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RELEASE:


Wicker, Brown Work to Strengthen Pediatric Research Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have introduced new legislation aimed at speeding up the implementation of the “National Pediatric Research Network Act,” which became law in 2013. Brown and Wicker were the original authors of the current law.

“The 2013 law fundamentally changed the way that pediatric research findings are shared,” Wicker said. “It also equipped researchers with new resources to develop better treatments for thousands of American children – with the ultimate goal of finding cures for these devastating diseases. It is disappointing that the law’s implementation has faced numerous delays. This new legislation aims to rectify that problem so that families across the country can start to see the benefits of the law as soon as possible.”

"The National Pediatric Research Network Act has the power to improve pediatric care and expand opportunities for children and their families across the country by strengthening research and changing the way doctors and hospitals share information," said Brown. “But right now, children with rare and sometimes debilitating diseases are still waiting – with time they may not have – for this law to become a reality. It’s time to get this law off the ground so our nation’s hospitals can continue their important work to study and cure pediatric diseases.”

Specifically, the “Pediatric Research Improvement Act,” S. 3115, would strengthen current statute by requiring the National Institutes of Health (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. The law also enables NIH to coordinate research findings and more effectively use federal funds to study pediatric diseases.

Highlights of the current law include:

Providing the Director of NIH with the ability to create a National Pediatric Research Network in order to more effectively support pediatric research and optimize the use of federal resources;
Requiring the dissemination of scientific findings in order to ensure the knowledge gained through taxpayer resources is put to good use in helping find treatments and cures; and
Encouraging the Director to ensure that awards go to consortia that consider pediatric rare diseases and conduct clinical trials for prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of these rare diseases.


6/30/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 3:02 pm

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Posted June 30, 2016 - 12:19 pm

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Governor Phil Bryant Appoints Andre de Gruy Mississippi State Public Defender

Jackson, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed Andre de Gruy Mississippi state public defender.

The appointment is effective July 1. De Gruy will replaces Leslie Lee, who is retiring.

Since 2001, de Gruy has served as the director of the state public defender’s office’s capital defense division. Before that, he was an assistant public defender in Hinds County. His legal career started in 1990, as a staff attorney at the Mississippi Capital Defense Resource Center, where he worked until 1995.

“Andre has spent almost three decades ensuring indigent defendants’ constitutional right to legal counsel is fulfilled,” Gov. Bryant said. “That experience makes him uniquely qualified to lead the state public defender’s office, and I appreciate him accepting this appointment.”

As state public defender, de Gruy will manage a staff of attorneys in three divisions: capital defense counsel, which tries and assists in death penalty trials and appeals throughout the state; indigent appeals, which handles all felony indigent criminal appeals; and the training division, which is responsible for the training all of Mississippi's public defenders.

“I am honored by Gov. Bryant’s appointment and look forward to the opportunities and challenges we face in striving to ensure all people in Mississippi have comprehensive Constitutional protections,” de Gruy said.

De Gruy received a bachelor’s degree from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., in 1986. He graduated from Mississippi College School of Law in 1990. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Jackson. They have five children and one grandchild.

Gov. Phil Bryant Release
6/30/16


Posted June 30, 2016 - 11:27 am

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Final Order Reinstated in the Matter of Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins

Jackson, MS—On June 28, 2016, the Mississippi Court of Appeals handed down a decision reinstating a Secretary of State 2014 final order in the matter of Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins, individually. The Court found Watkins committed four (4) violations of the Mississippi Securities Act and also imposed penalties and remedies as a result of these violations.

“We are pleased the Mississippi Court of Appeals reinstated the original order issued by our Agency,” says Secretary Hosemann. “Yet again, this is another example of how the Secretary of State’s Office protects Mississippians, their investments and enforces Mississippi’s securities laws.”

In August 2010, David Watkins formed Retro Metro, LLC for the purpose of revitalizing the former “Belk Building” of the Metrocenter shopping center. David Watkins, as manager of Retro Metro, LLC, entered into a Development Agreement with Watkins Development to undertake the design-build project. The Development Agreement provided Watkins Development be paid a flat fee of $500,000 plus twenty-five percent (25%) of the “project costs” (a minimum of $1.125 million). The construction costs for the project were estimated to be $2.5 million. Watkins worked to secure bond financing, and the Bond documents representing the proceeds of the Bonds were to be used to revitalize the first floor of the “Belk Building.” The Bond documents did not disclose the $1.125 million financial liability of Retro Metro to Watkins Development.

On April 12, 2011, the financing was finalized and on the same day, Watkins wrote distribution checks totaling $400,000 (40 times initial contributions) to the six (6) members of Retro Metro.
On June 8, 2011, Watkins wired $587,084.34 from the Retro Metro checking account to a real estate closing account for an unrelated project of Watkins Development. The Bond repayment for the project defaulted in April 2012 and has remained one payment in default since said time.

“I am very pleased with the Court’s decision to affirm the Secretary of State’s final order,” says Leroy Walker, partner of RetroMetro, LLC. “The Secretary of State’s Office has been extremely professional in their due diligence in this matter and I am very appreciative. The three remaining partners were committed to fulfilling their obligation to finish the build-out for the City of Jackson borrowing $1.5 Million dollars to complete the project. This is a very good day for the partnership. This ruling further assists us in completing our goal for revitalizing the Metrocenter Mall.”

The Secretary of State’s 2014 final order found Watkins and Watkins Development failed to disclose the substantial financial liabilities of Retro Metro and had taken $587,000 of Retro Metro, LLC funds designated to renovate the “Belk Building”. These funds were used to purchase property in Meridian for an unrelated project of Watkins Development, in violation of Miss. Code Ann. § 75-71-501, Article 5 Fraud and Liabilities, of the Mississippi Securities Act of 2009.

Delbert Hosemann Release
6/30/16


Posted June 30, 2016 - 11:26 am

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Attorney General Jim Hood Announces Mississippi to Receive $150 Million Economic Damages Payment from BP

JACKSON, MISS.- The state of Mississippi is expected to receive $150 million from BP on Friday, representing the oil company’s first payment for economic damages resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, Attorney General Jim Hood announced today.

The payment comes three months after five Gulf Coast states, the federal government and BP finalized a nearly $20 billion settlement in federal court. The agreement is the largest environmental settlement in history. In all, Mississippi will receive approximately $2.2 billion in compensation from BP.

Attorney General Hood commended his staff and state agency employees for their years-long efforts to ensure Mississippi held BP accountable for its actions and that the state received appropriate compensation for economic recovery and coastal restoration.

Attorney General Hood said he remained committed to making sure that coastal counties and cities receive fair treatment from the settlement. As part of that commitment, Attorney General Hood reminded the Legislature that, despite a significant budget deficit, the $150 million in recoveries from BP should be directed for projects on the Coast. This initial payment – expected Friday and required to be delivered by BP no later than Sunday – is part of a total of $750 million for economic damages that Mississippi will receive over the next 17 years.

“After years of litigation and work to identify the economic damage caused by this catastrophe, we reached an agreement that would help to make our coastal communities whole again,” Attorney General Hood said. “However, I am deeply concerned that the state’s legislative leaders may use this payment to try to cover up their self-created budget hole.”

Attorney General Hood noted that the Legislature has already earmarked approximately $46 million from the $150 million disbursement. Legislative leaders would do a disservice to their coastal constituents if they use that money to fund anything other than areas impacted by the spill, he said.

“Those who created this budget emergency by providing self-serving tax cuts to big business should not use this money to cover up their mess at the expense of our neighbors on the Coast,” Attorney General Hood said.

Jim Hood Press Release
6/30/16




Posted June 30, 2016 - 10:09 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Trumping the Fair



First, the obvious: the crowd would be huge. Traffic would be backed up in every direction for hours. Single day ticket sales would surge. The racetrack would be packed as close to the stage as Secret Service would allow: an amazing spectacle.

As someone who loves politics at the Fair, I hope he does not come. He shouldn’t come.

The Neshoba County Fair begins the day after the Republican National Convention ends. This would be one of the first stops during the purely general election period of his campaign. There are more competitive areas to woo voters than Mississippi...



...But if Trump comes to the Fair he will endure endless accusations of racial insensitivity for speaking not far from the site of the 1964 murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. It is the enduring shame of Neshoba County. - See more at: http://onlinemadison.com/Content/EDITORIALS/Editorials/Article/PERRY-Trumping-the-Fair/3/3/38186#sthash.DouzCUa6.dpuf



Madison County Journal
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 7:03 am

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RELEASE:



COCHRAN URGES CONTINUED COOPERATION AS COMMITTEE AGAIN COMPLETES ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS BILLS

After Historically Early Start, All 12 Appropriations Bills Approved for the Second Straight Year


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today addressed the outlook for the FY2017 appropriations process following the committee’s successful approval of all 12 annual appropriations bills for the second straight year.


The twelfth and last FY2017 bill, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, was approved by the committee on Wednesday by a 30 to 0 vote. This is the earliest the committee has completed markups for the regular appropriations bills since 1988.


