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Former state legislator Irb Benjamin from Rienzi has abruptly cut ties with two prisons.

WTVA reports that he resigned as Alcorn County Warden this past week.

Emily Pettus had a more expansive piece on Benjamin who has run prisons through a private company.

Alcorn County Board of Supervisors president Lowell Hinton told The Associated Press that Benjamin's resignation is related to the escapes.

"He said maybe some newer, fresher eyes could maybe see some things he didn't see," Hinton said Monday. "With him driving from Jackson up here...he wasn't able to spend as much time as he anticipated spending."

Hinton said Benjamin was hired for a no-bid contract to run the jail about a year ago. Hinton said he didn't know how much the county paid Benjamin and Mississippi Correctional Management Inc., the company for which Benjamin is a registered lobbyist.

The supervisors' attorney could not immediately be reached for details about the contract.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections website shows Benjamin, of MCM Inc., has been warden since Jan. 1. Hinton said Benjamin had already been working as a consultant for the Alcorn County jail when the facility was built and when it opened in 2011.

The jail originally was managed by the local sheriff, but Hinton said supervisors wanted better financial management.

"Since Mr. Benjamin was already familiar with the prison and the operation of the prison and the problems we were having financially, and since he was already supposed to be our consultant, we just asked him," Hinton said, explaining why the supervisors didn't seek bids for a contract. "Since he had other prisons, we asked him if he would be interested, we asked him if he had suggestions. He said yes, we could try it on a trial basis."




The involvement with Benjamin, a Democrat, and prisons go back to the early 2000s. Bobby Harrison wrote that he was paid over $600,000 in the early 2000s to open two prisons.

Irb Benjamin, a former state senator from Rienzi, was paid $606,000 for work done as the developer of regional prisons in Carroll and Marion counties.

During the past legislative session, officials with the 10 county-owned regional prisons, which are paid to house state inmates, complained that they were losing money and needed more inmates from the state. Since the session ended, though, the regional prisons have been criticized by officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and by a legislative oversight committee for “excessive costs.”

Benjamin, who now lives in Madison and works as a legislative lobbyist, defended his payments, saying he worked on the projects for almost four years and made a minimal profit after expenses.

“I paid all of the expenses for four years,” Benjamin said. “The truth is, when I was finished, I hadn’t made any money.”


Kingfish has also weighed in connecting some of the dots.

Posted November 25, 2014 - 7:58 am


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Roger Wicker Looks for Fast Start at NRSC



Wicker beat out Nevada Sen. Dean Heller for the chairmanship in a closed-door Nov. 13 GOP conference meeting. Six days later, seated behind his desk on the fifth floor of Dirksen, Wicker was confident in the party’s ability to hold a potential 54-seat majority, despite a map that puts the Senate in play for Democrats.

With limited offensive opportunities, Republicans are defending 24 seats in 2016, including seven in states President Barack Obama won twice. But Wicker, who said he’s not expecting a single GOP retirement, was adamant that with a strong GOP presidential nominee, the party would be well-positioned to hold seats in swing states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and beyond.

“I’m not conceding the electoral votes from any of those states to a Democratic presidential nominee, much less a senator like the ones we have who have done a good job, have stayed in touch, worked across the aisle and have been stalwarts and stood up for their states,” he said. “I would feel good about those candidates in a presidential year or a midterm.”



Roll Call
11/24/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 7:46 am


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Tolbert: Austin Barbour Calls For Grassroots To Retake Tea Party



Mississippi native political consultant Austin Barbour was in Arkansas this weekend. He stopped to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service on his way to Fayetteville for some sort of football event. I am guessing the Little Rock speech was the highlight of his trip. But anyway…



...“Sadly, I see the Tea Party taken over – particularly at the national level, which pulls into these local levels – by political operatives mostly just trying to make a quick dollar,” cautioned Barbour. “There are some Tea Party national groups that were raising millions of dollars – it’s fair to say – and they were spending 85% of their money on overhead with 15% of their money getting out to candidates. That’s ridiculous. We have folks at the national level that are focused on making money and they weren’t focused on the issues that made us so powerful in 2010 with fiscal issues. That’s what worked in 2010. And they didn’t care about winning general elections.”

