLARION LEDGER editorial: MHP needs more money or we all suffer: Our view Lawmakers must realize MHP is facing a dire situation when it comes to staffing. And this isn’t an issue that can be blamed on too much administrative cost, inefficient management or some other excuse that provides political cover to kick the can down the road. No government agency or body is perfectly run or without issues — including (and some might argue especially) — the Legislature. But in the case of MHP, the numbers are stark and paint a clear picture. Nobody should expect Mississippi to be…Legislature to look at 'blue lives matter, divorce laws Adding Mississippi law enforcement officers as a protected class under the state’s hate-crime law is one of the judicial/legal issues the Legislature is expected to debate in 2017. Targeting law enforcement officers for assault would lead to enhanced penalties under Mississippi's hate crime law if it passes, says Senate Judiciary A Chairman Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport... ...A 13-member task force has been reviewing Mississippi's civil asset forfeiture laws. It plans to make recommendations to the Legislature and other agencies for amendments to protect innocent property owners, assure greater transparency, and provide greater…BOBBY HARRISON: ‘Suspicious minds’ remain disturbed by claimed plans to reform school funds And currently there are a lot of “suspicious minds” in the education community in terms of the efforts of the legislative leadership, namely House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, to revamp or rewrite the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. The Adequate Education Program, of course, is the mechanism used to provide the bulk of the state’s share of funds for the basic operation of local school districts, whether it is paying the salary of teachers or paying to turn on the lights every morning or…Teacher pay raise funding up for discussion Some teachers and other staff in A and B schools, as well as in improving schools, could be getting a pay raise during the 2017 legislative session. The School Recognition Program is part of the 2014 legislation that gave teachers a $2,500 across-the-board pay increase over a two-year period and raised the starting pay for teachers. The program calls for A-level schools and those that increased a letter grade from the previous year to receive an additional $100 per student to go toward salaries. B schools would get an additional $75 per student.… Facebook 11/30/16BRIAN PERRY/Clinton Trumped in Miss Republican Donald J. Trump carried Mississippi with 57.9 percent of the vote for President of the United States on November 8, earning him Mississippi’s six votes in the Electoral College. He received a greater percentage of the vote than Republicans Mitt Romney in 2012 (55.3 percent) or John McCain in 2008 (56.2 percent), but fell short of President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 when Bush took 59.5 percent. Trump’s 700,714 raw votes bested Bush’s 684,981 votes from 2004; but, Trump fell short of the raw votes posted by Romney (710,746) and McCain (724,597). In…Appeals court candidate challenges loss Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James is contesting her loss in the Nov. 8 election. James says her opponent violated state laws that require nonpartisan judicial races. James filed a lawsuit Monday against Latrice Westbrooks, who won the election and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who campaigned for Westbrooks. The lawsuit says Westbrooks and Thompson "willfully and intentionally" aligned themselves politically by appearing together at events and by distributing a sample ballot recommending that people support Thompson in the U.S. House race and Westbrooks in the judicial race. WTOK 11/30/16WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi WLOX / WLBT 11/30/16WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi WLOX 11/30/16WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi WLOX 11/30/16RELEASE: Miss. Senators, Gov. Bryant, UMMC Welcome Funding Approval for Statewide Emergency Communications System State, UMMC Will Use $33 Million Grant to Improve Emergency Response Capabilities WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant today welcomed the release of $33 million in federal funding to allow the state to implement infrastructure to enhance coordination among emergency responders statewide. The approval of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Project (BTOP) grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce ends years of negotiations among federal agencies, the Senators, the State of Mississippi, and others to advance this… New focus placed on 3rd grade reading Ashley Sheils, a former literacy specialist and coach, was named director of the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. She will provide technical assistance to communities hoping to create a partnership with the new effort. Currently, only Oxford/Lafayette County and Gulfport have a partnership, but officials say they have seen good results. “We know that not all students have access to high-quality preschool programs and they need additional support between Kindergarten and 3rd grade,” said Dr. Angela Rutherford, director of the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction at the University of Mississippi. “Participating communities…U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper says recount is attempt to paint Trump win as ‘illegitimate’ U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., told a media gathering Monday that attempts by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Green Party candidate Jill Stein to get recounts in several swing states won by President-elect Donald Trump was an attempt to delegitimize the election results. The Clinton and Stein campaigns are asking for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all states won by Trump. Stein is suing in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after the states refused to order hand recounts. “It’s pretty obvious what the intent of the Democratic Party… Facebook 11/29/16Please read my statement about the draft resolution from a few ASB senators: https://t.co/dOj9SiBLGn pic.twitter.com/x1V7WJtM2S— Jeff Vitter (@UMchancellor) November 29, 2016 Twitter 11/29/16Bryant to Legislature: Replenish Rainy Day fund Forced to use the state’s so-called Rainy Day fund several times to balance the state budget last fiscal year, Gov. Phil Bryant is pleading with legislators to reign in their spending habits. In his Executive Budget Recommendation released this month, Bryant asked legislators to spend no more than 98 percent of the revenue the state expects to collect this fiscal year. The “98 Percent Rule,” in the Mississippi Code of 1972, requires that the total expenditures from the State’s General Fund “shall not exceed (98 percent) of the amount of general fund revenue”…No state flag will fly outside new Tupelo Police Department for a year TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - There was finally a meeting of the minds about the state flag at a Tupelo City council work session. The council approved an amendment to fly a bicentennial flag in the new Tupelo Police Department for a year instead of the state flag. Councilman Buddy Palmer suggested to fly the bicentennial flag after listening to some other councilmen's concerns. WTVA 11/29/16Court of Appeals Wilson, Jack - 58% Hannan, Ed - 42% Supreme Court - North Chamberlin, Bobby - 55% Brady, John - 45% State House - District 89 Scoggin, Donnie - 60% Swindall, Ron - 40% State House - District 106 Corley, John - 54% Holcomb, Greg - 46% RELEASE: Wicker Highlights Importance of Advancing Telehealth Miss. Senator Supports Legislation to Improve Primary Care Access, Cut Costs WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today spoke in support of legislation to advance telehealth by creating opportunities for primary care clinicians to receive high-quality specialty training remotely. The bipartisan “ECHO Act,” S.2873, is authored by Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. The proposal, which passed the Senate by a vote of 97-0, would help patients in remote areas – such as rural Mississippi – gain better access to primary care. Wicker went on to highlight his “CONNECT for…RELEASE: Wicker Announces Support for Trump’s HHS Secretary Pick WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS): “President-elect Trump could not have made a better choice for HHS Secretary. He is a distinguished public servant and uniquely qualified to lead the department. As an orthopedic surgeon, he has an intimate understanding of our nation’s health-care system. I enthusiastically support his nomination. I look forward to working with him to repeal Obamacare and replacing it…U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today announced that he is naming Brad White as the chief of staff, effective Jan. 1, 2017. White has served as Cochran’s state director since June 2015. In his new position, White will advise the Senator and oversee his Senate office staff in Washington and Mississippi. White will replace Keith Heard, who has served as chief of staff during the 114th Congress and who will return to the private sector. “I am optimistic about the new Congress and the new administration, and look forward to having Brad White…Lottery buzz shifts from ‘no’ to ‘maybe’ A change in tone from state leaders in recent weeks, however, might change the prospects for the state’s residents in the near future. In a complete reversal of philosophy from earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bryant last week wrote in his Executive Budget Recommendation that he is open “to a general discussion about the implementation of a lottery in Mississippi.” Bryant’s only stipulation, however, is that any revenue generated from the lottery would not be earmarked for one specific line item in the state budget. Instead, the revenue would flow into the general…Mayor travels to Israel to promote economic development Mayor Jason Shelton is in Israel this week as part of a trip sponsored by the Mississippi Development Authority to foster international business investment in Mississippi. Shelton is attending the weeklong trip at the invitation of the MDA. In a letter to the Tupelo City Council earlier this month, the mayor described the trip as a “governor-led international business development mission.” Daily Journal 11/29/16MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS WLBT 11/28/16Rep. Harper impressed with Trump picks so far Harper said he's pleased Trump is considering retired Gen. David Patraeus as secretary of state and his former House colleagues Jeff Miller and Randy Forbes as picks to run Veterans Affairs and the Navy, respectively.... ...Harper criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for joining in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempt to recount votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He said neither candidate stands a chance of overturning the results of Trump's win, but want to muddy the water, delay a final electoral vote and score political points before Trump takes office.…Bryant appears receptive to Jackson's legislative needs In his budget recommendation for the 2018 fiscal year, Gov. Phil Bryant acknowledged something promoters of Mississippi's capital city have often stressed: Jackson is the tree trunk from which grow the branches that make up each metro city. If the base of the tree is unhealthy, the rest cannot thrive. "Jackson's struggles are not a competitive advantage for neighboring jurisdictions; they are a cause for concern for the entire metro area," Bryant wrote. "But nor are Jackson's problems merely the byproduct of misperceptions. The challenges Jackson has with infrastructure and cost containment are…Mississippi has runoff elections Tuesday The Supreme Court runoff in the northern district is between John Brady of Columbus, who's an attorney in private practice; and Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando, who's a circuit judge. The Court of Appeals runoff in an east-central district is between challenger Ed Hannan and incumbent Jack Wilson. Both live in Madison. One legislative runoff is in Jones County. The other is in Lamar and Pearl River counties. Ron Swindall faces Donnie Scoggin in District 89. Greg Holcomb opposes John Corley in District 106. WTOK 11/28/16ROGER WICKER: Retain Gitmo for security of the nation President Barack Obama promised on his second day in office to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. President-elect Donald Trump has campaigned to keep it open – a position I have continually supported in Congress, most recently in this year’s defense bill. The defense bill, which passed the Senate with a wide bipartisan majority in June, includes a provision that would prohibit the President from closing the facility or transferring its detainees to the United States. This measure is in keeping with public opinion on the issue.…" />
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Businessman accused in Epps prison contract scandal files motion to dismiss guilty plea

E. Carlos Tanner, III, McCrory’s attorney, said they want to withdraw the guilty plea because his client was not adequately represented by counsel during that time.

He is asking that his client is tried before a jury. McCrory claims that he is innocent and didn’t commit the crime of money laundering.

Read the full motion to dismiss the guilty plea here.