“I am pleased that the Appropriations Committee has completed its work on the 2017 bills, but our work is not done. All Senators should have an opportunity to consider these bills. That will require continued bipartisan cooperation as we move forward,” Cochran said.


“I thank the members of this committee and Majority Leader McConnell, who has made it a priority to designate floor time for all Senators to debate and amend these bills,” he said. “I also appreciate the cooperation of Vice Chairwoman Mikulski for the progress we’ve made this year.”


The committee has worked under an accelerated schedule, setting records for the earliest bill markups in years. Senate passage in May of the FY2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill was the earliest that a stand-alone appropriations bill has been approved by the Senate in more than 40 years. The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills have also been approved by the full Senate.


The Senate FY2017 appropriations bills were overwhelmingly bipartisan and were approved by a cumulative 345 to 15 vote in committee.


Last year, the committee approved all 12 of the regular appropriations measures for the first time since 2009. The measures were reported to the Senate by a combined vote of 277 to 83.


6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:59 am

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The Mississippi Municipal League elected their new leadership during the summer convention in Biloxi this week.

New MML president is Magee mayor Jimmy Clyde.

Clyde defeated Ocean Springs mayor Connie Moran in a runoff.



Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:56 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:54 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:51 am

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WTOK
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:47 am

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Clarion Ledger
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:33 am

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Prosecutor: 11 more could be indicted in Epps case



A federal prosecutor said Wednesday at least 10 more people will be indicted by July 18 in the corruption case of former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca told U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate during a status update that he expects 11 people to be indicted with 10 of those likely by the federal government and possibly referred to the state for possible indictment. LaMarca suggested those who could be indicted are employees of companies.

"Some know they are targets," LaMarca said. "We plan to have that wrapped up by July 18. We will announce by then who we will prosecute."



Clarion Ledger
6/29/16

Posted June 30, 2016 - 6:29 am

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RELEASE:


Mississippi Democratic Party Statement on Special Sine Die



Jackson, MS – Following sine die, Mississippi Democratic Party Chair, Bobby Moak, issued the following statement.



"House Democrats took the floor today to debate whether one-time funds taken from the Rainy Day Fund should be given carte blanche’ to the Governor to spend or go to specific areas where the state is now experiencing shortfalls and will experience shortfalls in the future. The Republican leadership whipped their members in line to stop debate on any amendments offered to address the shortfall problems they created."


"Democrats offered amendments to make sure disaster funds, mental health programs and potential Zika virus funds would be available and that drinking water, sewer systems and restaurants would continue to be inspected. Republicans killed all of those efforts. Republicans own this budget with all the shortfalls, tax breaks to out-of-state corporations and cuts in services to our local communities included. Their party line has been 'We knew what we were doing; we knew this would happen; and more is coming.'

"Democrats wanted to offer a logical and reasoned approach to continue funding local law enforcement, fire services, autism programs and mental health. They were stopped. Republicans will have to answer for that sooner rather than later.

"Democrats voted against final passage of this Special Session legislation because they did not want to turn a blind eye to the Republican leaderships' efforts to simply transfer taxpayer dollars to a fund just to make sure the state’s checks to corporations didn’t bounce. Democrats wanted taxpayer money to go to services for which they were raised in the first place."


6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 1:51 pm

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN ANNOUNCES $10.5 MILLION IN FEMA PREPAREDNESS GRANTS FOR MISSISSIPPI

$2.0 Million Awarded for Port Security at Pascagoula, Yellow Creek, Vicksburg & Gulfport

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today announced that Mississippi will receive more than $10.5 million in state and local preparedness grants, including more than $2.0 million for security measures at four ports.

The grants to Mississippi derive from FY2016 appropriations approved for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant programs to support state and local first responders and emergency management personnel.

“The Senate Appropriations Committee understands the importance of state and local first responders to homeland security. I am pleased that Mississippi organizations successfully competed for available funding to improve local and state emergency preparedness and public safety,” Cochran said.

Cochran is a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction over FEMA.

The following FEMA grants, totaling $10,524,466, were awarded to Mississippi:
· $4,556,932 in Emergency Management Performance Grant funding for the State of Mississippi to support state, local, and tribal emergency preparedness for the protection of life and property.
· $3,734,500 in State Homeland Security Program Grant formula funding to the State of Mississippi to implement state homeland security strategies, including mitigation, response and recovery from terrorism and other catastrophic events.
· $2,053,034 in competitive Port Security Grant Program funding to implement Area Maritime Transportation and Facility Security Plans to provide port security at four Mississippi ports: Pascagoula, $1.0 million; Tishomingo County/Yellow Creek Port/Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, $477,172; Vicksburg, $446,580; and, Gulfport, $129,282.
· $180,000 in competitive Operation Stonegarden Grant funding to support law enforcement agencies to strengthen border security and enforcement in states with land or international water borders. Three coastal counties will utilize this grant funding: Jackson County, $100,000; Hancock County, $40,000; and Harrison County, $40,000.

In February, Cochran encouraged state and local officials to apply for available FEMA grants, which could be used for emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation.

6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 1:07 pm

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"The Superintendent does not provide effective educational leadership"

*Attendance reporting. The audit states:

The District has failed to report attendance in accordance with the reporting guidelines outlined in Miss. Code Ann. § 37-13-91.

Findings include failure to report unlawful absences within the required timelines, failure to ensure that correct contact information is properly placed on the student attendance referrals, lack of approved policies and procedures related to unexcused absences and tardies, and failure to report suspensions to the MDE.

In addition, auditors reviewing student records viewed documentation of students being absent for as many as 90 days and still passing courses and earned Carnegie units. (p.39)


Kingfish
6/29/16


Posted June 29, 2016 - 12:31 pm

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Governor Phil Bryant Comments on Special Sine Die

Statement of Gov. Bryant:

“It's regrettable that the grandstanding of the House Democrats cost taxpayers an additional $30,000. I am grateful to the leadership of the Senate and the House for doing their job and allowing me to do mine -- balance the state budget.”

Gov. Bryant Release
6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 12:12 pm

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State Rep. Steve Holland, a self described "frickin' total out of the closet liberal" Democrat, announced on the floor of the Mississippi House today that he will be filing his resignation papers as of 5pm on Thursday.

Holland is known for his wit and stories over his 33 years in the House representing Lee County.

Holland left the well of the chamber by saying, "Thank you. I love every one of you, but some of you I love more than others."

Holland later walked back his announcement, telling Capitol reporters it was an 85% chance he retired.

6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 10:46 am

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State Sen. Angela Hill was one of three Republicans who joined Democrats in voting against the special session budget bill on Tuesday. The other two were senators Chris McDaniel and Michael Watson.

Hill appeared on the JT Show on SuperTalk on Wednesday stating that, despite understanding that the state must meet its debt obligations, she voted against the bill because she wanted to wait and see how the revenues came in before addressing the issue coupled with the idea that she believes more can be trimmed from state agencies.

Hill expressed that she hated to go into the rainy day fund when there was the possibility to delve into state agency budgets more closely and cut unnecessary items such as consultants, conferences and the like.

Sen. Hill noted her appreciation for the way Senate leadership handled the special session and the bill even though she voted against it.


6/29/16



Posted June 29, 2016 - 9:47 am

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Hudson wins seat to succeed Coleman in Mississippi House



Abe Marshall Hudson Jr. of Shelby has won a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Unofficial results show Hudson received 1,250 votes and Earl S. Lucas of Mound Bayou received 739 votes in a special election runoff Tuesday. They ran in District 29 in Bolivar and Sunflower counties.

Hudson will fill the final 3 ½ years of a term started by former Rep. Linda Coleman, a Democrat who had served since 1992. She left the House in March after being sworn in as a circuit judge, a nonpartisan post to which she was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant.



The Republic
6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 9:32 am

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Need less frivolity, much more substance in Jackson



Sec. Hosemann’s greatest source of frustration, like many others, is Gov. Phil Bryant’s economic deals such as the Continental Tire fiasco in which he gave away the store for little in return.

Sec. Hosemann pointed out that for the money Gov. Bryant handed over to the tire manufacturer he could have given $100,000 to 30 businesses in EVERY Mississippi county.

“That would have created a lot more revenue and certainly more new jobs,” Hosemann said...



...Sen. Brice Wiggins, also a Republican, joined Democrat Rep. David Baria in a separate discussion with MPA members voicing their frustration over the last session.

Sen. Wiggins said he was disappointed with all the unnecessary “guns, God, and gays” bills legislators had to deal with rather than issues more critical to our state’s future such as education and our crumbling infrastructure.



Calhoun County The Journal
6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 8:42 am

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Donald Trump's Mississippi campaign manager Mitch Tyner told Paul Gallo on SuperTalk Wednesday morning that he sees no real effort underway to replace Trump as the Republican nominee at the upcoming Republican National Convention. He said Mississippi's GOP delegates were all supportive of Trump and excited about the convention.

As to the prospect that Trump may attend the Neshoba County Fair, Tyner told Gallo the Secret Service did not like the idea but he and others, including Gov. Phil Bryant, were still trying to make it happen, noting Ronald Reagan's visit during his successful White House run.