So what should be done about it? Barbour offers this advice.

“We have great folks involved in the Tea Party. There are a lot of Tea Party folks who voted for Thad Cochran – no question about it. But they need to take back over the Tea Party at the local level,” said Barbour. He argued that local folks focused on issues that their communities care about need to retake the power in these local groups, away from national outside well-funded organizations.

It’s timely advice for Arkansas.








Talk Business and Politics
11/24/14



Posted November 25, 2014 - 7:40 am


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Ferguson to run for School Supt.


Longtime educator and former Horn Lake High School Principal James M. "Jim" Ferguson has announced his plans to run for Superintendent of Education for DeSoto County Schools.

Ferguson, 45, is a fourth-generation educator, a former "Administrator of the Year," and Chickasaw Conference Coach of the Year in baseball as well as a family man and youth league softball and baseball coach, Sunday School teacher and mentor to youth.


Desoto Times
11/22/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:59 am


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Former Republican Chris McDaniel campaign coalitions director turned Democrat Travis Childers endorser Scott Brewster took to Twitter and Facebook Monday night to announce a new fundraising effort McDaniel is undertaking...

Brewster wrote: "#Chris McDaniel announces the formation of the United Conservatives Fund tonight. This is huge news for the future growth of the conservative movement in Mississippi. Stay tuned for information about how to become a member!!"

This is surely meant to attempt to rival the United Republican Fund, which, according to the MSGOP website, "has served as the financial bedrock of the Mississippi Republican Party."





Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:50 am


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WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports


WDAM
11/23/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:47 am


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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


WLBT
11/23/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:46 am


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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


WLBT
11/23/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:42 am


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New format for Ward 1 debate



JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Candidates who are hoping to lead Ward 1 will face off Tuesday night. The Hinds County Republican party announced they plan to incorporate a new "chess-clock format" for this debate.

The four Republican candidates: Charles Barbour, Ashby Foote, Richard Sellers, and Amile Wilson have all confirmed that they will attend.



WLBT
11/24/14

Posted November 25, 2014 - 6:36 am


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Mississippi auditor: Corruption shouldn’t result in a state pension

State Auditor Stacey Pickering says he wants the Legislature takes on the issue when the session begins in January. He said he’s already talked to members of the state House and Senate about getting a bill passed.

“Prison time has nothing to do with it (collecting pensions) under current law,” Pickering told Mississippi Watchdog in a phone interview. “If they’ve got their retirement in and they filed for it, they can start drawing it.”

For some of them, that represents a giant golden parachute. Pickering said some of those pensions from the troubled Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System can add up to more than $90,000 per year for life for these formerly high-ranking officials. The employee’s contribution was set for 9 percent of their salary for those hired before 2013 and 15 percent for those hired after that.




{Pickering wants to prohibit an official who is convicted of public corruption from collecting the state’s contribution to their retirement.

“As far as the state portion is concerned, I think that should be withheld as a part of the penalty for betraying the public trust,” Pickering said.


MS Watchdog
11/24/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 4:09 pm


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Who's Mississippi's wealthiest member of Congress?



The Mississippi delegation's ranks and net worth:

Sen. Thad Cochran

#145

$1.59 million


Rep. Steven Palazzo

#212

$810,000


Rep. Bennie Thompson

#302

$300,000


Rep. Gregg Harper

#388

$40,000


Rep. Alan Nunnelee

#417

-$30,000


Sen. Roger Wicker

#467

-$200,000



Clarion Ledger
11/21/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:45 am


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PENDER: Will there be a Hosemann-Reeves lt. gov battle?



Publicly he’s only dropped cryptic hints, but Mississippi politicos far and wide are reporting that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is seriously considering a 2015 run at lieutenant governor against fellow Republican incumbent Tate Reeves.

In what promises otherwise to be a boring state election cycle, with other top of ticket incumbents staying put, this would be the race to watch. And, it would create a domino effect, some down-ticket jockeying.

And boy, howdy, does it already appear to have the GOP establishment illuminati in a tizzy. I got off-the-record earfuls from several on both sides. Hosemann running for lite guv is either a stroke of political genius or the dumbest, meanest move in the history of Mississippi Republicanism, and no in between.