WJTV
12/8/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 3:36 pm

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McCrory moves to withdraw guilty plea


"The lawyer who represented Mr. McCrory during the investigative and plea stages of this case did not closely assist Mr. McCrory in a number of ways," the motion filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson says. "First, Mr. McCrory’s first lawyer failed to protect his interests by granting the FBI unrestrained access to Mr. McCrory in that the prior lawyer repeatedly permitted law enforcement agents to converse with Mr. McCrory outside that lawyer’s presence. Next, the prior attorney failed to negotiate the outcome of Mr. McCrory’s case before letting him engage in extensive cooperation with the Government. That attorney also advised his client to plead guilty without having reviewed the enormous amount of discovery in this case. Lastly, that attorney allowed Attorney Mike Hurst, the then-Assistant United States Attorney, who was assigned to handle this case, to put unfair and undue pressure on Mr. McCrory to get him to plead guilty."

Tanner said Hurst wanted McCrory to enter into the guilty plea prior to the date Hurst resigned his position to run for Mississippi attorney general. Hurst lost a heated campaign to incumbent Jim Hood in the November 2015 general election.

It will be left up to Wingate to decide whether to allow McCrory to withdraw his guilty plea.

Clarion Ledger
12/8/16



Posted December 8, 2016 - 12:50 pm

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State ‘noncore’ programs under Bryant scrutiny



Gov. Phil Bryant listed what he called three state-supported programs that are not core functions of government, and as such need scrutiny for belt-tightening.

The filmmaking industry is one, and has drawn the most public attention since he issued his budget recommendations on Nov. 15....



...The governor said in his Executive Budget Recommendation for fiscal 2018 that “taxpayers should no longer subsidize the motion picture industry at a loss.”

The governor also suggested that Mississippi Public Broadcasting become “more self-sustainable.”



MBJ
12/8/16


Posted December 8, 2016 - 12:06 pm

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RELEASE:



LEGISLATIVE BUDGET PLAN RELEASED

Jackson, Miss. -- The Joint Legislative Budget Committee released today a Fiscal 2018 budget that reduces spending by 3 percent and includes efficiencies found by legislative working groups over the past several months.

Out-of-state travel and vehicle purchases would be curbed under the proposed $6.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2017. State-support spending would decline by $195.3 million compared to the current year.

“This recommendation is in line with our continued goal of budgeting within our means,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, who serves as chairman of the budget committee. “We continue to be disciplined in our budgeting by staying within the revenues received.”

“Therefore, we need to budget based upon real dollars,” he continued. “We have made difficult, but solid, budgetary decisions. We’ve also incorporated ideas generated from the budget working group meetings that occurred during the summer and fall.”

Under the budget, the school funding formula would receive more than $2.2 billion as it did in the current year. Education spending also includes $21 million for the new School Recognition Program, which rewards teachers and staff for boosting student achievement.

“We have proposed a conservative budget that forces agencies to be more mindful of how they spend taxpayer dollars while funding priorities like highway patrol officers, public schools and foster care,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.

The budget reduces spending for most other agencies, though the newly created Child Protection Agency charged with overseeing the foster care system will not see cuts.

As required by law, the budget spends 98 percent of funds and sets tax dollars aside for the state’s savings accounts. Also, debt service, or payments on bonds, was funded at current levels.

The proposal includes savings found through legislative budget working groups, which met over the past six months. Lawmakers examined spending for the state’s largest agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Health, Mental Health, Human Services, Corrections, Public Safety and Education; the Division of Medicaid, Institutions of Higher Learning, community colleges, boards and commissions, state facilities, and information technology consolidation.

Efficiencies included are:

· Saving $19 million in state support funds from a yearlong moratorium on state vehicle purchases by agencies.

· Saving $12 million in state support funds from limiting travel by state workers.

· Redirect $4.5 million from remediation programs at community colleges and universities to reduce the number of students needing to repeat courses at higher education institutions.

· Saving $13 million in state support funds from removing state employees from personnel board regulations.



The proposed Fiscal 2018 budget will be used by the Appropriations Committees to start crafting a spending plan during the session, which begins in January.


12/8/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 11:24 am

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All Elected School Board Legislation Back Up for Discussion in 2017 Session
Should be a done deal, but don’t hold your breath

by Frank Corder
A major step was taken in Mississippi’s ongoing education reform efforts in the 2016 legislative session when lawmakers passed a bill requiring the appointment of all public school superintendents. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the legislation into law soon after its passage.

The next step along the path – and one that will present an even bigger hurdle for reform-minded lawmakers – is the requirement for all school boards to be elected.

House Education Chairman John Moore has consistently sought to move this discussion along in recent years, noting the need for direct public accountability, but the effort has been squashed for one reason or another.

Moore tells Y’all Politics that he plans to once again propose the measure and will bring it up in his committee during the 2017 session.

“The bill is being introduced for discussion this session,” Moore said.



State Sen. Brice Wiggins is open to the discussion in his chamber.

“The current laws regarding organization of school boards are antiquated and need a review,” Wiggins told Y’all Politics. “Having passed elected superintendents last year it would make sense to look at the boards."



There is no mechanism by which the public or a school board can change the selection process for a local school district's board members. It must come by way of action of the Legislature.

Moore, an advocate for the change, says one sticking point in the Legislature has been with “high rated school districts – A’s and B’s – who do not want their board structure to change,” pointing to the success of their districts. A compromise measure could be to only focus on C districts and below.

While this may be politically expedient, giving lawmakers an out, if you will, with the current A and B districts and the lobbying sure to ensue, this would appear to lack any reasonableness in terms of tangible accountability, transparency and local control for every Mississippian. Just because districts are rated high currently does not mean there are no real concerns over public accountability, communication, and proper representation.

Opponents often contend that appointed school board members take the politics out of education. It could be said, however, that there are more politics at play with appointed school boards than if they were elected.

Being from a high rated school district, I still contend that parents and voters deserve a say in their education system, especially given the huge role our school districts play in the life of our communities and the amount of public monies they are tasked with overseeing. The public’s choice for their school board shouldn't be funneled through a city council or other local governing body. Our current system is akin to taxation with indirect representation, and it’s time the Legislature give voters the opportunity to determine whether they want a direct voice on our school boards across Mississippi.

The ballot box remains the only tangible means of effecting change in our American system of government. All appointed superintendents is a major step in the right direction, but it can be argued allowing the public to vote to elect their school board members instead of being politically appointed would be a huge leap forward in terms of accountability, transparency, and taxation with direct representation.

With Republicans well in control of the Legislature, giving their constituents the opportunity to have a direct voice in their local school boards who oversee our children’s futures and millions upon millions of our precious tax dollars would go a long way to promote the principles and values they campaign on every four years.

But given the interests at work against this measure, I’m not holding my breath.


###

This article has been updated to reflect new information.

Reference: Mississippi Code Title 37, Chapter 7 for composition of school boards.

Posted December 8, 2016 - 10:39 am

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12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:26 am

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RELEASE:



Wicker, Chao Discuss U.S. Infrastructure Needs

Miss. Senator Meets With Trump’s Experienced Pick for Secretary of Transportation


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today met with Elaine Chao, President-elect Trump’s choice to be Secretary of Transportation.

“Secretary Chao has decades of experience in public service and firsthand knowledge of serving in a President’s cabinet,” Wicker said. “She is well-prepared to help President-elect Trump tackle our nation’s many infrastructure challenges. The President-elect has a bold plan to improve America’s roads, bridges, ports, waterways, and airports. He could not have chosen a better person for the job.”


12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:25 am

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Proposed legislation will track civil asset forfeitures



Draft legislation for the 2017 Mississippi Legislature will include a proposal to record and track civil asset forfeitures by local and state law enforcement agencies.

A 13-member task force on the state's civil asset forfeiture laws hasn't officially submitted its recommendations, although the report was due Dec. 1, but the chairman of the task force, state Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, said the group's work is basically done and bullet points have been laid out that will be used to draft legislation.




Clarion Ledger
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:21 am

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State turns 199 Friday, plans for bicentennial



Mississippi turns 199 years old on Friday, and the state has been gearing up for years to celebrate its bicentennial next year.

“As we observe Mississippi’s 199th birthday, we look forward to the many events across the state that will mark our upcoming bicentennial,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I encourage all Mississippians to participate in this historic, year-long celebration of our statehood.”

First Lady Deborah Bryant will deliver the keynote address at the annual Mississippi Statehood Day celebration, which will be at noon on Friday at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson. Admission is free and no reservations are required.



Clarion Ledger
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:19 am

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State Obamacare enrollment up 2,000



Nearly 2,000 more Mississippians have signed up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act this year compared to the same period last year, according to data released last week by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Since open enrollment began Nov. 1, some 18,500 Mississippians have signed up, the federal agency said. In the same time period last year, only 16,515 Mississippians had enrolled, an increase of nearly 2,000 customers.



Daily Journal
12/6/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:17 am

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MDOT plan has little money for new projects



The Mississippi Department of Transportation recently released its Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan for 2017-20.

Noticeably absent from the STIP is new four-lane highway construction.

Officials with the agency have been saying for some time they barely have enough money to maintain the current transportation system – much less add to it.

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert said the newly released STIP proves that point.



Daily Journal
12/8/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:13 am

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Council drops resolution supporting new state flag



After weeks of on-again-off-again debate involving the Mississippi state flag, the City Council has abandoned a plan to urge the adoption of a new flag.

Tupelo City Council President Lynn Bryan has said since early November that the council would consider a formal resolution asking the state legislature to adopt a flag “that represents all people.”

However that proposed resolution was deleted without discussion during a Tuesday meeting from the council’s study agenda.



Daily Journal
12/8/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:10 am

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The MEC Connection Tour plays New Albany



The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) is on a tour to connect with local business owners, public officials and residents.

It’s all a part of the “Mississippi Connection Tour."

The event allows those who are there to voice their opinions about a variety of economic development topics.



WTVA
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:07 am

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WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

WDAM
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:06 am

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Judge merges 2 Mississippi mental health care suits



A federal judge is ordering that two lawsuits over Mississippi's mental health system be combined.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker Tuesday agreed to a request for the merger by Mississippi state government. A 2010 lawsuit challenges the state's mental health care for children, and the federal government sued earlier this year over mental health care for adults.

The central argument in each challenge is that Mississippi relies too much on psychiatric hospitals and doesn't provide enough care at home or in communities.