Tyner said he believes their ground game is far superior to that of Democrat Hillary Clinton's in state effort.

As for the national polls showing Clinton trouncing Trump, Tyner dismissed them saying he doesn't believe the polls and that it is the liberal media trying to prop up Clinton.


6/29/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:22 am

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RELEASE:



Wicker: Democrats Block Funding for Veterans, Zika


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., issued the following statement after Senate Democrats obstructed critical funding to address the Zika health crisis and support America’s veterans and vital military construction projects:

“Everyone agrees that combating the Zika virus is a public health priority,” Wicker said. “It is disappointing that Senate Democrats are letting politics get in the way of ensuring the safety and well-being of all Americans threatened by this disease. They have also halted increased funding for our veterans. I urge Democrats to reconsider their position and stop standing in the way of these important priorities.”

Last month, every Senate Democrat joined Republicans in supporting a bipartisan amendment authored by Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., to provide $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus. The conference report, which includes the agreed-upon $1.1 billion for fighting Zika, would also fund military construction and programs for veterans. This was included in appropriations legislation that passed the Senate last month by a vote of 89-8.

In Mississippi, three cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed – each one travel-related. Health officials have reported that the virus can be transmitted through the Aedes albopictus mosquito, which can be found in many parts of the state.


6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:15 am

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House lawmakers continue fight over catfish inspections



Gulf Coast lawmakers, including Mississippi Reps. Bennie Thompson and Trent Kelly, have ramped up efforts to keep catfish inspections under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Their opponents have countered with a campaign that seeks a House vote on a proposal that would shift inspections back to the Food and Drug Administration.

Lawmakers on both sides have partnered with special-interest groups and have made their case in letters to House leaders and at press conferences.



Hattiesburg American
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:13 am

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Clarion Ledger
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:07 am

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Clarion Ledger
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:04 am

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Clarion Ledger
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 7:01 am

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State Sen. Brice Wiggins: Mississippi’s ‘laboratory of democracy’ deserves notice



Over the next 10 years, it is projected that this reform package will save the state taxpayers an estimated $266 million. In addition, it will avert any potential increase in the prison population of Mississippi.

In fact, since 2013, Mississippi’s prison population has declined for two years in a row, a total of 11 percent...



...The bottom line is that this pioneering criminal justice system has proven to work in Mississippi, Texas and other conservative red states.

As conservatives, we pride ourselves on valuing the states as “laboratories of democracy.” Take a bottom-up approach to governing and borrow from proven programs in the states.


SunHerald
6/28/16



Posted June 29, 2016 - 6:49 am

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WTOK
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 6:37 am

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WTOK
6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 6:31 am

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RELEASE:


"I realize my remarks to Mrs. Nichols were completely insensitive and out of line," said Rep. Jeff Guice (R-Ocean Springs). " I am sorry and deeply regret my reply. I know nothing about her and her family and replied in a knee-jerk fashion. I'd like to think the people of Mississippi and my constituents know that I'm willing to help where I am able."


6/28/16

Posted June 29, 2016 - 6:28 am

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Tweet from Clarion Ledger editor Sam Hall...


Sam Hall on Special Session Dems photo image_zps9dinudnn.jpeg


6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 3:07 pm

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From the Mississippi Democratic Trust:



Friend,
Unless you follow things really closely, you may be the slightest bit confused as to why the Mississippi Legislature was called to session in late June. Bear with me while I try to talk it through.

You don't have to follow things really closely to know this: Legislative Republicans really mucked up our state budget.

And now, after 5 years of legislative control from Tate Reeves and Philip Gunn, our budget is in a real crisis. In between all of the hateful legislation and corporate handouts, Republican leaders forgot to do the simple math, and now Mississippi taxpayers are taking the hit.

Reeves and Gunn will tell you that thanks to their leadership, we have a rainy day fund to support this mistake. But they are poised to completely free up that money for Governor Bryant's discretion -- a man I wouldn't trust to buy me a coke from the machine.

So, the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor will hand over our taxes to put a bandaid where we need a tourniquet.

By the end of this week. our rainy day fund may very well be close to total depletion, as if our economic outlook is anything other than stormy. Next year, we face even more speed bumps toward state growth; they've already painted themselves into a $57 million deficit due to a "mistake."

If I sound gloom and doom, then you're catching my proper tone.

But I'm also here to tell you it doesn't have to be this way. Our legislative Democrats are fighting with all of their might to make sure our funding sticks with mental health, public schools, and roads and bridges, not more handouts for folks who already have plenty of incentives. Replacing these leaders and their lieutenants is a top priority for the Mississippi Democratic Trust. And we need your help right now, to keep gas in the tank to find the next great candidate, and to provide structural support for Democrats in the House and Senate.







Democratically,

David McDowell
Executive Director
Mississippi Democratic Trust

PS: As I write this from the gallery, Speaker Gunn decided to adjourn until 9:00 am tomorrow, costing the taxpayers a whole extra day of work. It's 2:16 on a Tuesday. Let's get rid of leaders like that.


6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 1:24 pm

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Mississippi House Republican Caucus issued this statement following the House Democrats block of the special session budget bill:

House Repub special session photo image_zpstl9phviu.jpeg

6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 1:18 pm

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House Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature blocked a motion to suspend the rules Tuesday not allowing the chamber to take up the special session budget bill.

This will add day at least one day to special session costing the state more of your tax dollars.


6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 1:13 pm

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Republican state senators Angela Hill, Chris McDaniel and Michael Watson voted with Democrats and against Gov. Phil Bryant's special session bill to balance the state budget.

The vote tally was 33-14 to advance the bill onto the House.

Democrat Sen. Hob Bryan held the bill on a motion to reconsider.


6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 11:28 am

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RELEASE:


MSGOP Responds to Democratic Press Conference


JACKSON, MS – Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef released the following statement following a press conference held today by Democratic legislators at the Mississippi State Capitol regarding the state’s budget:



"It's amusing but not surprising that what's left of the Democrat Party in the legislature is breathlessly attacking our Republican leadership for its focus on tax cuts as a priority. The problem is these same Democrat legislators who are now criticizing tax cuts actually voted in FAVOR of them in prior legislative sessions. I suppose they were for them before they were against them?"




6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 11:25 am

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The 2016 Mississippi Congressional races look to be yawners as we head down the stretch to November.

No challenger in the four Congressional Districts has been able to muster anywhere close to the financial backing of the incumbents, buoying the notion that the general election was all but decided when the qualifying period ended.

Two of the four challengers seemingly didn’t file their required financial reports and a third filed but showed no contributions, no expenditures, and no cash on hand.

The only challenger who appears to be attempting an actual run is the Democrat from the Fourth District, Mark Gladney. However, given the numbers below it will more than likely be in vain.

Here is a quick look at the April 2016 Federal Election Commission campaign reports showing fundraising from the first quarter of this year:

MS01:

Incumbent Trent Kelly (R) reported $178,157 cash on hand with $24,000 from individual contributions and $51,500 from PACs this period. No party committee contribution was reported.

No report for Democrat challenger Jacob Owens was listed on the FEC website.

MS02:

Incumbent Bennie Thompson (D) reported $1,370,813 cash on hand with $82,500 coming from PACs and $3,800 from individuals this period. No party committee contribution was reported. Thompson’s cash on hand, due in large part to his long tenure, far outpaces that of his Mississippi Congressional colleagues.

Republican challenger John Bouie showed no contributions or expenditures with no cash on hand.

MS03:

Incumbent Gregg Harper (R) reported $482,135 cash on hand with $30,225 from individual contributions and $54,000 from PACs this period. No party committee contribution was reported. Harper leads his Republican colleagues in state.

No report for Democrat challenger Dennis Quinn was listed on the FEC website.

MS04:

Incumbent Steven Palazzo (R) reported $256,981 cash on hand with $3,750 from individual contributions and $28,500 from PACs this period. No party committee contribution was reported.

Mark Gladney, the Democrat challenger, reported $14,859 cash on hand with $7,353 coming from individual contributions. The Mississippi Democrat Party donated $2,500 in-kind for Votebuilder access to Gladney’s campaign while three labor unions combined for $10,000 – IBEW PAC $5,000, Plumbers and Pipefitters PAC $2,500, and UA Political Education Committee (journeymen and apprentices union) $2,500.

The next reporting period is just weeks away, but these numbers are not likely to significantly change in any way that would give the challengers a viable shot at raising their name ID or selling their message to voters.

Let’s call this Congressional election a wrap, shall we?


Posted June 28, 2016 - 10:20 am

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Supreme Court denies Mississippi, Wisconsin abortion appeals



The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin seeking to put in place restrictions on abortion clinics that were struck down by lower courts.

The justices on Tuesday refused to hear appeals involving laws that would have forced doctors who perform abortions at clinics in the two states to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.



Clarion Ledger
6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 9:35 am

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State representative to mom: Buy your own meds



Monday, Nicole Nichols sent an email to each representative, asking for help in obtaining her diabetic daughter's insulin pump supplies...