Clarion Ledger
11/22/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:34 am


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COCHRAN ASKS OBAMA TO CEASE FLOOD RISK STANDARD EXECUTIVE ORDER

In Letter to President, Miss. Senator Says Public & Congress Should Have Input on Important Flood Risk Standard


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) asked President Obama to cease work on his administration’s efforts to administratively issue and implement a new federal flood risk standard that would have significant economic impacts and should rightfully include input from the public and Congress.

Cochran on Thursday sent President Obama a letter arguing that his intention to administratively issue a new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) would have far-reaching economic, policy and budgetary consequences that the Congress and public should be allowed to address.

“Your Administration has for several years been developing this standard, which would have significant economic consequences well beyond the scope of the federal government. I am concerned that you may soon finalize this policy without any opportunity for input or scrutiny from the public or Congress. Promulgating such an important policy unilaterally would undermine long-term viability of the standard and exacerbate distrust between the Congress and your Administration,” Cochran said.

At issue is the new FFRMS being developed by a multi-agency workgroup known as the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG) to reduce flood-risk to all federally-funded projects or investments (http://1.usa.gov/1uxFHZI). Operating without significant public or congressional input, MitFLG is chaired by the FEMA administrator and includes senior-level representation from at least 15 federal departments and agencies.*

Cochran expressed concern that Obama may soon issue a new executive order related to FFRMS that requires the adoption of “the most recent science on expected sea-level rise and take into account the impacts of climate change” to create higher base flood level elevations for federally funded investments, such as new construction, flood mitigations projects or Hazard Mitigation Grants.

“While seeking to ensure federal investments are resilient to floods and other hazards is a commendable goal, compelling government agencies to spend taxpayer dollars to further mitigate against undefined threats is a step that merits careful scrutiny. The cascading economic effects this action could have on coastal and riverine economies nationwide is significant. The public deserves to understand the costs, benefits, and scientific rationale behind any such standard before it is issued. Its issuance alone could stifle housing markets and slow economic recovery,” Cochran wrote to the President.

Cochran also pointed out that Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner during the 112th and 113th Congresses to debate and pass legislation reforming flood risk policies, including the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act that implemented comprehensive flood insurance reforms. Those actions indicate clear congressional interest in the establishment and implementation of new base flood elevations for federal investments.

“Congress has clearly demonstrated that it is willing to act in a bipartisan manner on issues related to flood risk. This makes your apparent decision to act alone and without adequate transparency even more disconcerting,” Cochran said.



PoliticalNews
11/23/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:30 am


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BOBBY HARRISON: What about 2015? Talk already abounds about next election season



JACKSON – With a long statewide election season just complete, another – the one with the biggest ballot of them all – looms on the horizon in 2015.

And while most state government incumbents elected statewide have confirmed they’ll be running for re-election to their current offices, some could have challengers – from outside or possibly inside their own party.

State Democratic Party Chair Rickey Cole may be the ultimate eternal optimist as the next election cycle approaches.

“The three most powerful offices in state government are governor, lieutenant governor and speaker. Our goal is to control at least two of those three” after the 2015 elections, Cole said recently.

Nothing in recent elections would give much credence to Cole’s goals.



Daily Journal
11/23/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:25 am


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Bryant wants free tuition for students with technical diploma



JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant is pushing a $3 million plan to pay for community college for students who earn a technical diploma in high school.

Bryant first floated the proposal earlier this month while speaking at Nissan Motor Co. in Canton and repeated it Monday when he made his proposal for the 2015 budget.

The Republican says Mississippi needs to increase the number of skilled manufacturing workers to fill available jobs and encourage employers to relocate or expand in the state. He said that potential employers he meet with are most worried about who they can hire.

“Today the first question is ‘Where is your workforce. Who are they? And are they available for our industry?’” Bryant said Monday.


MBJ
11/23/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:21 am


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Prison contracts task force is reviewing documents



JACKSON -- Former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore said Friday that he and others on a new task force have already started examining contracts awarded by the Department of Corrections as they evaluate state spending with private prison companies and other vendors.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant created the five-member task force this month after former Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps and businessman Cecil McCrory were indicted in a bribery scheme that allegedly provided Epps with luxury vehicles, an upscale home in a gated community outside Jackson and a beachside condominium on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Moore, a Democrat, was attorney general from 1988 to 2004 and served on a state board in the mid-1990s that oversaw several prison construction projects after the state was sued because of crowding and poor conditions in the prisons. Mississippi, at that time, also was starting to use private contractors to run some prisons.