WTOK
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 8:03 am

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BRIAN PERRY / Wicker strengthens GOP


Two years ago, Mississippi’s Roger Wicker and Nevada’s Dean Heller fought for the sixth-highest leadership role in the Republican caucus of the U.S. Senate: Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The NRSC is tasked at defending Republican Senate seats and flipping Democratic seats. Wicker went into the NRSC chairman campaign as a dedicated rank-and-file member who had over the past cycle assisted with more than 40 fundraisers and raised $2.2 million, at the time the seventh most in the caucus.

Wicker defeated Heller to win the challenge of what was expected by most to be a losing proposition: defending 24 Republican seats to 10 Democratic seats; with seven Republican seats in states where President Barack Obama had won, twice. Democrats needed only five seats to take the majority. Preserving the Republican majority seemed unlikely. But Wicker told Roll Call in November 2014 that he would not concede any seats and expected to hold Republican seats in swing-states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and New Hampshire. (In 2016, the GOP did win all those states except New Hampshire where the incumbent narrowly lost to the Democratic governor.) Leading the NRSC on the staff side was Ward Baker, a Tennessee native who honed his voter mobilization strategy in executing Haley Barbour’s successful 2003 statewide GOTV plan.

Republicans did hold the majority, slipping from 54 seats to what will likely be 52 seats after the Louisiana run-off this Saturday on December 10.


Neshoba Democrat
12/7/16

Posted December 8, 2016 - 7:57 am

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Mississippi's senior US Senator and Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran is celebrating his birthday today.

Cochran, born this day in 1937, was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and is currently in his seventh term.


12/7/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 3:40 pm

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RELEASE:


Senate Passes Wicker’s ‘EUREKA’ Plan

Miss. Senator’s Alzheimer’s Proposal to be Signed Into Law in the Coming Days

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly passed a proposal authored by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to create prize-based competitions to encourage more public-private collaboration in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Wicker’s bill, the “Ensuring Useful Research Expenditures is Key for Alzheimer’s (EUREKA) Act,” is part of the “21st Century Cures Act.” Wicker served as Presiding Officer of the Senate during the final vote of 94-5. The legislative package now goes to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

“This is a world-changing piece of legislation,” Sen. Wicker said. “This major step toward curing diseases and advancing health-care research rivals the legislation that founded the National Institutes of Health. I know that many Americans, including my family, have been touched by Alzheimer's disease. I am pleased that my ‘EUREKA’ plan to help encourage Alzheimer’s research through prize competitions is part of the ‘Cures Act.’ These prizes would pay only for success, and they would complement current funding. As we enter this holiday season, patients, advocates, and providers have an extra reason to rejoice as this bill heads to the President’s desk.”

“With their ability to inspire citizen-innovators and incentivize new research and development, prizes have the potential to revolutionize breakthroughs in health-care diagnostics and treatment,” said Chris Frangione, Vice President of Prize Development for XPRIZE. “We applaud Senator Wicker and his efforts to include biomedical prize competitions in the 21st Century Cures Act. Such prizes can help agencies like NIH leverage innovators within and beyond the medical community, and energize efforts to combat devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s and related dementia.”

“Alzheimer’s Mississippi applauds the passage of Senator Wicker’s EUREKA Act as an innovative approach to reach new milestones in Alzheimer’s research and caregiver support,” said Patty Dunn, CEO of Alzheimer’s Mississippi. “Senator Wicker is a champion for Alzheimer’s policy, effecting change by advancing increases in research funding and elevating access to care and support services, on behalf of the 52,000 Mississippians living with Alzheimer’s and their 206,000 caregivers.”

The proposal would not replace other funding and research initiatives for Alzheimer’s but add another route for breakthroughs. The bill would require the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish prize challenges to combat our nation’s most devastating and costliest diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Prize challenges enable government sponsors to pay only when a prize team achieves specified goals or milestones. Although funds will be authorized and reserved for awards, prizes will only be granted when teams achieve clearly defined objectives, making the “EUREKA Act” a cost-effective tool to spur leading-edge research.

NIH has set a goal of curing Alzheimer’s by 2025. Today, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America and has a 100 percent fatality rate. According to a report released earlier this year, caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is estimated to cost the United States $226 billion in 2015, with one in five Medicare dollars spent on an Alzheimer’s victim. Unless a cure is found for Alzheimer’s, treatment costs are expected to grow to an estimated $1.1 trillion by 2050. In Mississippi, 12 percent of senior citizens have Alzheimer’s. The number of victims is expected to rise 27.5 percent by 2025, increasing from 51,000 to 65,000.

“EUREKA” is supported by more than 70 organizations, including the XPRIZE Foundation, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, Alzheimer's Association, Eli Lilly and Company, BrightFocus Foundation, and the MIND Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Wicker was also successful in adding the following health-care proposals to the “21st Century Cures Act:”

Speeding up the implementation of the “National Pediatric Research Network Act,” which became law in 2013, by requiring NIH to follow through on creating a national pediatric research network to expand access to clinical trials and treatments for children, especially those with rare diseases;
Increasing transparency and accountability within the drug and treatment review process, strengthening patient participation in FDA decisions; and
Establishing beneficiary equity in the Medicare hospital readmissions program.


12/7/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 2:22 pm

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RELEASE:


Thompson Statement on Kelly Pick to Run DHS

December 7, 2016 (WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement following reports that General John F. Kelly will be nominated to be the next Homeland Security Secretary:

“General Kelly’s depth of experience in managing large, complex organizations will be necessary for running a department with the size and complexity of DHS. Although I am troubled by his alarmist statements in the past on the security of our borders, I hope General Kelly’s decades of experience in working in government and with our international partners will be put to good use in the new Administration.”

“Unfortunately, the President-elect has created an uphill battle for DHS with his extreme rhetoric on many issues from immigration to terrorism, and some of his appointments seem to share these views. However, the Secretary of Homeland Security must be a measured, unbiased voice with our nation’s national security as top priority. I look forward to hearing more from the Secretary designee and the incoming Administration soon on how they want to lead the Department and keep the country secure.”


12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 1:32 pm

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A Letter From Senator Chris McDaniel

Dear Patriot,

It has been an honor to have your support during the past few years, just as it has been an honor to fight by your side. I am forever grateful for your friendship and dedication to liberty.

With that said, I have good news to report. Our efforts are making a difference in the battle to preserve Constitutional conservatism. However, we are just getting started, and we have much to do.

The group we formed in 2014, The United Conservatives Fund, has been incredibly busy, although under the radar.

Initially, during the 2015 election cycle, we struggled to establish our foundation due to the heavy workload of key volunteers. Many of them were involved in different elections in Mississippi and therefore lacked precious time. Indeed, things became so politically engaged that our efforts to unify the base became hindered. Consequently, we were not able to move forward with some projects as quickly as I had hoped. Then, in 2016, an unfortunate divide occurred between many of our conservative friends. Our unified base became temporarily divided between major presidential contenders. But thankfully, Hillary has been soundly defeated, and things are much better now as we prepare to march forward together into the future.

Despite some obstacles, we have been successful in numerous projects.

For example, in 2016, we worked to encourage new involvement in the MS GOP Precinct and County Conventions.

For the first time in our state’s history, a well-organized conservative effort was launched to increase participation in the Republican Party’s nomination process. Using UCF resources, we held meetings around the state, prepared legal documents and trained conservatives on how to participate in the Precinct and County Conventions. Our goals were simple: first, we wanted to energize the party with the involvement of new individuals; and second, we worked to get conservatives elected.

Not only did participation surge across the state, but we were also able to help real conservatives be successful.

While, we may not have achieved every conceivable goal, we were able to influence the conversation, while creating a foundation for success at following conventions.

Another accomplishment of 2016, one that meets our greatest need as conservative political advocates, was securing a multi-faceted voter data system that finally gives us the tools necessary to compete against already established political machines. Naturally, such systems are expensive to purchase, maintain, and update with new voter data, but they are a significant advancement for conservatives across Mississippi. We can use our system in elections at any level, but also in targeting voters to help advance policy, pass petitions, or other calls-to-action. Purchasing, maintaining, and updating such a complex system would not be possible without your kind support of UCF.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This week, we will begin consistent and detailed messaging efforts, starting with Call to Order, an electronic newsletter that will circulate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. Among other items, it will comprise the top news articles from the previous 48-hour cycle from trusted conservative sources -- a much-needed weapon to fight the established media’s inherent bias against conservatives.

Beginning this week, instead of being inundated by unreliable news sources, we will guarantee conservatives are receiving accurate news, data, and information on the issues important to our movement.

Then, beginning Thursday, you should receive our first installment of The Conservative Perspective. It will be our exclusive editorial and commentary report. We will have original articles that break down the issues and discuss them regarding how they impact government, culture, economics, and related topics. Other things The Conservative Perspective will include are:

• Reality Check – A “fact check” on things that have been said or done by politicians, pundits, and policymakers.
• The Constitution – An analysis and discussion from the conservative perspective of an issue impacting either Constitutional breach or restraint.
• On Camera – A place where we provide links to recent townhalls, speech clips or media interviews.
• Other items will include suggested readings, a statistical data section, and specific “calls to action” when we need to engage the people.

Once in place, I believe this will be a tremendous resource for the movement and a great membership tool for our organization.

Lastly, a few other small changes are taking place.

• This week, we will formally modify the name of United Conservatives Fund to United Conservatives. United Conservatives (UC) will be the member-led association by which we conduct our communications, build our county teams, grassroots structure, manage our voter database, conduct townhalls, and maintain and host our annual United Conservatives State Convention.
• Of course, we will be keeping United Conservatives Fund (UCF). However, it will strictly be utilized as a Political Action Committee (PAC) to support candidates and campaigns that UC endorses. The two will remain completely separate entities.
• During the past few months, we have established several working group committees, which are committed to updating our membership and organizational structure as well planning for our 2017 State Convention.

We have fought very hard to gain traction in our state and are making significant progress. Now, for the first time since 2014, I sincerely believe all the pieces are coming together.

We are uniting! And it is not about individuals, personalities or parties -- it is about our principles as conservatives: decentralization, Constitutional federalism, and a high moral tone.

We have an historic opportunity to unite conservative leaders from different political parties and all walks of life.

In closing, I hope that you’ll continue to stay engaged with us and become or remain an active member of United Conservatives.