...While the supply company was covered by Medicaid, the company they outsourced to was not. Nichols said she called 23 companies to find one that was both covered by Medicaid and in the original company's approved network. She has yet to find one...


...She said Jeffrey Guice is the only representative who responded negatively.

His response was not the one Nichols was expecting.

Guice responded, "I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?"



Clarion Ledger
6/28/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 9:23 am

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RELEASE:


Secretary Hosemann to Co-Chair Republican National Convention Platform Subcommittee

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was selected as co-chair on the 2016 Republican National Convention Platform Subcommittee to draft the position on the platform "Jobs, Economy and National Debt". Secretary Hosemann serves alongside fellow co-chairs, Andy Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., and Joe Gruters, C.P.A., Florida Chairman for the Trump Campaign.

"It is an honor to serve as co-chair of the Jobs, Economy and National Debt subcommittee," says Secretary Hosemann. "Some of the most important issues facing our nation are improving the economy, jobs and reducing the national deficit. Mississippi should have a seat at the table when these issues are discussed."

The subcommittee will present this platform at the Republican National Convention.

Senator John Barraso (R-WY) will serve as chairman of the Platform Committee. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Congresswoman Virginia Fox (R-NC) will serve as co-chairs.


6/27/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 5:23 am

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Hosemann to start searchable campaign finance system



Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he plans to roll out a "searchable" online campaign finance filing system for state elections on Sept. 27.

The system will be voluntary for candidates and committees. Hosemann said he lacks authority to make it mandatory. Those who wish to mail or fax paper reports -- even handwritten ones -- can continue to do so, but Hosemann said he expects "the more tech savvy" candidates for statewide, legislative, judicial and other races will choose to use the new system. They can fill out templates on the secretary of state's website.



ClarionLedger
6/27/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 5:20 am

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Column by Mississippi State Board of Education: Mississippi students achieve historic gains



The Mississippi State Board of Education reported at its June meeting that that state’s graduation rate is on the rise, our dropout rate is declining, and our state’s youngest learners achieved even greater gains than last year.

Upon hearing all of this good news, one board member remarked, “It’s a good day in Mississippi.” We couldn’t agree more...,



...Mississippi is now receiving positive, national attention for our students’ accomplishments. Educators from around the county are looking to Mississippi to learn what our schools and teachers are doing so they can replicate our strategies in their states. We are more than happy to help them because our state for so many years found itself asking for the same kind of help.



ClarionLedger
6/27/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 5:16 am

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Tea Party disbands in South Mississippi



The South Mississippi Tea Party is no more....


...“I’m just worn out,” said former Chairman Barry Neyrey, a computer programmer by trade. “We’re all worn out. Most of our members are older people.”

He said other groups, such as Americans For Prosperity, have much younger leadership to fight for conservative causes.



SunHerald
6/22/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 5:09 am

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Appeals court opens way for Mississippi to resume executions



Mississippi could be able to resume executions early next month after an appeals court denied to rehear a case challenging a drug the state plans to use in lethal injections.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday denied the motion by Ricky Chase, Richard Jordan and Thomas Loden Jr. to have the entire court reconsider a February ruling by a three-judge appeals panel. Jordan and Loden have exhausted their appeals, meaning Attorney General Jim Hood could ask the state Supreme Court to set execution dates.



WJTV
6/27/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 5:01 am

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WTOK
6/27/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 4:59 am

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Coast lawmakers expect fireworks during special session



"It's extremely critical. We have a budget shortfall and it's something we have to address," said Republican State Senator Sean Tindell of Gulfport. "We've put it off as long as we can, hoping projections and what's coming in would change. As it is now, there's a shortfall and we have to deal with it."...


..."If they think we're just going to go up there and say 'aye' and come home, they're wrong. We need information not only for this year's budget, but for next year, which is going to be worse," Baria said.

Senator Sean Tindell fully expects a partisan battle to break out during the special session.

"I'm sure some of those on the other side are going to take the opportunity to [stand] against tax cuts and things of that nature. Unfortunately, the economy has not done as well as expected. There are signs that it is bouncing back, but that's not going to stop them from having a dog and pony show," said Tindell



WLOX
6/27/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 4:52 am

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Judge blocks part of House Bill 1523



JACKSON, Miss. (AP)
A federal judge has ruled that Mississippi clerks cannot cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' ruling Monday blocks the state from enforcing part of a religious objections bill that was supposed to become law Friday.

Reeves is extending his previous order that overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage. He says circuit clerks are required to provide equal treatment for all couples, gay or straight.


WTOK
6/27/16



Posted June 28, 2016 - 4:50 am

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RELEASE:


STATEMENT OF LT. GOV. REEVES ON DECISION REGARDING HOUSE BILL 1523

“If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their 1st Amendment rights,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “I hope the state’s attorneys will quickly appeal this decision to the 5th Circuit to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of all Mississippians.”



6/27/16

Posted June 28, 2016 - 4:47 am

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BIPEC Recommends John Brady for Supreme Court

Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) Chairman Randy Easterling, MD and BIPEC President Derek Easley announced today that the organization recommends John Brady for the Mississippi Supreme Court. Brady is running in the seat that Supreme Court Justice Ann Lamar is vacating in January.

“It is extremely important to BIPEC members and their representative trade and professional associations that we support candidates willing to uphold the constitutional separation of powers which distinguishes the intent, charge and actions of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government,” said Easterling. “John will make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice and will represent our state with dignity and integrity.”
Easley stated, “In order for Mississippi’s economy to grow and for jobs to be created, we must have an impartial, fair and rule-of-law judiciary. BIPEC believes that John Brady will adhere to these principles while serving on Mississippi’s highest court.”

Brady stated, “It is truly an honor for me to be recommended by one of the most sought after recommendations for judicial candidates.”

Brady continued, "BIPEC is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when Mississippians, with different professional backgrounds, come together to strengthen our state.

A few years ago and tens of millions of dollars ago, BIPEC helped lead the effort to make changes in our state so that it would not be referred to as a state of jackpot justice any longer. As we all know, some in the judicial branch would twist the law to yield a specific outcome, rather than simply applying the law to the facts. My philosophy, and that of businesses, industry and physicians, is contrary to that approach. We believe that members of the judicial branch should apply the law to the facts so that the outcome will be correct, according to our laws. We do not want an activist court again."

Brady is a Columbus Business Defense Attorney who is running against current Columbus Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens, current Hernando Circuit Court Judge and former Senator Bobby Chamberlin and Tupelo attorney Steve Crampton.

Brady is a shareholder in the Columbus office of Mitchell, McNutt & Sams law firm. Brady has extensive trial experience in both Mississippi and federal courts where he has successfully defended individuals and businesses who have been sued.

Brady and his wife Jennifer, who is originally from Southaven, have two daughters Rachel and Hannah.

BIPEC is a nonprofit association comprised of individuals, trade associations and companies who unite to protect and advance free enterprise through research, education, and member action. BIPEC’s purpose is to learn backgrounds, voting records and key positions of members and candidates for the Mississippi Legislature, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, disseminate credible research findings to BIPEC members, educate BIPEC's membership network on the impact that legislator and judge-made decisions have on Mississippi's economic growth, business attractiveness and general prosperity of the State's employers, and to expand distribution of educational research data to the public arena when deemed appropriate for greater awareness of membership concerns and issues.

BIPEC Release
6/27/16


Posted June 27, 2016 - 12:52 pm

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From Mississippi Democrat Party email:


Dear ______,


I’m ready to work with you to make sure our level-headed, common sense answers to problems created by the Republican leadership reaches all Mississippians.

Republicans have used 'buzz words,' not facts, to sell their failed ideas. It's time we show our friends and neighbors the true disfunction of the failed policies Republicans in government have brought to Mississippi - from cities, to counties, to the state legislature.

Please join me. One way is to offer local support, another is financial. It doesn’t have to be big. Twenty bucks a month goes a long way. Please consider joining as a yellow dog – and if you can’t afford it – raise it! It’s that important.

Feel free to call our office and talk to us about issues that concern you.


Sincerely,

Bobby Moak



6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 12:35 pm

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Former state senator Tommy Robertson to spend two years in prison for embezzlement



Former state senator Tommy Robertson of Moss Point will spend two years in prison for his guilty plea to embezzling nearly $400,000 from Singing River Federal Credit Union.

Robertson was sentenced Monday morning to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with two to serve in the state penitentiary, eight more on house arrest, as well as a $1,000 fine and $250 to the victim's compensation fund.

Robertson also has another $44,000 in restitution remaining to be paid. He has already paid back $335,592.



Gulflive
6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 11:01 am

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RELEASE:


STATEMENT OF LT. GOV. REEVES ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION ON ABORTION

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today endangers the lives of women and their unborn children in Mississippi and all across America,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “States should have the ability to protect their citizens through proper regulation of medical care.”


6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 10:49 am

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6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 10:18 am

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RELEASE:


Speaker Philip Gunn Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision



Jackson, MS— "I'm disappointed with the decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court," said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. "The legislation struck down today is designed to protect women and their unborn children. For those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life, this ruling is a major setback."