"Probably, there needs to be an examination of what we're outsourcing," Moore said in a phone interview Friday from his private law office. "Has it rapidly expanded for some reason, the last five or six years? Are there some things the state ought to be doing ourselves without contracting it out? Are we paying the best price for the product we're getting?"


The Commercial Dispatch
11/22/14

Posted November 24, 2014 - 6:18 am


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Gov. Phil Bryant posted this on Obama's Executive action on immigration:



"The immigration plan announced tonight by President Obama to use executive action is a clear abuse of power. It ignores the separation of powers standard that keeps this republic under the control of the people and not politicians. Worst of all, it is nothing more than political grandstanding in conflict with the desires of the American public."


11/20/14


Posted November 21, 2014 - 6:30 am


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Sen. Giles Ward Speaks in Kemper County




The program recognizes people from across the area who have played a vital role for Kemper County. Organizers say this year's dinner had an atmosphere of even more excitement than usual...


...Senator Giles Ward was the guest speaker at the program. Hitt says they felt the senator was the perfect choice because of all the help he's given to Kemper County over the years.


WTOK
11/20/14

Posted November 21, 2014 - 6:26 am


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RELEASE:

Palazzo Statement on the President’s Executive Action



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement tonight after the President announced his plan to enact new immigration policies using executive action:



“I am firmly opposed to the president’s plan to take unilateral action on immigration. President Obama is not a dictator, not a king, but an elected President bound by the Constitution of the United States. Yet, he continues to push his own personal agenda of overreaching, unwanted policies with a reckless disregard for the will of the American people.



Law-abiding citizens in our country are fed up with this administration, and rightly so. While the president grants amnesty to countless illegal immigrants, millions of American citizens are still struggling to find work.



It’s time for the president to stop playing politics and instead put the American people first. I will do everything within my power to prevent this unconstitutional and unwelcomed action."


11/20/14

Posted November 21, 2014 - 6:23 am


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Mississippi Republicans blast immigration order



Rep. Bennie Thompson, the lone Democrat in Mississippi's congressional delegation, applauded Obama's effort, calling it a "bold step" to begin changing "the broken immigration system."

"This action, similar to those taken by previous presidents, is simply the right thing to do in the wake of inaction by Congress," said Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Thompson, however, said the plan should have included agricultural workers.



Clarion Ledger
11/20/14

Posted November 21, 2014 - 6:19 am


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RELEASE:

COCHRAN STATEMENT ON OBAMA’S UNILATERAL IMMIGRATION ACTION


Senator Says “No Justifiable Reason for President Obama to Act Alone Now”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s decision to issue an executive order granting temporary amnesty to millions of people who are in the United States illegally:

“There is no justifiable reason for President Obama to act alone now to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.

“The same pressures to secure our borders and reform our legal immigration system will exist in January when the new Congress convenes. By circumventing the legislative process now, I believe the President is making it much harder to address those problems.

“The Congress should review its best options and then act responsibly to address the President’s actions and ensure the primacy of the rule of law.”


11/20/14

Posted November 21, 2014 - 6:13 am


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Ward Baker, Kevin McLaughlin Tapped to Lead NRSC in 2016 Cycle

Senator Roger Wicker, incoming NRSC Chairman, today announced that Ward Baker will serve as NRSC Executive Director and Kevin McLaughlin will serve as the Deputy Executive Director. On the heels of historic gains in 2014, Baker and McLaughlin will protect the new Republican Majority in the 2015-16 cycle.

“Ward Baker is uniquely prepared to serve as executive director of NRSC,” said incoming NRSC Chairman Roger Wicker. “He played an instrumental role in advancing conservative ideals and restoring a Republican majority to the Senate. We are determined to preserve and build on our majority in 2016, and I am delighted that Ward will help lead that charge."

"I am equally pleased that Kevin McLaughlin will continue to stay on at NRSC in his new role as deputy executive director," Wicker continued. "As we gear up for the 2016 election, it is important to have experienced people on board, like Kevin, who know what it takes to win.”