If we are not unified, engaged, and working together for the betterment of our state and republic, then we will not be successful. I am committed to doing whatever it takes. You have shown the same commitment, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we move toward the 2018 and 2019 elections in our state.

In Liberty,

Sen. Chris McDaniel
Chairman, United Conservatives


Posted December 7, 2016 - 12:21 pm

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538 People Can Save 325 Million

An Open Letter to the Members of the Electoral College

NOTE: With the United States on Death Row, if this last-ditch attempt to gain a reprieve and save America from the catastrophe of a Trump Presidency is to have any chance of succeeding, the realization that Trump can still be blocked must reach the public and the Electors before it is too late. The most effective way to achieve this end would be a full-page ad in the New York Times, which would cost about $150,000. If a small number of concerned citizens with the means to do so will pay for the ad, we have a small chance of putting this plan into effect. Please contact me at mcelvrs@millsaps.edu if you would like to participate in this effort.

Dear Electors:

Surely all of you consider yourselves to be patriotic Americans. The time has come for you to act on that patriotism. You are the only people who can save our nation and the world from looming disaster.

Bob McElvaine
Millsaps College
DailyKos
12/7/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 9:37 am

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Legislator wants state’s universities out of ‘political’ NCAA


The forum, featuring Sens. Sean Tindell and Michael Watson and Reps. Doug McLeod and Scott DeLano, had been fairly tame with the four agreeing the Coast delegation was unified and prepared for a tough fight over BP funds; that some sort of education funding overhaul was inevitable; and that the state has to do something about its deteriorating roads and bridges.

But the religious-freedom question evoked strong emotions, particularly from McLeod, who represents Stone and George counties, who suggested it was time Mississippi’s universities break with the NCAA.

“I want our universities to break away from the NCAA,” he said. “It’s time. The NCAA is a political group that turns everything political.”

He said the NCAA was being hypocritical by taking away NCAA championship events from North Carolina because it passed a law prohibiting transgender males from using women’s restrooms but did nothing to Colorado when it legalized the “banned substance” marijuana.



SunHerald
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:59 am

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State education superintendent talks Coast schools, Trump, funding



Wright said she appreciates the debate over education funding, but deferred to legislators on its design.

“I think it’s always good to look at the formula,” she said. “I do think it’s kind of hard to put a finger on it since it hasn’t been fully funded.”

In discussions with legislators, she said, there’s been talk of using a “weighted” formula, which will allow additional funding for subgroups such as special education or English-learning students. She views that as positive.

“I think first a formula should be fair and equitable across the state,” she said. “We’re looking at providing the resources all children need. I think right now the formula doesn’t really address all those factors.”



SunHerald
12/7/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:50 am

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WXXV
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:29 am

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ROGER WICKER: Plenty of accomplishments in research bill



The House of Representatives has passed the “21st Century Cures Act” – a long-awaited bipartisan package of legislative items that promises to spur innovative medical research and remove barriers to groundbreaking new patient treatments.

The Senate is expected to consider the bill in the coming days, and I anticipate it will draw similarly strong support.

Several of my legislative priorities were included in the final version of “21st Century Cures.” One of these priorities is the development of prize competitions for research break- throughs. Last year, I authored the “EUREKA Act” as a way to help initiate prize competitions in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The bill earned the bipartisan endorsement of 62 lawmakers in the Senate. We all saw the potential for public-private partnerships to be a game-changer in Alzheimer’s research. The best minds should be put together to cure this devastating disease.



Daily Journal
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:21 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

WLBT
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:18 am

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Presley seeks break on rates for deployed military members



A Mississippi utility regulator wants to consider giving some active-duty members of the military breaks on their electrical and natural gas bills.

Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley Tuesday proposed that the commission consider requiring lower bills for service members deployed outside the country on active duty...


...Commissioners voted 3-0 to start examining the issue. Presley, a Democrat representing the northern district, says he'd like to vote on a plan as early as March.



WTOK
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:11 am

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Regulators delay vote on Mississippi Power coal ash plan



Mississippi utility regulators aren't quite ready to vote on an $82 million plan for Mississippi Power Co. to close coal ash disposal areas in Gulfport.

The Public Service Commission Tuesday delayed action on the plan until at least Dec. 15, questioning whether rules might change under incoming President Donald Trump.



WTOK
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:09 am

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Miss. lawyers: Don't revive lawsuit over Confederate emblem



Attorneys for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant are asking a federal appeals court to not revive a lawsuit that sought to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

State attorneys filed arguments Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

A federal district judge in September dismissed a lawsuit by Carlos Moore, rejecting his argument that the emblem is an unconstitutional vestige of slavery.



WTOK
12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:06 am

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Broadband consultants collect hefty fees as they push taxpayer-supported networks

Baltimore mayor-elect Catherine Pugh listed a litany of other municipal broadband failures in a 2013 op-ed in the Baltimore Sun when she served in the state Senate.

The Democrat pointed to Provo, Utah, which spent $40 million to build a network it would ultimately sell to Google Fiber for a $1, as well as Marietta and Groton, Connecticut, where taxpayers lost $38 million.

“For many local governments, the promise is seductive. A cottage industry of consultants and network builders — who stand to profit handsomely — sell the idea to misty-eyed government officials that building a municipal broadband network will spawn a local Silicon Valley microcosm that will be a monument to their incumbency,” she wrote. “But what they don’t see is that the economics of the grand venture doom it to likely failure.

“For the most part, municipally-built broadband networks have the economic chips stacked against them and, where tried, have saddled local taxpayers with a mountain of debt and half-built networks that are then sold at fire-sale prices to vulture investors,” Pugh continued.


Watchdog
12/7/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:05 am

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12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 8:00 am

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN STATEMENT ON NEW CONTINUING RESOLUTION



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today released the following statement on the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act introduced in the House of Representatives:



“Extending the continuing resolution into spring will allow Congress to work with the incoming administration on appropriations priorities for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. I remain committed to passing thoughtful, fiscally-responsible bills as this process goes forward.



“This continuing resolution will provide for continued government operations and important funding for our Armed Forces and the fight against terrorism. I am pleased that it also provides additional funding to address urgent needs around the country, including disaster recovery.”



The continuing resolution, which covers 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills, will maintain government operations at a rate of $1.070 trillion through April 28, 2017.



The bill includes the FY2017 Security Assistance Appropriations Act, which provides an additional $10.1 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding for the Department of Defense ($5.8 billion) and Department of State ($4.3 billion) to pay for costs related to counterterrorism operations.



In addition, the measure contains $4.1 billion for supplemental disaster relief funding for recovery efforts across the country. Of significance, the additional funding will support flood recovery efforts in Louisiana, West Virginia, and Texas, as well as disaster recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.



The legislation also includes a limited number of “anomalies,” which are programmatic or funding changes related to unique situations arising during the duration of the continuing resolution. Among them are provisions to maintain operational tempo and staffing necessary to address border security, immigration enforcement, aviation security, and protection of the President-elect.


12/6/16

Posted December 7, 2016 - 7:55 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker Meets With Commerce Secretary Nominee

Miss. Senator & Wilbur Ross Discuss Economic Growth Opportunities, Jobs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today met with Wilbur Ross regarding his nomination to be Secretary of Commerce under President-elect Trump.

“Mr. Ross and I discussed a variety of topics, including ways to spur economic development and create jobs” Wicker said. “After years of weak economic growth and unjustified federal regulations, American workers are ready for a resurgence. I am confident that Mr. Ross is up for that challenge. He is well-qualified to lead the Commerce Department, and I look forward to working with him to help make our economy great again.”

The Senate Commerce Committee has legislative jurisdiction for the Department of Commerce including nominations subject to Senate confirmation.


12/6/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 12:42 pm

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RELEASE:


Wicker Calls on Administration to Stop Issuing New Regulations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and 21 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama requesting his Administration stop issuing non-emergency rules and regulations in the final weeks of his term. Gardner and his colleagues stressed to the President that the American people made it clear on November 8th that they expect regulatory relief.

The letter reads in full:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to request your Administration cease issuing new, non-emergency rules and regulations given the recent election results of November 8. In a clear and direct repudiation of consistent regulatory overreach by federal agencies, the American people have, for the first time since 2007, handed control of both the executive and legislative branches of government to the same majority. It is our job now to determine the right balance between regulation and free market principles and make sure that our federal government no longer stands between Americans and financial success.

Whether it is the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule unfairly burdening our farmers and ranchers, the anti-coal rules eliminating thousands of jobs and driving up household energy costs, or the Dodd-Frank rules denying our small businesses access to capital, federal agencies continue to produce reams of new regulations that hurt our job creators and cripple our economy. But this flawed approach to governance has been rejected by the people.

Today, we have the opportunity to return to commonsense principles of regulation and curb unnecessary government interference in the private sector. In doing so, we will grow the economy, create jobs, and, above all, help the people who have been overlooked the past eight years. To this end, we respectfully request you honor the will of the American people and refrain from working on or issuing any new, non-emergency regulations while carrying out your remaining term in office.

The letter was also signed by Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; John Barrasso, M.D., R-Wyo.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Mike Rounds, R-S.D.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; David Perdue, R-Ga.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La.; and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

12/6/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 11:17 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker to Preside Over Senate During Vote on ‘Cures Act’



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., will serve as Presiding Officer of the Senate during the vote today on the “21st Century Cures Act.”

The Senate’s proceedings are aired live on CSPAN 2.

Several of Senator Wicker’s priorities are included in the “Cures Act,” including the creation of prize competitions for Alzheimer's research breakthroughs, titled “EUREKA Prize Competitions." The legislation also includes his “Patient-Focused Drug Development” legislation, which benefits patients by increasing transparency in the drug and treatment review process.


12/6/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 11:16 am

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RELEASE:



Miss. Delegation Commends Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Roy Robinson as New National Guard Association President

Miss. Lawmakers Recommended Meridian Native & Combat Veteran for Leadership Position


WASHINGTON – The Mississippi congressional delegation today commended Brig. Gen. (Ret.) J. Roy Robinson on his selection to be the next president of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the nation’s primary advocacy organization for the National Guard.

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Representatives Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., and Trent Kelly, R-Miss., in September endorsed Robinson to the NGAUS Board of Directors. Robinson, a native of Meridian and decorated combat veteran, has been executive director of the National Guard Association of Mississippi (NGAMS) since 2008.