6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 10:16 am

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Governor Bryant: Supreme Court abortion ruling 'detrimental to women's health'





MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) -
Governor Phil Bryant released a statement regarding the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Texas abortion clinic regulations.

Governor Bryant issued the following statement:


“"I am disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today. This measure is designed to protect the health and safety of women who undergo this potentially dangerous procedure, and physicians who provided abortions should be held to the same standards as physicians who perform other outpatient procedures." ”



WLBT
6/26/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 10:13 am

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On July 1, 2016, the Mississippi Public Service Commission will begin registering cellphones on the Mississippi No Call Registry. This is a great opportunity to reduce the number of annoying telemarketers calling your cellphone. The process for registering your cellphone is the same as registering your residential landline. Go to the Central District website http://www.psc.state.ms.us to register online or call 1-800-356-6430 and one of our consumer specialists will help you get signed up.

Once you have registered, it takes two months for your number to be officially on the list. At that time, you can call and report the unsolicited calls. Our website contains the information needed in order to make a complaint.
Once reported, our specialists will start tracking down the people making these calls and try to get them stopped. We cannot stop every call, because some types of calls are exempt from the law, and some are from foreign countries where we do not have jurisdiction.

Our success rate has been pretty good for landlines. We have received 74,436 complaints since the No Call Registry for landlines became law. Of those complaints, $2,784,000.00 in fines have been collected since October 2014 from unscrupulous telemarketers. We believe No Call for cellphones will be just as successful.

On July 5, 2016, the Central District will have No Call registration for cellphones available in the 1st floor lobby of the Woolfolk Building, 501 North West Street from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Public Service Commission Central District Staff will be on hand to assist in registration.

Join us in stopping unwanted calls as we continue keeping the public in public service.

MPSC Release
6/27/16


Posted June 27, 2016 - 9:45 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Honored as Legislator of the Year by Public Housing Association


Biloxi, MS – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) received the 2016 “Legislator of the Year Award” from the Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (SERC-NAHRO) during their annual conference that took place this weekend at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.

Congressman Palazzo stated, “I’m extremely honored to be chosen as the SERC-NAHRO legislator of the year. Many people probably don’t know that I actually worked at a public housing authority many lifetimes ago. I understand the struggles that face our PHA’s and that’s why I introduced legislation to help them. This bill provides local flexibility, deregulation and administrative reductions, all of which are crucial to the survival and sustainability of local housing authorities. We need less regulation on small housing authorities, not more. We should put more faith in PHA's to do what is best for the safety and sustainability of the agency and the program, and most importantly, what’s best for the residents.”

Steve Merritt, President of NAHRO said, "It was a tremendous opportunity to see Representative Palazzo at the Southeastern Regional Council of NAHRO (SERC NAHRO) Annual Conference in Biloxi this week. His leadership in introducing the Small Housing Authority Opportunity Act; H.R. 4816, in the House is a strong and clear indication of his interest in helping his constituents in Mississippi, and his commitment to making government work. H.R. 4816 will help smaller public housing agencies across the nation deliver the housing that is so desperately needed in a much more efficient and cost-effective way. NAHRO thanks Congressman Palazzo and looks forward to working with him and his staff on additional housing reforms and common-sense legislation that creates and sustains decent, safe and affordable housing in the future."

MAHRO President Judy Mellard commented, “Mississippi Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials are encouraged by the bipartisan support of H.R. 4816 that will give small housing authorities across the nation some much needed regulatory relief from the one size fits all approach. We want to thank U. S. Congressman Steven Palazzo for introducing this bill and for his continued efforts to push it forward. The majority of our 51 housing authorities in Mississippi will be affected by passage of this bill in a very positive way; which will then benefit the residents we serve.”

Nancy Walker, President of the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) said, “Congressman Palazzo’s introduction of SHARP legislation (H.R. 4816) in the House of Representatives marks a significant milestone for the preservation of public housing in more than 2,700 small rural and suburban communities nationwide. His unique understanding and caring for this important local affordable housing resource allows him to offer his House colleagues a thoughtful, evidence-based bill that “right-sizes” the role of the Federal government in the daily operations of small housing agencies. Congressman Palazzo fully recognizes the hard reality of the current funding environment and thus the urgent need to curb the heavy, ever growing costs of excessive HUD regulation. PHADA is deeply appreciative of Congressman Palazzo’s legislative efforts on behalf of SHARP.”

Dave Baldwin, SERC President added, “The member agencies of SERC-NAHRO are impressed with Congressman Palazzo’s understanding of the issues facing small housing authorities. Moreover, we are extremely grateful for his willingness to sponsor H.R.4816, the Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016. This bill provides much needed, budget neutral regulatory relief for small agencies. We look forward to supporting Congressman Palazzo in his efforts to enact H.R. 4816.”

The Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (SERC-NAHRO) is comprised of ten State Associations and represents over 700 affordable housing agencies in the southeast. They work to provide quality education and training, information, networking opportunities and advocacy for members. This is the first time in six years they have given out their legislator of the year award.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Helping Solve the Housing Puzzle.” The conference allows Public Housing Agency administrators an opportunity to network among other PHAs in order to better enhance their knowledge and skill set. Throughout the conference PHA’s attend breakout sessions administered by well-known trainers that provide best practices for areas such as financial management, the rental assistance demonstration program, and much more. They also implemented a new track this session called the “small agency forum” to present issues and solutions particular to our small agencies.

Congressman Palazzo introduced H.R. 4816, the Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016, commonly referred to by PHA’s as “SHARP” legislation, in March of this year. This bipartisan legislation works to address the administrative burdens facing small and rural housing authorities across the country. 15 of the current 32 co-sponsors of the bill are Representatives from the SERC-NAHRO Region. The 32 cosponsors include: Rep. Ashford [D-NE-2], Rep. Bishop[D-GA-2], Rep. Fleischmann [R-TN-3], Rep. Frelinghuysen [R-NJ-11], Rep. Harper [R-MS-3], Rep. Hartzler [R-MO-4], Rep. Posey [R-FL-8], Rep. Kuster [D-NH-2], Rep. Thompson [D-MS-2], Rep. Westmoreland [R-GA-3], Rep. Brady [R-TX-8], Rep. Guinta, [R-NH-1], Rep. Fortenberry [R-NE-1], Rep. Westerman [R-AR-4], Rep. Rogers [R-AL-3], Rep. Roby [R-AL-2], Rep. Graves [R-GA-14], Rep. Kelly [R-MS-1], Rep. Walz [D-MN-1], Rep. Smith [R-TX-21], Rep. Allen,[R-GA-12], Rep. Price [R-GA-6], Rep. Abraham [R-LA-5], Rep. Duffy [R-WI-7], Rep. Boustany [R-LA-3], Rep. Ribble [R-WI-8], Rep. Nolan [D-MN-8], Rep. Cooper [D-TN-5], Rep. Black [R-TN-6], Rep. Peterson [D-MN-7], Rep. Carter [R-TX-31], Rep. Aderholt [R-AL-4]


6/22/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 7:21 am

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AP analysis: Jim Hood, Tate Reeves could headline 2019 governor's race



The closing weeks of June have brought the first previews of what could be Mississippi's 2019 race for governor — Jim Hood versus Tate Reeves...


...So maybe it seems too soon to be talking about 2019. But word began to trickle out following the Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer dinner in May that the attorney general, the last heavyweight Democratic politician in Mississippi, was finally going to take a shot at the governor's mansion. And Hood's actions since then — wading into the midst of the state's budget difficulties — bear that out...


...When someone else challenges Reeves, he tends to strike back, both verbally and in legislation. He seemed to recognize Hood as a threat last week, when he hurled the biggest insult a Mississippi Republican could hurl at a Democrat — linking him to President Barack Obama. Reeves also accused Hood of issuing a self-serving legal opinion to hold onto trust fund money controlled by his office.


Gulflive
6/26/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 7:16 am

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Gov. Phil Bryant told Paul Gallo on SuperTalk Monday morning that he has invited likely Republican presidential nominee to Mississippi for the Neshoba County Fair and other events in Mississippi leading up to the November election.

Bryant spoke confidently on the chances for Trump to visit the state. He noted his meeting with the New York businessman at Trump Tower saying Trump was a personable man and that he looked forward to having him in the state soon.



Posted June 27, 2016 - 7:00 am

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Democrats elect new leadership; Moak wins party chair




The Mississippi Democratic Party elected new leaders to head the organization for the next four years, including former House minority leader Bobby Moak as party chair, the organization said in a statement Sunday...



...He also said the Democrats need to market themselves better to the public. When talking to voters he said he gets the impression that Democrats are against God and anti-gun.

"We're going to try to separate ourselves that we're the party of logic, we're the party of reason," he said. "We want to show folks that that's who we are, that we're the real Mississippians."



Greenwood Commonwealth
6/26/16


Posted June 27, 2016 - 6:54 am

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Governor Phil Bryant Calls Special Session for Tuesday

Gov. Phil Bryant has called a special session for Tuesday, June 28.

The call contains one item: legislation authorizing Gov. Bryant to transfer money from the state’s Working Cash Stabilization Reserve Fund into the General Fund to cover a small deficit in fiscal year 2016’s budget.