“Given General Robinson’s track record of service and success, we are confident that he will continue the tradition of excellence in supporting the men and women currently serving in the Army and Air National Guard, their families and all Guard retirees ensuring that the National Guard has a strong voice not only in Washington, D.C., but throughout the nation,” the Mississippi congressional delegation said in recommending Robinson.

As the chief executive officer of the NGAUS, Robinson will be responsible for the association’s day-to-day operations in Washington and oversee the National Guard Educational Foundation.

A former commander of combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Assistant Adjutant General, Robinson has been an active member of the NGAMS and NGAUS since he commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1985. The Mississippi Military Family Relief Fund was enacted and expanded under Robinson’s leadership of the NAGMS.

Prior to joining NGAMS, he served at the Mississippi Military Department in such positions as Assistant Chief of Staff, Headquarters, State Area Command and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Joint Forces Headquarters.

Robinson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration from Jackson State University. He has also completed a United States Army War College Fellowship in Logistics and Acquisition at the Center for Strategic Analysis at University of Texas-Austin.

He and his wife, Susan, a retired teacher in the Rankin County School District, have three children and three grandchildren.



12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:25 am

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RELEASE:




Wicker Priorities Shine in ‘21st Century Cures’

Alzheimer’s Prize Competitions, Greater FDA Transparency in Major Research Bill


The House of Representatives has passed the “21st Century Cures Act” – a long-awaited bipartisan package of legislative items that promises to spur innovative medical research and remove barriers to groundbreaking new patient treatments. The Senate is expected to consider the bill in the coming days, and I anticipate it will draw similarly strong support.

A ‘EUREKA’ Moment

Several of my legislative priorities were included in the final version of “21st Century Cures.” One of these priorities is the development of prize competitions for research breakthroughs. Last year, I authored the “EUREKA Act” as a way to help initiate prize competitions in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The bill earned the bipartisan endorsement of 62 lawmakers in the Senate. We all saw the potential for public-private partnerships to be a game-changer in Alzheimer’s research. The best minds should be put together to cure this devastating disease.

The “21st Century Cures” bill has adopted my “EUREKA” approach with a section titled “EUREKA Prize Competitions.” Specifically, “21st Century Cures” would direct NIH to conduct prize competitions to address some of the world’s most complicated diseases, including Alzheimer’s. These prizes would pay only for success and would complement current funding. This effort could go a long way toward ending Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 – a goal set forth in the “National Alzheimer’s Project Act” of 2011.

A Better FDA Approval Process

“Cures” also contains good news for patients. A section on “Patient-Focused Drug Development,” for example, would support greater transparency in the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process. It would survey how data on patient experience is considered when approving a drug and share those findings with stakeholders.

Another section for a “National Pediatric Research Network” would improve pediatric care through the sharing of medical information. The creation of this network could broaden the resources available to children with rare diseases, giving them access to important trials and treatments. Both sections were inspired by legislation I have authored during the past two years.

Telehealth Initiatives Advance

We live in an age of unprecedented technology, which should be part of the solution for health problems and disparities. Mississippi has pioneered models for telehealth that promise to change the way we view patient monitoring and access to primary care, especially in remote areas. On November 29, the Senate passed the “ECHO Act,” which would use telehealth technology to bring specialty training to hometown doctors. These doctors could then help patients who might not receive such specialized treatment otherwise. Having sponsored several telehealth bills, such as the “CONNECT for Health Act,” I am pleased to see that these patient-focused policies are gaining steam.

Telehealth gets a boost in the “21st Century Cures Act,” and I hope we will soon add the bill to the long roster of bipartisan accomplishments during the 114th Congress, which already includes improvements to our highway system, water resources, and education.


12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:24 am

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Governor speaks on opportunities with trade, education commission



While trade with Israel is increasing, opening trade with Cuba is an idea that Gov. Bryant said should be approached with caution.

“We have to be careful on where we rush into,” said Governor Bryant. ”Cuba is still under communism… more than likely what Cuba believes is we’ll pump billions of dollars..into that country.. and if that’s the deal, I’m out of it.”



NewsMS
12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:19 am

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Jackson County Board of Supervisors borrow $20 million for road contracts



The Jackson County Board of Supervisors agreed to borrow $20 million for road projects on Monday citing the need to go ahead and a renew bond for projects in the county that need attention.

District 4 Supervisor Troy Ross started vigorous conversation saying, "I want to move forward as quickly as possible. Interest rates are at a point right now where we get more for the same amount and do more projects that have been needed here in the county forever. I want to lock these things in as quickly as possible."



Gulflive
12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:16 am

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PERS continues to slip



The Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System continues to spin its wheels in the mud as the latest actuarial report states that the program is only 60% funded.* The Board of Trustees received the news at the presentation of the annual report at the October board meeting. The actual report and video of the presentation are posted below. The nutshell version of the report is that the numbers that should be getting smaller are getting larger while the numbers that should be getting larger are getting smaller. In other words, PERS is going in the wrong direction.



Jackson Jambalaya
12/1/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:13 am

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From EmpowerMS Facebook event page:


Join us at the State Capitol on January 24 for the 2017 Mississippi School Choice Rally as we celebrate National School Choice Week.

More details on the event will be provided soon, but mark your calendar now.

If you are a school that is interested in participating, please contact Gina Metzger at gina@empowerms.org.


12/6/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:10 am

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Are laws needed to protect patients from sexual abuse?


The state Board of Medical Licensure voted Monday to study whether legislation is needed with regard to the problem of sexual abuse by physicians.

The decision comes in the wake of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution study that ranked Mississippi dead last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia when it comes to protecting patients from bad doctors, including the problem of physician sexual abuse.

In a Monday meeting, board member Dr. Randy Easterling called the article “greatly flawed,” saying the American Medical Association “already has a code of ethics that would prohibit this. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article shouldn’t be taken as gospel.”



Clarion Ledger
12/6/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 8:06 am

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Mississippi Capitol's north entrance to close for a year



The north entrance of the Mississippi Capitol will be closed for the next year during the rebuilding of the second-floor terrace above it.

The Department of Finance and Administration says the terrace is deteriorating from leaks.



WTOK
12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 7:58 am

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Charter schools to expand in Mississippi



Two Mississippi charter schools have gotten approval to expand enrollments, despite concerns over low test scores in one school's first year of operation.

The Charter School Authorizer Board Monday approved plans for RePublic Schools to expand its two middle schools in Jackson to 600 students apiece. Serving grades 5-8, ReImagine Prep and Smilow Prep were each previously approved for fewer than 500 students.



WTOK
12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 7:56 am

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RELEASE:


NGAUS Selects New Association President



WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2016) - The association that gives voice to National Guard officers in the nation's capital will soon have a new person running its day-to-day operations here.

The NGAUS board of directors has selected retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson of Mississippi to be the association's next president. He will succeed retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, who will step down in April. Robinson will begin his transition in February.

The NGAUS president serves as the association's chief executive officer. The position has daily responsibility for the 28-member NGAUS Washington staff, the NGAUS Insurance Trust and the National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF).

He is also the association's point man on Capitol Hill.

"General Hargett's retirement does leave some big shoes to fill," said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the NGAUS chairman of the board, "but we believe General Robinson has the skills, experience and leadership to build on the successes of the last seven years."

Robinson, a retired Army Guard officer, is the executive director of the National Guard Association of Mississippi, the largest state Guard officer association with more than 2,500 members. He served as NGAUS vice chair-Army from September 2014 to September 2016.

The Mississippi Army National Guard general retired from the military earlier this year after more than 30 years in uniform. His last assignment was as the assistant adjutant general-Army. Over the course of his career, he commanded troops at multiple levels, including the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq in 2005.

Robinson holds a masters of business administration from Jackson State University and worked in a series of sales and marketing positions before beginning full-time service with the Mississippi National Guard in 1995.

He will move to Washington with the respect and admiration of his state.



“General Robinson will do an excellent job leading NGAUS. Mississippi is proud of his accomplishments and he will represent the country well as president of this esteemed organization,” said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.



Hargett, a former Tennessee adjutant general, has been NGAUS president since 2010. His successes include several victories in Congress, namely the establishment of a Guard seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the creation of independent Army and Air Force commissions to look at future Guard roles and missions.


"General Hargett has been a true national leader in advancing the role of the National Guard and caring for our citizen-soldiers and their families," Hoyer said. "We wish him well in his future endeavors."


# # #


About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by petitioning Congress for more resources. Today, 138 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.

12/5/16

Posted December 6, 2016 - 7:51 am

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Replacing lost factory jobs in Mississippi

CBS
12/1/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:46 am

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State education leader to visit DeSoto County



Looking to highlight successes in public school education over the past year, Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Supt. Dr. Carey Wright is setting about a statewide tour to a select group of schools that have excelled in the classroom.

Wright’s tour will include what will likely be her first-ever visit to a DeSoto County school when she stops at Lewisburg Middle School on Friday, Dec. 16, the last day before DeSoto County School District students and teachers begin their Christmas vacation....



...The Dec. 16 visit is one of 167 stops the state education leader will make across Mississippi, beginning Monday, Dec. 5 at Vancleve High School and continuing through the month until Monday, Dec. 19, when Wright will end her trip at Oxford Middle School, which is part of the Oxford school district, an “A” district named the number one district in the state accountability testing.



Desoto Times
12/2/16


Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:36 am

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Musselwhite to run for re-election



Saying “I’m not done yet,” Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite Thursday announced his plans to run for re-election to another four-year term in 2017.

In a statement announcing his re-election campaign plans, Musselwhite said, “We’ve made great progress during my first term and spent a large amount of time correcting problems and completing pending projects.”



Desoto Times
12/1/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:35 am

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DAILY JOURNAL - OUR OPINION: Teacher incentives valuable for educational progress




The potential items being discussed for the upcoming session include funding for the School Recognition Program, which seeks to provide pay raises to teachers and other staff in A- and B-level schools, as well as in improving schools.

The program was part of the 2014 legislation that gave teachers a $2,500 across-the-board pay increase over a two-year period and raised the starting pay for teachers....




...Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, have said they support the 2017 Legislature funding the program.

Rewarding teachers for a job well done is something that can serve as a much-needed shot to the arm for some schools and provides an overall incentive for teachers to stay and do their best work right here in Mississippi.



Daily Journal
12/4/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:30 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: PERS’ deficit ‘mortgage’ ballooning, not shrinking



You know how a mortgage works right? You make your monthly payments and gradually your mortgage balance comes down.