“Disciplined and conservative spending by Republican leadership the last five legislative sessions has left the Rainy Day Fund in the perfect position to fill the small deficit in the FY16 budget,” Gov. Bryant said. “I would urge lawmakers to complete their work quickly, to keep taxpayers’ costs as low as possible.”

The session will start at 10 a.m.

"Unfortunately, revenue has not come in to the degree projected," said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. "This is not the first time this has happened, and it will not be the last time. Due to Republican leadership, we have $364 million set aside in the state's Rainy Day Fund. The sole purpose of the Rainy Day Fund is to be used to assist in situations like this.

"We are talking about one percent of the overall approximated $6.3 billion budget. To put this in perspective: if someone makes $30,000 a year, we are talking about a shortfall of $300. I am thankful the governor, the lieutenant governor and the conservative leadership have taken measures through the years to ensure our preparedness to handle this."

"Because Republicans have been fiscally responsible over the past five years, Mississippi has a larger balance in its Rainy Day Fund in FY 2016 than at any time in our state's history,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “It appears the revenue estimate adopted by the state's fiscal experts for FY 2016 will come up short by some amount less than 1 percent of our overall operating budget. Gov. Bryant, Speaker Gunn and I agree that the best way to address this shortfall is through a transfer from the Working Cash Stabilization Reserve Fund, and I expect this to be quickly resolved in the special session to minimize costs for taxpayers.”

Gov. Phil Bryant Release
6/27/16

Posted June 27, 2016 - 6:35 am

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Former state representative and House Minority Leader Bobby Moak was elected the new chairman of the Mississippi Democrat Party today.

Moak replaces Rickey Cole who announced he wouldn't seek the post earlier this year.

Moak lost his reelection bid in the 2015 state elections.

It was on Moak's watch as House Minority Leader that House Republicans were able to gain a supermajority in last year's election.

Earle Banks was elected Executive Vice Chairman of the Party, and Ryan Brown was reelected as Treasurer. Dr. Ruby Funchess was elected Secretary.


6/25/16

Posted June 25, 2016 - 10:25 am

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Kitchens rents piano with campaign funds



Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens rented a piano using campaign funds, according to records filed this month with the Secretary of State’s office.

Kitchens rented the piano from Allegrezza Piano Company in Ridgeland for $1,070, owner Sandra Allegrezza said. According to his most recent campaign finance report, the piano is for his campaign office.



Clarion Ledger
6/23/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 7:32 am

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HB 1523 Opponents Express Fears Should Law Take Effect



Jocelyn Pritchett says she and her wife are leaving Mississippi. She testified before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves they are careful where they go and concerned about their children's safety. Pritchett says Ku Klux Klan flyers mentioning homosexuals have showed up in communities. She also said the child of another same sex married couple was mistreated at school.

"The teacher went around the room and asked each of the other little children in the room if they had a mother and a father and they said that they did. And so they told this little girl that her parents were liars because they were not married," said Pritchett.

Pritchett is one of four witnesses hoping to stop HB1523 from taking effect July 1st. Judge Reeves is hearing lawsuits filed by Campaign for Southern Equality and Mississippi Center for Justice. They contend the law is unconstitutional.



MPB
6/24/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 7:27 am

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Strong June collections needed to balance budget



Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says the state must collect between $725 million and $750 million of revenue during the month of June to balance the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Records with the Department of Revenue reveal the state has never collected that amount of money in June. In 2015, the state collected $695.8 million in revenue during the month of June and in 2014 garnered $674.2 million.



Daily Journal
6/23/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 7:19 am

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Gunn gets vote on flag as church messenger



House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, who surprisingly broke with the majority of the state’s Republican leadership last summer when he endorsed changing the Mississippi flag, got to vote on the issue recently.

Gunn was a “messenger” for his church, Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, to the Southern Baptist Convention earlier this month...



...Gunn said, “I raised my hand” to vote for the resolution, which is not binding on the 46,000 individual churches and more than 15.8 million members of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.



Daily Journal
6/24/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 7:13 am

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Weill blocks DA Smith from docket



Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill has issued an administrative order temporarily removing Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith from participating in cases on his court docket after Smith's arrest Wednesday for allegedly providing information to assist criminal defendants.

"While the district attorney.and all citizens, are entitled to the presumption of innocence, the district attorney's status as a public official and the undersigned's duty to uphold the independence and integrity of judicial system requires the administrative action ordered herein," Weill said in the order issued Thursday."The district attorney faces at least six separate criminal charges alleging improper use of his office."



Clarion Ledger
6/23/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 7:02 am

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN STATEMENT ON U.S. SUPREME COURT IMMIGRATION DECISION

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today released the
following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v.
Texas, which blocks implementation of President Obama's executive action to
defer the deportation of people in the United States illegally:
"The Supreme Court decision recognizes that President Obama does not have
the legal authority to make laws and set immigration policies on his own.
This ruling will help ensure that our nation's immigration laws remain the
responsibility of the Congress and are not subject to unilateral change by
executive action."
The Supreme Court's 4-4 decision upholds the ruling of a lower court order
that prohibits the president from implementing new policies to grant "lawful
presence" and thereby work authorization and status to illegal immigrants.

Cochran in April joined an amicus brief with U.S.
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and other Republican U.S. Senators in support
of the state-led lawsuit challenging executive actions taken by President
Obama to defer deportation of more than four million illegal immigrants.

Officials from 25 states, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, were
plaintiffs in U.S. v. Texas.


6/23/16

Posted June 24, 2016 - 6:56 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker: Obama’s Amnesty Rule Struck Down



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that the Obama Administration lacks the authority to defer the deportation of more than 4 million illegal immigrants:



“In this case, our country’s system of checks and balances worked exactly as it should. The courts ruled that the President’s amnesty order undermined the rule of law. I have said all along that no president has the authority to act unilaterally in this manner, and I am pleased that the Court has struck down yet another example of this President’s executive overreach.



In April, Wicker and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., signed an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the state-led lawsuit, which the Court ruled on today. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was one of the plaintiffs in the underlying case.



6/23/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 11:28 am

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Midtown experience is lesson for charter schools


Staff turnover, lack of oversight and poor planning plagued Midtown Public Charter School in its opening year. The rollout of its counterpart across town, ReImagine Prep, seemed to go more smoothly, partly because of the larger network of support it found in its parent organization, RePublic Schools.

Midtown saw as many as 10 teachers and staff members — including the principal, chief operations officer and special education director — resign during its first year. Several current employees in the small staff of about 13 are not planning to return next year, and only one out of three teachers will be back.

MS Today
6/23/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 8:01 am

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Governor Phil Bryant Appoints Laura D. Jackson Executive Director of Department of Finance and Administration

Jackson, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed deputy state treasurer Laura D. Jackson executive director of the Department of Finance and Administration.

Jackson replaces Kevin Upchurch, who is retiring. As DFA head, Jackson will manage more than 400 employees and be responsible for the management of the state’s budget. She will also serve as the state’s fiscal officer.

Jackson has more than 27 years of experience in state government. She has served as deputy state treasurer since January 2012. Before that, Jackson was DFA’s bond advisory director. From 2002-2008, she was the bond and collateral director in the office of the state treasurer.

Jackson began her career in the state auditor’s office, where she eventually rose to audit supervisor, responsible for the state’s comprehensive annual financial report.

“Laura’s decades of experience and wealth of knowledge about the state’s budget make her a perfect fit to lead DFA,” Gov. Bryant said. “I know she will continue to serve Mississippi well in her new post, and I am delighted she has accepted this appointment.”

Jackson received an associate of arts from Hinds Community College, and a bachelor of science in business administration and an MBA from Mississippi College.

“I am incredibly thankful to Gov. Bryant for this appointment and the confidence he has shown in me,” Jackson said. “My entire career has been dedicated to state government and I am honored to serve in this new capacity. I understand this is a tremendous responsibility and I look forward to this new challenge with anticipation.”

Jackson and her husband live in Clinton. They have three children.

Gov. Phil Bryant Release
6/23/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 7:33 am

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Sid Salter: Special-fund raids often balance budget



When legislators are confronted with raising taxes, cutting services or raiding special funds — even ones like the Health Care Trust Fund that the Legislature formally declared “inviolate” — history has shown that regardless of party, lawmakers will choose to raid the special funds. As Moore honestly observed, that isn’t a partisan thing, either.

The rub for legislative leaders is that not all the criticism of the current effort to “sweep” special funds is coming from Democrats like Hood. Republican statewide elected officials like Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann have likewise criticized the measure.

The rub for Hood is that he served for five years on Moore’s staff at the AG’s office and succeeded him in 2004. Special fund or nonrecurring fund spending has been a nonstop affair over those years to little or no objection until it was codified in this new 2016 law.



ClarionLedger
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:44 am

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BIPEC grades: business tool or 'partisan ploy'?