Pat Robertson, executive director of the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), tells legislators and retirees to think of PERS’ massive $16.8 billion funding shortfall as a mortgage: “Having an unfunded liability (deficit) is analogous to having a mortgage and making mortgage payments faithfully every month.”

Well, PERS’ deficit “mortgage” does not work like yours and mine. Despite four years of payments, the balance has ballooned, not shrunk. And the number of years to pay off the mortgage has jumped from 30 to 40.6 years.




Daily Journal
12/4/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:26 am

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Sid Salter: Judicial elections are inherently partisan



All due respect, it’s almost laughable that Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James is blaming U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for her loss in a re-election bid on Nov. 8.

James, the incumbent appellate judge, lost that bid by more than 20,000 votes to challenger Latrice Westbrook — who defeated James 57 percent to 43 percent, or 86,525 to 65,145 votes.

How is that Thompson’s fault? James claims in a lawsuit she filed against the Democratic congressman and Westbrook that her challenger “willfully and unlawfully” formed an alliance with Thompson that led to Westbrook’s defeat of James in the election.



Clarion Ledger
12/4/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:22 am

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Will mental health suits be combined?



If Mississippi gets its way, a long-running case challenging the state’s mental health care for children could be rolled up with the more recent suit by the federal government over how the state provides mental health care for adults.

The federal government, though, is fighting that effort, saying the two cases should remain distinct.

The Troupe case was filed in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, alleging Mississippi was far too reliant on sending children away from their families to psychiatric institutions for mental health treatment. The adult case was filed in August, making similar accusations that adults were being confined in institutions instead of being offered care in community settings.



Clarion Ledger
12/4/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:21 am

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Jimmie Gates: Connie Cochran leaves with her head up




For almost as long as I have been a reporter in the Jackson area, Connie Cochran has been a Hinds County election commissioner.

Since I have known Cochran, she has been one of those individuals who would give you a straight answer. Even if she made a mistake on something — such as not ordering the number of ballots required by law — she would admit it.

After 24 years, Cochran will leave office at the end of this year. She was defeated in her re-election bid this year. Newcomer Yvonne Robinson Horton of Bolton defeated Cochran by 112 votes after all ballots were certified.

Cochran, a Republican, fell victim to changing demographics in the county and redistricting that took some of her traditional supporters out of District 4.



Clarion Ledger
12/4/16


Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:16 am

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Lawmaker wants crackdown on uninsured motorists



The Legislature in 2017 is expected to again tackle an age-old problem: uninsured motorists on Mississippi roads.

“What we are hoping to do is pass a bill that gives the authority for a tax collector to verify insurance coverage when someone renews their car tag,” said House Insurance Chairman Gary Chism, R-Columbus. “Now, over at (Department of Revenue) they have a new tag and title system that will adapt well to real-time insurance verification. … Just like now you can’t get your tag renewed if you owe money on your garbage bill — If they do not have liability insurance, they cannot renew their tag.”

Mississippi has had a compulsory auto liability insurance law since 2000, but it has not been strongly enforced for much of its life. That is likely to change in July, regardless of whether lawmakers pass an auto-tag renewal law.



Clarion Ledger
12/4/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 8:14 am

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Governor Phil Bryant is chair-elect of the Education Commission of the States.

Bryant made the announcement on the Paul Gallo Show Monday morning on SuperTalk Radio.

The Governor also serves as chairman of Jobs for America's Graduates.

Bryant expressed his intent to work with President-elect Donald Trump's Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos in these roles to positively change the education system, noting he had already discussed possibilities with Trump.


12/5/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 7:59 am

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Louisiana Senate race is next priority for Republicans



Sen. Roger Wicker led the successful campaign to retain GOP control of the Senate as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but he said this week his job isn’t done.



The Mississippi senator spent Monday in Louisiana trying to help fellow Republican John Kennedy in his bid for the Senate in next weekend's runoff election. Wicker plans to return Saturday to join Vice President-elect Mike Pence on the stump for Kennedy.



“It’s the only show in town and we’re taking it seriously," Wicker said.




USA Today
12/2/16

Posted December 5, 2016 - 7:51 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Supports Bill to Fund Military

Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act to continue funding our Military.

“Unfortunately, the world is not becoming a safer place but ever more dangerous. Which is why it is vital that we continue to support a strong national defense. The legislation passed today emphasizes military readiness efforts in Afghanistan and against ISIS. Furthermore, it ensures that our men and women in uniform have the tools and resources they need to do their job.

"The effects of the Obama administration’s policies have been detrimental and left us in a state of global uncertainty, where our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no longer trust us. Moving forward it’s now our job to reverse these harmful effects and solidify our international standing. And that means ensuring our military is not only the best in the world , but the greatest this world has ever known.”

The National Defense Authorization Act contains a 2.1% pay raise for troops, an increase from President Obama’s proposed 1.6% The bill also prohibits the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility and transfer of terrorism detainees to the United States. The bill contains $440 million dollars in additional funding for the Navy’s future LX (R) Amphibious Ship program which is currently under design by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, MS.


12/2/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 11:38 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Praises Fellow Marine ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as Defense Secretary

Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate retired General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense.

“President Trump could not have chosen a better person to serve as our next Secretary of Defense than my fellow Marine, General Jim Mattis. Marines lead the way.

“When it comes to our military, there is no room for the political correctness we’ve seen throughout the Obama administration, and no one knows that better than a fellow Marine. General Mattis has a no-nonsense attitude, which is exactly the type of leader we need as SECDEF. We have a lot of work to do when it comes to cleaning up the messes made by the past administration within our military, and I know he is the right man for the job.”


12/2/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 11:22 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker Statement on Trump’s Pick for Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s intention to name Gen. James Mattis as the next Secretary of Defense:

“I am pleased that the President-elect has chosen this legendary Marine to lead the Pentagon. Gen. Mattis is one of our nation’s leading military strategists and for good reason: He understands where military strategy and foreign policy intersect. I have always appreciated his candor and honesty during his many appearances before the Armed Services Committee. I look forward to meeting with Gen. Mattis to discuss the threats facing our country, and will work to ensure that he is confirmed by the Senate.”


12/2/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 10:45 am

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Facebook
11/30/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:35 am

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12/1/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:32 am

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PEER: Medicaid should focus more on cost with bidding



The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, examined Medicaid bidding process for the contract, and the way the current company handles complaints about service from the drivers it uses.

PEER recommends the state in its bidding process for the services “assign more weight” to cost and utilize better technology. PEER said Medicaid’s current contract weighted a bidder’s technical capabilities at 70 percent and cost at 30 percent.



Clarion Ledger
12/1/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:27 am

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After long hiatus, PEER watchdog panel running again




The state Legislature’s “watchdog” committee is back up and running after a long hiatus and has issued its first report since late 2015.

The committee had been defunct much of this year, with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves delaying his Senate appointments to the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER...



...The committee is made up of seven Senate and seven House members. They oversee a director and staff of – currently – 23 accountants and government experts who dig into state agency spending and operations. Chairmanship of the committee rotates between House and Senate members. Sen. Tommy Gollott, R-Biloxi is the new chairman.

“PEER does wonderful work,” Gollott said. “It helps the Legislature, and helps all the rest of the agencies throughout the state. When we get a letter or complaint, we go over it, see if it warrants an investigation and if it does, we’ll do it.”



Clarion Ledger
12/1/16


Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:23 am

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Gov. Bryant meets with Israel’s prime minister



Gov. Phil Bryant is still in Israel and Thursday he met with the country’s prime minister.

Bryant tweeted Thursday that he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.



WJTV
12/1/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:15 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker Votes to Extend Sanctions on Iran

Miss. Senator Says Obama’s Doctrine of ‘Strategic Patience’ Not Working



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today voted to extend economic sanctions on the Iranian regime through 2026. The sanctions will expire at the end of the year without congressional action.



“Allowing these sanctions to lapse would be a mistake,” Wicker said. “The current deal with Iran has only emboldened the regime. I am hopeful these sanctions will strengthen America’s hand in dealing with the Iranian government after President-elect Trump takes office in January.”



The Senate passed the measure today by a vote of 99-0. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 419-1. It now awaits President Obama’s signature to become law.


12/1/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:13 am

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RELEASE:




Committee Chair Recommendations for the 115th Congress

December 1, 2016|Speaker Ryan's Press Office












WASHINGTON—The House Republican Steering Committee today approved the following recommendations for committee chairs in the 115th Congress.

Agriculture: Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Appropriations: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Armed Services: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Budget: Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Education and the Workforce: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Energy and Commerce: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Financial Services: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Foreign Affairs: Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Homeland Security: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Judiciary: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Natural Resources: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Oversight and Government Reform: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Science, Space, and Technology: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Small Business: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Transportation and Infrastructure: Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Veterans’ Affairs: Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Ways and Means: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)

In addition, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has made the following committee chair appointments:

Administration: Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Ethics: Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)
Joint Economic Committee: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Intelligence: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rules: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

NOTE: These recommendations will be presented to the full House Republican Conference tomorrow for official ratification.


12/1/16

Posted December 2, 2016 - 8:09 am

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Bennie Thompson's Ballot by yallpolitics on Scribd



Posted December 2, 2016 - 6:44 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Supports 21st Century Cures


Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement after the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act.

“This bill is beneficial to South Mississippi hospitals and care facilities, but more importantly, it will benefit patients for years to come. We need a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem. This bill supports the advancement of medical innovation in our country, invests heavily in cancer research, and focuses on curing diseases rather than just treating them. This legislation is by no means perfect, but it puts patients and people ahead of politics, and for that reason, I was glad to support it.”

President & CEO Gary Marchand of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport:
“The provisions contained in the 21st Century Cures Act will provide Memorial with the flexibility to meet the healthcare needs of our community through our physician clinic network. The 21st Century Cures Act will also ensure that local demographics will be factored into readmission penalties for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries and will restore payments for core inpatient services. We sincerely thank Congressman Palazzo for his support of this important piece of legislation.”

Lee Voulters, M.D., President of Mississippi State Medical Association:
“The Mississippi State Medical Association stands behind the 21st Century Cures Bill, which would benefit many Mississippians through funding to combat a surmounting opioid crisis with community health programs and substance abuse prevention and treatment activities. The physicians who care for Mississippi are grateful for Congressman Palazzo’s support of this important piece of legislation.”

Evan Dillard, President and CEO, Forrest Health:
"Extension of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program for five years, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, is a positive step for the rural hospitals that were included in this program across the country. Forrest General Hospital and its’ board greatly appreciate the efforts of the House of Representatives in this step forward. We urge the United States Senate to pass this legislation in an expeditious manner before they adjourn for the year. We want to thank Representative Steven Palazzo for his tremendous support throughout this long process."

This bill will also extend the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program for five years. This provision is essential to hospitals such as Marion General in Columbia. It will alleviate pressure on smaller and more rural hospitals, that do not fall under the critical access designation, by providing increased Medicare reimbursements so they can serve their communities. It also would remove Obamacare provisions that penalize hospitals who serve the most underprivileged, in the most rural areas, operating under the lowest budgets. Furthermore, this bill will ensure flexibility in physician supervision for critical access hospitals and help keep their doors open.


11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 9:14 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker’s Alzheimer’s Initiative Passes House


‘EUREKA Act’ Moves One Step Closer to Becoming Law; Senate to Act Next Week



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today said that his proposal to create prize-based competitions to encourage more public-private collaboration in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, is close to becoming law. Wicker’s bill, the “Ensuring Useful Research Expenditures is Key for Alzheimer’s (EUREKA) Act,” is part of the bicameral, bipartisan “21st Century Cures Act,” which passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 392-26. The Senate could pass the legislation as early as December 6.

“Unless a cure is found for Alzheimer’s, treatment costs are expected to grow to an estimated $1.1 trillion by 2050,” Wicker said. “To put that in perspective, that is almost twice the amount of our nation’s current annual defense budget. The human cost on the other hand is incalculable. I have repeatedly said that it is time for an Alzheimer’s moonshot. We need to harness the power of the world’s best minds to find a cure and leave no stone left unturned.”

The proposal would not replace other funding and research initiatives for Alzheimer’s but add another route for breakthroughs. The bill would require the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish prize challenges informed by the research milestones contained in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

Prize challenges enable government sponsors to pay only when a prize team achieves specified goals or milestones. Although funds will be authorized and reserved for awards, prizes will only be granted when teams achieve clearly defined objectives, making the “EUREKA Act” a cost-effective tool to spur leading-edge research.

NIH has set a goal of curing Alzheimer’s by 2025. Today, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America and has a 100 percent fatality rate. According to a report released earlier this year, caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is estimated to cost the United States $226 billion in 2015, with one in five Medicare dollars spent on an Alzheimer’s victim. In Mississippi, 12 percent of senior citizens have Alzheimer’s. The number of victims is expected to rise 27.5 percent by 2025, increasing from 51,000 to 65,000.

“EUREKA” is supported by more than 70 organizations, including the XPRIZE Foundation, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, Alzheimer's Association, Eli Lilly and Company, BrightFocus Foundation, and the MIND Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Wicker was also successful in adding the following health-care proposals to the “21st Century Cures Act:”

Speeding up the implementation of the “National Pediatric Research Network Act,” which became law in 2013, by requiring NIH to follow through on creating a national pediatric research network to expand access to clinical trials and treatments for children, especially those with rare diseases;
Increasing transparency and accountability within the drug and treatment review process, strengthening patient participation in FDA decisions; and
Establishing beneficiary equity in the Medicare hospital readmissions program.


12/1/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 9:12 am

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CLARION LEDGER editorial: MHP needs more money or we all suffer: Our view



Lawmakers must realize MHP is facing a dire situation when it comes to staffing. And this isn’t an issue that can be blamed on too much administrative cost, inefficient management or some other excuse that provides political cover to kick the can down the road. No government agency or body is perfectly run or without issues — including (and some might argue especially) — the Legislature. But in the case of MHP, the numbers are stark and paint a clear picture.

Nobody should expect Mississippi to be able to pay as much as Texas or Florida pays, but lawmakers must accept that $18,000 is too low for a starting salary today, and working for 16 years before one can earn $50,000 for a job that requires ongoing training and that comes with life-threatening duties every day is far too long.

Yes, it will require money to fix this problem. Many of our problems require money, whether lawmakers or others are willing to publicly admit to as much. But, thankfully, lawmakers can invest in troopers with the assuredness it is a wise investment. It’s the missing piece to a puzzle that already includes strong community support, great interest in joining, exceptional training opportunities and the pride of being able to make a good living working in the places these men and women grew up or want to call home.



Clarion Ledger
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:49 am

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Legislature to look at 'blue lives matter, divorce laws



Adding Mississippi law enforcement officers as a protected class under the state’s hate-crime law is one of the judicial/legal issues the Legislature is expected to debate in 2017.

Targeting law enforcement officers for assault would lead to enhanced penalties under Mississippi's hate crime law if it passes, says Senate Judiciary A Chairman Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport...



...A 13-member task force has been reviewing Mississippi's civil asset forfeiture laws.

It plans to make recommendations to the Legislature and other agencies for amendments to protect innocent property owners, assure greater transparency, and provide greater due process while ensuring that assets used or obtained through unlawful practices are removed from the possession of criminals.



Clarion Ledger
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:46 am

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BOBBY HARRISON: ‘Suspicious minds’ remain disturbed by claimed plans to reform school funds



And currently there are a lot of “suspicious minds” in the education community in terms of the efforts of the legislative leadership, namely House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, to revamp or rewrite the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

The Adequate Education Program, of course, is the mechanism used to provide the bulk of the state’s share of funds for the basic operation of local school districts, whether it is paying the salary of teachers or paying to turn on the lights every morning or paying to clean the bathrooms.

Many in the education community are suspicious of the fact that Reeves and Gunn, basically out of the blue, announced in October that they were hiring little known, at least in these parts, EdBuild from New Jersey to help with the revamping of MAEP. And the plan is to have recommendations from EdBuild in hand for the 2017 session, starting in January, to make those possible revisions.



Daily Journal
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:41 am

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Teacher pay raise funding up for discussion



Some teachers and other staff in A and B schools, as well as in improving schools, could be getting a pay raise during the 2017 legislative session.

The School Recognition Program is part of the 2014 legislation that gave teachers a $2,500 across-the-board pay increase over a two-year period and raised the starting pay for teachers.

The program calls for A-level schools and those that increased a letter grade from the previous year to receive an additional $100 per student to go toward salaries. B schools would get an additional $75 per student. The schools receive a lump sum based on the amount of students, and school officials decide how best to distribute the funds among teachers and staff.

Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, have said they support the 2017 Legislature funding the program.



Daily Journal
12/1/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:39 am

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Facebook
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:37 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Clinton Trumped in Miss



Republican Donald J. Trump carried Mississippi with 57.9 percent of the vote for President of the United States on November 8, earning him Mississippi’s six votes in the Electoral College. He received a greater percentage of the vote than Republicans Mitt Romney in 2012 (55.3 percent) or John McCain in 2008 (56.2 percent), but fell short of President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 when Bush took 59.5 percent. Trump’s 700,714 raw votes bested Bush’s 684,981 votes from 2004; but, Trump fell short of the raw votes posted by Romney (710,746) and McCain (724,597).

In his two terms as President, Democrat Barack Obama never carried Mississippi. In 2012 he posted 562,949 votes for 43.8 percent of the vote; in 2008 his 554,662 votes gave him 43.0 percent. Democrat Hillary Clinton fell short of those numbers but did improve over John Kerry’s 2008 performance. Her 485,581 votes for 40.1 percent exceeded Kerry by 27,487 votes, or three-tenths of a point.



Neshoba Democrat
11/30/16


Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:34 am

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Appeals court candidate challenges loss



Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James is contesting her loss in the Nov. 8 election. James says her opponent violated state laws that require nonpartisan judicial races.

James filed a lawsuit Monday against Latrice Westbrooks, who won the election and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who campaigned for Westbrooks.

The lawsuit says Westbrooks and Thompson "willfully and intentionally" aligned themselves politically by appearing together at events and by distributing a sample ballot recommending that people support Thompson in the U.S. House race and Westbrooks in the judicial race.



WTOK
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:28 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX / WLBT
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:26 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:24 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX
11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:20 am

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RELEASE:



Miss. Senators, Gov. Bryant, UMMC Welcome Funding Approval for Statewide Emergency Communications System

State, UMMC Will Use $33 Million Grant to Improve Emergency Response Capabilities


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant today welcomed the release of $33 million in federal funding to allow the state to implement infrastructure to enhance coordination among emergency responders statewide.

The approval of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Project (BTOP) grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce ends years of negotiations among federal agencies, the Senators, the State of Mississippi, and others to advance this effort to improve the state’s emergency communications capabilities.

Permitting Mississippi to utilize the BTOP funding in this way will allow the state to increase utilization of the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) system, establish a state-of-the-art integrated public safety communications center, and advance the Mississippi Tele-Assist System. The award will extend through June 2020.

“Years of hard work, persistence, and a lot of patience have finally paid off,” Wicker said. “The promise this technology holds for Mississippians cannot be overstated. This high-tech emergency network will save lives. I especially want to thank Secretary Pritzker for working with us to navigate the regulatory and administrative hurdles necessary to get the green light. This is a major win for our state.”

“The need for a strong communications network is one of the many important lessons our state has learned from disaster response. This funding is important to ensure that emergency responders can offer timely and lifesaving care,” Cochran said. “I am pleased that we finally obtained the federal go-ahead to complete a project started nearly six years ago to build on Mississippi’s first-rate capabilities.”

“Systems that allow for quick and dependable communication among emergency personnel are essential to minimizing or eliminating loss of life and property in a disaster. It is critical that this technology be available to Mississippians. I am thankful to Senator Cochran, Senator Wicker, UMMC and everyone involved in making the funding for it a reality,” Bryant said.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) will play a key role in the completion of the project, as the state’s leading institution for advancing telehealth and emergency communications improvements. The integrated public safety complex will house an enhanced and expanded Mississippi MED-COM, a research and development center for mobile telemedicine applications, and an educational center on the use of technology for field deployment of emergency medicine applications. The grant will also help expand the UMMC-led Mississippi Tele-Assist System, which involves deploying emergency vehicles with the ability to transmit life-saving images.

“We are eager to do our part through training and coordination to improve care in our state, even in its most rural areas. This project builds on our already strong foundations in telehealth and emergency response, and will directly support our top mission – improving the health of all Mississippians,” said UMMC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. LouAnn Woodward.