As usual, the Business and Industry Political Education Committee gave Republicans mostly high grades, Democrats lower grades. These were based on their votes on 19 bills this year. The bills were mostly tax breaks, anti-business regulation and lawsuit-protection measures and included a $415 million multiyear tax cut, the largest tax cut in state history. Sen. Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, was the only Democrat to receive an A, although eight Senate and 24 House Republicans failed to receive the top grade and a “Business and Jobs Champion” designation.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn praised the lawmakers gathered at the Capitol for a news conference and photo session with BIPEC leaders. They said the A-graded lawmakers are those willing to make “tough decisions” and votes.



ClarionLedger
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:42 am

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WJTV
6/22/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:25 am

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WJTV
6/22/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:23 am

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I've learned this about Mississippi politics - you can NOT make this stuff up.

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens in his most recent campaign finance report had a doozy on his expenditure line. He spent $1,076 on a "piano for campaign office." Kitchens is being challenged by MS Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis in what will likely be the marquee state political race in 2016.



Now, I don't care if Kitchens can play the boogie-woogie like Bill Murray on Groundhog Day or if he has a tip jar on top of his campaign piano for campaign contributions.



But the Clarion Ledger, fresh off calling the lack of campaign finance reform "legalized bribery" and excoriating mostly Republicans for months in feature pieces about campaign contributions going to garage doors, $800 boots, and special deals at a trailer park, you'd think would engage on this one.

For sure, Kitchens is a folksy media darling, but if Kitchens were a Republican, it'd be a no doubt above the fold story with special web feature layouts like they did on the others. Speaking of which, on the same disbursement there's cash going to the Democratic Party in a supposedly non-partisan race. That seems in absolute direct violation of MS Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 5(A)(1)(c) which says judicial candidates shall not -

(c) solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, attend political gatherings, or purchase tickets for political party dinners, or other political functions.


Both Sam Hall and Geoff Pender have been real outspoken about this campaign finance subject. It will be good to see them re-engage on this issue with the same zeal as these last few articles.

Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:18 am

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Republican Senate committee wastes no time backing Marco Rubio




For more than a year, Republicans in the U.S. Senate played no favorites among candidates running to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, but now that Rubio has decided last-minute to seek re-election that changed swiftly.

The chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, quickly declared Rubio will have “the full support of the NRSC.”

“Marco Rubio is a valued leader for Florida and for our country, and I welcome his decision to ask voters for the opportunity to serve once again. Sen. Rubio has made a lasting impact when it comes to standing up against the failed Obama agenda and has articulated a clear vision for making our country safer and more prosperous,” Wicker said in a news release issued by the NRSC within the hour of Rubio’s announcement.



Florida Politics
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:14 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Opposes Amendment to Limit Gun Sales In Homeland Security Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement today following the Appropriations Committee’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 Homeland Security Appropriations bill:

“The 2017 Homeland Security funding bill makes an incredibly strong investment in the defense of our country here at home. Not only does our legislation increase funds for border patrol and the Coast Guard, but it contains no funds for the President’s unconstitutional executive action on immigration and blocks its implementation pending judicial action.

“More importantly, Republicans on the Committee and I were successful in blocking a Democrat amendment to impose reckless gun control on the American people. This liberal agenda item was yet another attempt to take guns away from law-abiding Americans without due process. The Appropriations Committee has become the last line of defense against these types of liberal moves to take away our freedoms. I will always stand up for the Second Amendment on this committee, the House floor, or anywhere else liberal activists seek to take it away from us.”

The Homeland bill provides legislation directs $41.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The bill also includes $7.3 billion toward disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The committee voted down an amendment by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) by a 16-31 vote that would have allowed the Attorney General to deny a firearm purchase without due process of law.

6/22/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:13 am

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RELEASE:


COCHRAN: MISS. COUNTIES RECIEVE $1.98 MILLION FOR PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the
Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that counties in
Mississippi will share $1.98 million in 2016 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
funding.

The U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday announced the distribution
of 2016 PILT payments to local governments with tax-exempt federal property
within their boundaries. This year's $1,988,191 award to Mississippi is
$154,248 more than the 2015 payment.

"The Payment in Lieu of Taxes payment is intended to help offset tax revenue
losses in counties with federal properties, including wildlife refuges or
national parks. The counties are free to use the funding to supplement
their general budgets," Cochran said.

For Mississippi, 73 counties will receive 2016 PILT funding, with the five
largest payments going to Lafayette County ($220,960), Yalobusha County
($171,684), Sharkey County ($140,873), Grenada County ($118,777), and Wayne
County ($86,305).

Annual PILT payments are made for tax-exempt federal lands administered by
the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, and U.S. Forest Service. Federal water projects and some military
installations are also considered in PILT payment evaluations.

Cochran is a senior member of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that
funds the Interior Department and PILT program. The Interior and
Environment Appropriations Bill approved by the Senate Appropriations
Committee last week fully funds PILT for FY2017.


6/22/16

Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:12 am

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Memorial Hospital, SRHS to sue Department of Medicaid over funding formula




SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Memorial Hospital and Singing River Health System are suing the Mississippi Division of Medicaid over what they call a flaw in the state’s funding formula.

The health systems claim the payment formula, which is meant to reimburse community hospitals for treatment of the uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries, left them underpaid by more than $20 million in 2016.

The health systems said in a news release Wednesday reimbursement funds at the state level are available through payment programs managed by the state division of Medicaid, but the way the funds are distributes is flawed.



WLOX
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:09 am

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Mississippi Rising Coalition faces tough issues in first meeting



Lea Campbell is the founder and leader for the coalition, which also runs campaigns to change the state flag and to fight the Religious Freedom Act that takes effect July 1....


...Ocean Springs resident Bethany Fayard says the coalition will be the go-to organization for many.

“It’s going to combine groups like the Human Rights Campaign, and the Mississippi Rainbow Center, and the other groups on the Gulf Coast to come together to fight these big adversaries like the KKK; which none of us can do probably on our own," said Fayard.



WLOX
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 5:05 am

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BRIAN PERRY / Orlando guns



But Murphy and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) said not restricting the Constitutional right of an American citizen to purchase a gun is equivalent to arming the enemy. “We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS,” Murphy told the Washington Post. Warren tweeted, “The [Senate Republicans] have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.”

Certainly the Orlando murderer was an enemy. But are law abiding citizens enemies as well? Are all American citizens who want to purchase guns member of ISIS under this thinking? Shouldn’t we be trying to determine why this murderer who killed in the name of ISIS was removed from the terror watch list, or had he still be on the list if that would have prevented his killings?

But Democrats want to use the Orlando attack as political capital to pass gun control laws, even if those laws have nothing to do with the Orlando shooting. Intelligence officers or law enforcement officials do not have the authority to remove an American citizen’s Constitutional rights by putting that person on a terror watch list or a no-fly list or any other list. The Constitution ensures due process. Liberals may not like the Second Amendment; they may wish it were not part of the Constitution; but they don’t get to ignore it.



Madison County Journal
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 4:59 am

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Trump gets invitation to Fair from his Mississippi Committee




Donald Trump’s Mississippi Committee has invited the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to speak at the Neshoba County Fair, a spokesperson confirmed on Monday. Neshoba County Fair Association President Gilbert Donald declined comment “at this time” on whether or not Trump would be at the Fair this July. Mississippi Committee Chairman Mitch Tyner was quoted last week by WTVA, Tupelo-Columbus, saying: “We are working very hard to try and get him here for the Neshoba County Fair.



Neshoba Democrat
6/22/16



Posted June 23, 2016 - 4:56 am

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Today, June 22, 2016, the Office of the Attorney General entered into my office while I was preparing for a Grand Jury presentation. Lee McDivitt, investigator with the Attorney General Jim Hood’s Office told me that they had a warrant for my arrest. Lee McDivitt is the same investigator who had been served with a subpoena to appear before a Hinds County Grand Jury related to an investigation by the Hinds County District Attorney regarding improper and illegal activities by certain state officials.

McDivitt and other officials who were subpoenaed to appear before the Hinds County Grand Jury conspired to Quash the subpoenas to avoid them having to give testimony under oath.

These improper and illegal actions taken by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood are designed to intimidate, embarrass, and obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation.
These misdemeanors allegations are not only false, but designed to denigrate the credibility of the Hinds County District Attorney.

DA Robert Smith
6/22/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 8:09 pm

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On June 22, 2016, former US District Court and 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Charles W. Pickering, Sr., of Jones County, formally joined Rhonda Keenum, of Oktibbeha County, as co-Chairman of the Friends of Dow Yoder political committee.

As co-Chairman of the Friends of Dow Yoder, Judge Pickering will advocate the non-partisan election of Yoder to the Mississippi Court of Appeals in the Third Court of Appeals District of Mississippi.

The 19 county district includes Yoder's hometown of Columbus, Mississippi.

In addition to the Golden Triangle region of Lowndes, Clay, and Oktibbeha counties, the 3rd District contains Winston, Noxubee, Attala, Leake, Neshoba, Kemper, Madison, Rankin, Scott, Newton, Lauderdale, Smith, Jasper, Clarke, Jones, and Wayne counties.