The award of the federal funding would culminate a broadband project started in 2010 with the award of a $70 million BTOP grant to Mississippi. Despite nationally-significant achievement, the state’s progress was suspended in 2012 for the federal government to create a national interoperable broadband public safety network.

The Mississippi officials have expressed gratitude to officials from the Commerce Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other federal agencies for their flexibility and their recognition of Mississippi’s unique statewide interoperable communications network for first responders.



11/30/16

Posted December 1, 2016 - 8:17 am

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Posted November 30, 2016 - 10:58 am

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New focus placed on 3rd grade reading



Ashley Sheils, a former literacy specialist and coach, was named director of the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. She will provide technical assistance to communities hoping to create a partnership with the new effort. Currently, only Oxford/Lafayette County and Gulfport have a partnership, but officials say they have seen good results.

“We know that not all students have access to high-quality preschool programs and they need additional support between Kindergarten and 3rd grade,” said Dr. Angela Rutherford, director of the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction at the University of Mississippi. “Participating communities will have easy access to the national campaign and the proven and promising models, programs and strategies that have worked for students.”


MS Today
11/29/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 8:32 am

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U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper says recount is attempt to paint Trump win as ‘illegitimate’



U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., told a media gathering Monday that attempts by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Green Party candidate Jill Stein to get recounts in several swing states won by President-elect Donald Trump was an attempt to delegitimize the election results.

The Clinton and Stein campaigns are asking for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all states won by Trump. Stein is suing in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after the states refused to order hand recounts.

“It’s pretty obvious what the intent of the Democratic Party is,” Harper said. “That is to portray this as an illegitimate outcome of an election. The intent is to generate a story, by the Democrats, ‘gosh, he didn’t get the popular vote, he didn’t get the electoral college vote in time, so it’ll go to the House of Representatives where he’ll be the president, but not really.'”

“We’re beginning to see what will be a four-year effort to try to reduce his effectiveness.”



MS Watchdog
11/29/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 8:29 am

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Facebook
11/29/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 8:15 am

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Twitter
11/29/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 8:11 am

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Bryant to Legislature: Replenish Rainy Day fund



Forced to use the state’s so-called Rainy Day fund several times to balance the state budget last fiscal year, Gov. Phil Bryant is pleading with legislators to reign in their spending habits.

In his Executive Budget Recommendation released this month, Bryant asked legislators to spend no more than 98 percent of the revenue the state expects to collect this fiscal year.

The “98 Percent Rule,” in the Mississippi Code of 1972, requires that the total expenditures from the State’s General Fund “shall not exceed (98 percent) of the amount of general fund revenue” estimated for the following fiscal year.

The 2 percent left over can be deposited in the Working Cash-Stabilization Fund, commonly called the Rainy Day Fund. There is a 7.5 percent cap on general fund appropriation used to fill the Rainy Day fund, but there is no statutory minimum.



Daily Journal
11/30/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 8:02 am

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No state flag will fly outside new Tupelo Police Department for a year



TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - There was finally a meeting of the minds about the state flag at a Tupelo City council work session.

The council approved an amendment to fly a bicentennial flag in the new Tupelo Police Department for a year instead of the state flag.

Councilman Buddy Palmer suggested to fly the bicentennial flag after listening to some other councilmen's concerns.



WTVA
11/29/16

Posted November 30, 2016 - 5:48 am

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Court of Appeals

Wilson, Jack - 58%

Hannan, Ed - 42%



Posted November 30, 2016 - 5:44 am

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Supreme Court - North

Chamberlin, Bobby - 55%

Brady, John - 45%


Posted November 30, 2016 - 5:42 am

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State House - District 89

Scoggin, Donnie - 60%

Swindall, Ron - 40%



State House - District 106

Corley, John - 54%

Holcomb, Greg - 46%




Posted November 30, 2016 - 5:40 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker Highlights Importance of Advancing Telehealth

Miss. Senator Supports Legislation to Improve Primary Care Access, Cut Costs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today spoke in support of legislation to advance telehealth by creating opportunities for primary care clinicians to receive high-quality specialty training remotely. The bipartisan “ECHO Act,” S.2873, is authored by Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. The proposal, which passed the Senate by a vote of 97-0, would help patients in remote areas – such as rural Mississippi – gain better access to primary care.


Wicker went on to highlight his “CONNECT for Health Act,” which he introduced earlier this year with Sen. Schatz. The CONNECT bill would help with payment parity for telehealth services under the Medicare program. It would also allow for coverage of certain remote patient monitoring services – a model used by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson to expand access, improve quality, and reduce hospital admissions for some of Mississippi’s most underserved populations.


11/29/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 3:21 pm

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RELEASE:


Wicker Announces Support for Trump’s HHS Secretary Pick

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS):

“President-elect Trump could not have made a better choice for HHS Secretary. He is a distinguished public servant and uniquely qualified to lead the department. As an orthopedic surgeon, he has an intimate understanding of our nation’s health-care system. I enthusiastically support his nomination. I look forward to working with him to repeal Obamacare and replacing it with market-driven policies to lower costs and increase access to quality care.”

11/29/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 3:19 pm

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U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today announced that he is naming Brad White as the chief of staff, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

White has served as Cochran’s state director since June 2015. In his new position, White will advise the Senator and oversee his Senate office staff in Washington and Mississippi. White will replace Keith Heard, who has served as chief of staff during the 114th Congress and who will return to the private sector.

“I am optimistic about the new Congress and the new administration, and look forward to having Brad White as my chief of staff. My focus will remain on making Mississippi and our nation stronger and more secure,” Cochran said. “I am grateful to Keith Heard for his good service to my office and to the people of Mississippi. I wish him well as he begins a new chapter in his career.”

Prior to joining the Cochran staff, White was chief of staff at the Mississippi Department of Audit. In addition to serving as a member of the Republican National Committee, White was chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party from 2008 to 2011. Between 1999 and 2008, he held various positions within the Mississippi Transportation Commission, the Mississippi Public Service Commission and the Simpson County Economic Development Foundation. White, a native of Braxton, has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Belhaven University.

Senator Thad Cochran Press Release
11/29/16


Posted November 29, 2016 - 9:41 am

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Lottery buzz shifts from ‘no’ to ‘maybe’



A change in tone from state leaders in recent weeks, however, might change the prospects for the state’s residents in the near future.

In a complete reversal of philosophy from earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bryant last week wrote in his Executive Budget Recommendation that he is open “to a general discussion about the implementation of a lottery in Mississippi.”

Bryant’s only stipulation, however, is that any revenue generated from the lottery would not be earmarked for one specific line item in the state budget. Instead, the revenue would flow into the general fund. Other states, including the three neighboring states with the game, designate lottery revenues to public education funds.



Daily Journal
11/28/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 8:15 am

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Mayor travels to Israel to promote economic development



Mayor Jason Shelton is in Israel this week as part of a trip sponsored by the Mississippi Development Authority to foster international business investment in Mississippi.

Shelton is attending the weeklong trip at the invitation of the MDA.

In a letter to the Tupelo City Council earlier this month, the mayor described the trip as a “governor-led international business development mission.”



Daily Journal
11/29/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 8:10 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

WLBT
11/28/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 8:08 am

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Rep. Harper impressed with Trump picks so far



Harper said he's pleased Trump is considering retired Gen. David Patraeus as secretary of state and his former House colleagues Jeff Miller and Randy Forbes as picks to run Veterans Affairs and the Navy, respectively....


...Harper criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for joining in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's attempt to recount votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He said neither candidate stands a chance of overturning the results of Trump's win, but want to muddy the water, delay a final electoral vote and score political points before Trump takes office.

"I thought that Hillary Clinton had conceded the election, but now she is joining the effort of a third-party candidate that got — what — a percentage point of the vote?" Harper said. "It's pretty obvious what the intent of the Democratic Party is ... If three states cannot do their recount in time to declare, then you could technically say that Donald Trump didn't get to 306 (electoral votes) ... and portray this, and generate a story that what happened is, he didn't get the popular vote, didn't get the electoral vote and it will go to House of Representatives for the first time since 1824 and, yes, he'll be president, but not really ... That's the Democrats' intent."



Clarion Ledger
11/28/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 8:01 am

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Bryant appears receptive to Jackson's legislative needs



In his budget recommendation for the 2018 fiscal year, Gov. Phil Bryant acknowledged something promoters of Mississippi's capital city have often stressed: Jackson is the tree trunk from which grow the branches that make up each metro city.

If the base of the tree is unhealthy, the rest cannot thrive.

"Jackson's struggles are not a competitive advantage for neighboring jurisdictions; they are a cause for concern for the entire metro area," Bryant wrote. "But nor are Jackson's problems merely the byproduct of misperceptions. The challenges Jackson has with infrastructure and cost containment are real."



Clarion Ledger
11/28/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 7:57 am

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Mississippi has runoff elections Tuesday



The Supreme Court runoff in the northern district is between John Brady of Columbus, who's an attorney in private practice; and Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando, who's a circuit judge.

The Court of Appeals runoff in an east-central district is between challenger Ed Hannan and incumbent Jack Wilson. Both live in Madison.

One legislative runoff is in Jones County. The other is in Lamar and Pearl River counties.

Ron Swindall faces Donnie Scoggin in District 89. Greg Holcomb opposes John Corley in District 106.



WTOK
11/28/16

Posted November 29, 2016 - 7:22 am

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ROGER WICKER: Retain Gitmo for security of the nation



President Barack Obama promised on his second day in office to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. President-elect Donald Trump has campaigned to keep it open – a position I have continually supported in Congress, most recently in this year’s defense bill.

The defense bill, which passed the Senate with a wide bipartisan majority in June, includes a provision that would prohibit the President from closing the facility or transferring its detainees to the United States. This measure is in keeping with public opinion on the issue. Based on a CNN/ORC poll taken earlier this year, most Americans do not want Gitmo closed, and I agree with them. The world’s most dangerous terrorists should not be placed on U.S. soil in an effort to fulfill the President’s political goal before he leaves office.

I had an opportunity to tour the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base recently, and I met with many of our service members, including troops from Mississippi. I observed the utmost professionalism and patriotism from these dedicated men and women, who work every day to ensure the safety and well-being of Americans. Human rights organizations also visit Guantanamo regularly and they continue to find that the facility meets high international standards.



Daily Journal
11/28/16

Posted November 28, 2016 - 11:51 am

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