"As a Christian, civil rights advocate who led by conscience and example in the 1960's, Judge Pickering's support is highly valued, and deeply appreciated. Facing political ridicule and personal danger from the Ku Klux Klan, Judge Pickering had the courage to do the right thing," said Yoder, "So will I."

"Independent and fair judges decide the law--- and should not be influenced by the political expediencies of re-election. I am personally humbled, and look forward to the opportunity of earning everyone's vote in the 19 county district," said Yoder, a 44 year old former state and federal prosecutor.

Yoder resides with his family in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Yoder has lived in the 3rd Court of Appeals District for 38 years.


Dow Yoder Campaign Release
6/22/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:03 pm

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Hinds County District Attorney Arrested, Accused of Illegally Consulting Criminal Defendants

Jackson, Miss.- Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was arrested today following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI into allegations that Smith illegally advised or defended individuals charged with crimes, Attorney General Jim Hood announced today.

Smith, 45, of Jackson, was arrested at his office by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. Smith was charged with six counts of violating Mississippi Code Section 97-11-3, a misdemeanor. That law states that the attorney general or district attorney shall not “consult, advise, counsel or defend” a person charged with a crime or misdemeanor.

The joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Office and FBI revealed that Smith violated Mississippi law related to his involvement with two different criminal defendants while serving as district attorney.

Smith was booked into the Hinds County Jail. If convicted, Smith could be removed as district attorney and prohibited from holding any other elected office or government position. Additionally, he faces a $500 fine.

“It is particularly sad to have to prosecute and seek removal from office a fellow prosecutor,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “We greatly appreciate the hard work of the FBI on this case and we hope to resolve this as soon as possible.”

“Those who are sworn to uphold the law are not above the law,” said Donald Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Though today’s charges are only allegations, public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts. The FBI appreciates the close cooperation on this matter with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.”

As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI requests that anyone with information on other corruption matters contact the FBI Jackson office at (601) 948-5000.

Jim Hood Press Release
6/22/16


Posted June 22, 2016 - 12:17 pm

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Mississippi state epidemiologist to resign



Mississippi's state epidemiologist is set to resign.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs is expected to formally announce his departure shortly, said Mississippi State Department of Health spokesperson Liz Sharlot. As of now, there have been discussions but no formal letter of resignation.



Clarion Ledger
6/22/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 10:36 am

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Hinds County DA arrested



Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was reportedly arrested Wednesday.

Smith is accused in a six-count affidavit with providing information to assist criminal defendants. The charges were filed by the state attorney general's office, who Smith has accused of conspiring against him.



Clarion Ledger
6/22/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 10:34 am

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Steve Wilson at Mississippi Watchdog is really on the trail with regards to MS Dept of Education and the relationship it has with John Q. Porter.

Today, Wilson highlights taxpayer funded travel to Disney as well as several other conferences at resorts by Porter that cost over $10,000 just this year. In fact, the article stated that MDOE has spent $1.8 million in FY 2016 on travel.

According to Patsy Brumfield, formerly of Better Schools Better Jobs and now of the Mississippi Today publication, in an article in 2015 that $1,800,000 equates to 60 in-classroom teachers OR 18,000 textbooks OR 6,000 classroom computers in Mississippi schools. At the time she was questioning the $60,000 legal expense incurred by the Legislature to defend the Initiative 42 ballot lawsuit.

"This $60,000 expense paid by the people of Mississippi is just the tip of the iceberg for the campaign to defeat adequate funding for our schools," Brumfield said. "That $60,000 is enough for two first-year teachers or 600 textbooks or 200 classroom computers for our schools."


We, of course, will wait to see whether Ms. Brumfield's new organization registers the same opinion about expenses that affect education funding as her last one did.

At a time where in-classroom education funding is so crucial to our state, this is certainly something that Legislators will look at for the upcoming LBO hearings later in 2016.

If the MS Dept of Education under Dr. Carey Wright were a college football program, I think you'd be hearing terms like "lack of institutional control" being thrown around.

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:59 am

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Continental Tire promises to bring 2,500 jobs to Mississippi



Continental Tire representatives said Tuesday that they plan to bring 2,500 jobs to Mississippi in 18 months.

Company officials met with hundreds of residents Tuesday night in the Clinton High School auditorium. The company expects to break ground at a site in Hinds County, outside Clinton, by the end of the year.


WAPT
6/22/16


Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:25 am

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Ed Dept. contract raises questions

The rate of pay was established by Callender and agreed to by the department, Cook said. The Education Department did not seek quotes from other contract workers for the services assigned to Callender, she said.

The contract also provides more than $800 to Callender, a former administrator at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, specifically to cover what would be the department’s matching contribution for Social Security and Medicare if he were a full time employee. All state agencies pay FICA for contract workers, said Chuck McIntosh, director of communications for the state Department of Finance and Administration.

The licensure commission, among other duties, hears cases involving educator misconduct and makes decision about those educators’ licenses depending on the outcome.

The contract specifies Callender will be paid an amount not to exceed $11,400, or $300/day, plus $4,500 for travel for work done between May 16 and June 30 of this year. An additional $872.10 is listed as “MDE’s matching contribution for Social Security and Medicaid (FICA)." If extended over a year, that rate of pay would total $78,000.

MS Today
6/22/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:20 am

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AG Hood hints at lawsuit over budget woes

“I just want them to follow what they wrote,” said Hood, who met with the media Monday to explain official opinions written by his office detailing that the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act passed during the 2016 legislative session does not provide as much money for the state budget as the legislative leaders said it would when it passed.

Official opinions issued by the office of the Attorney General do not carry the weight of law, but protect public officials who adhere to the rulings from liability in court proceedings.

Current state Fiscal Officer Kevin Upchurch, who is responsible for disbursing funds to state agencies based on the budget passed by the Legislature, has said he would adhere to the AG’s opinions. But Upchurch is retiring July 1 – at the start of a new fiscal year – and his replacement has not yet been named by Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant has only said he would take into account the attorney general’s opinion when trying to determine the complexities of the new law.


MBJ
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:18 am

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State legislator visits local republican women's luncheon




At this month's meeting of the Forrest-Lamar Republican Women luncheon, State House Representative Chris Johnson was the guest speaker.

He talked about key pieces of legislation such as the tax cut bill and eliminating the franchise tax as well as the state’s budget shortfall....


..."Yes it appears, we don't have all of the final numbers yet, but it appears that we will be short for our budget for FY-16 and we will need to go into special session to allow the governor to allocate money from the rainy day fund to the general fund," Johnson said.



WDAM
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:17 am

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WTOK
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:11 am

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Legislative term 'eye-opening' for freshman lawmaker




Rep. Robert Foster's experiences as a newly-elected state representative at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson were revelatory for the 32-year-old freshman lawmaker....


..."There are some people down there who struggle with common sense but there are some rational people on both sides of the aisle," Foster said. "We have a good group of people down there."...



...If income taxes were reduced or even eliminated, Foster said he would not mind that loss in revenue being offset by higher gasoline taxes.



Desoto Times
6/20/16


Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:06 am

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Attaboys & Oh Boys for June 22


Oh Boy!

To the $600,000 in state Education Department contracts awarded to former co-workers of the state superintendent of education. These contracts, between MDE and two of Superintendent Carey Wright's former co-workers, appear to duplicate technology-related services. The contracts were awarded to MDE Chief Information Officer John Q. Porter before he was appointed to his position; Blue Sky Innovative Solutions LLC, for which Porter serves as CEO; Elton Stokes Jr., who is listed as a technology office director on the website for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland; and DataOne IT Solutions, a Maryland-based company with ties to Stokes. It's a tangled web, even as Wright issued a statement claiming the department's IT department "needed urgent and major work." Also, three of the eight contracts awarded were under $50,000, meaning they did not require approval from the state Education Board. Transparency in bidding contracts and approval loopholes need to be addressed.



Clarion Ledger
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 7:01 am

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Clarion Ledger
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 6:59 am

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Federal judge refuses to block HB 1523 from going forward



A federal judge denied a preliminary injunction to block House Bill 1523 from going into effect July 1.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued an order denying the preliminary injunction in the lawsuit filed in early May by the ACLU of Mississippi on behalf of same-sex couple Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas of Meridian, who have been engaged for nearly two years.

It was the first lawsuit filed against HB 1523, the Mississippi religious objections law scheduled to go into effect July 1.



Clarion Ledger
6/21/16

Posted June 22, 2016 - 6:56 am

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Protesters Kicked Off Campus For Flying Their Own State Flag



Protesters at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) were kicked off campus Sunday by a police officer who incorrectly told them the Mississippi state flag was prohibited on campus.

Mississippi’s state flag includes the Confederate battle flag in the top left corner, which has attracted fierce opposition, especially since the anti-Confederate backlash that occurred after the Charleston church shooting last summer...



...USM has responded to the incident by saying the officer’s orders were a mistake, and that the flag is still allowed on campus.


“The University of Southern Mississippi supports the right to lawfully and peacefully protest on or in front of the Hattiesburg campus with regard to the state flag. Any information leading individuals to believe otherwise is inaccurate,” the school said in a statement.


Daily Caller
6/21/16



Posted June 22, 2016 - 6:47 am

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