“Ward and Kevin have been integral and tireless members of our team at NRSC this cycle," said NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran. "Their experience at the committee and across Republican politics will serve NRSC well as Republicans work to defend and expand the Senate majority in 2016.”

"I am thankful for the opportunity given to me by Chairman Jerry Moran, and honored to have the confidence and trust of Leader McConnell and incoming Chairman Wicker," said Baker. "For the past 20 plus months, we declared that anything short of winning the majority was a failure, and for the coming cycle anything less than protecting our majority will be a failure. We have our marching orders."

"I am grateful to Sen. Moran for affording me the opportunity to play a small role in helping Republicans take the majority in the United States Senate and eager to work with Sen. Wicker to ensure Republicans hold that majority in 2016," said McLaughlin.



About Ward Baker

Ward Baker most recently served as NRSC Political Director for the 2013-14 cycle where he successfully worked to win a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. Baker helped to recruit one of the strongest classes of Republicans in history which led to transformative victories across the country. Baker placed a premium on quality, energetic and inspirational candidates who fit their respective states. In addition to defeating at least four Democratic incumbent Senators, not a single Republican Senator lost his or her re-election for the first time in a decade (since 2004). In January, at least eleven new Republican Senators will be sworn in: Dan Sullivan (AK), Tom Cotton (AR), Cory Gardner (CO), David Perdue (GA), Joni Ernst (IA), Steve Daines (MT), Thom Tillis (NC), Ben Sasse (NE), James Lankford (OK), Mike Rounds (SD), and Shelley Moore Capito (WV). Ensuring that Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) joins them is essential, and will give us twelve new Republicans, significantly shifting the balance of power.

Prior to NRSC, Ward Baker has served as an advisor to over twenty members of Congress and many statewide elected officials, Baker has vast experience running Victory programs and overseeing independent expenditure campaigns. Baker also served as a senior advisor to the Romney for President where he acted as the official liaison to the Republican National Committee overseeing a $100 million dollar budget. Prior to the 2012 cycle, Baker was a member of Majority Strategies. He has also served as a senior political advisor on Governor Rick Scott's 2010 campaign, Republican State Legislative Committee, the Bush-Cheney Campaign in Florida 2004, and Haley Barbour's successful 2003 gubernatorial campaign in Mississippi. Ward and his wife Jennifer have one daughter Lillian.

About Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin McLaughlin most recently served as Senior Advisor to NRSC from the 2013-14 cycle where he helped achieve a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. McLaughlin worked with candidates, campaigns and state parties to refine messaging, improve communications and train and develop staff. Under McLaughlin's leadership, Republicans avoided devastating gaffes on the campaign trail and at least eleven new Republican Senator will be sworn in this January. Additionally, unlike prior cycles, not a single Republican Senator lost his or her re-election for the first time since 2004.

Prior to NRSC, Kevin McLaughlin founded (and owns) North Star, LLC, a boutique communications consulting firm located in Washington, DC. McLaughlin also worked as a Vice President at the DCI Group and served as the top communications advisor for Minority Whip John Cornyn. He has worked on and advised numerous statewide political campaigns across the country, the McCain '08 presidential campaign and at the Republican National Committee. A native of Minnesota, McLaughlin has a degree in Public Relations from the University of St. Thomas and spent nearly a decade as an on-air radio reporter and morning show co-host in Minneapolis before starting a career in politics. McLaughlin and his wife Sarah have one daughter Eliza.


NRSC Press Release
11/20/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 3:26 pm


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Order in David Watkins vs. Delbert Hosemann



Court upholds Secretary of State’s Findings in Watkins Case

Jackson, MS—The Chancery Court of Hinds County, First Judicial District, has ordered Watkins Development, LLC and David Watkins, Sr. to pay $587,084.34, plus interest, in restitution; $50,000 in penalties for violations of the Mississippi Securities Act; and, $18,047.39 to the taxpayer for investigation costs and administrative proceedings.

In its Opinion and Order, the Court affirmed the Secretary of State’s Final Order as follows:

• When Watkins failed to disclose his intentions to use the bond proceeds for any purpose other than the improvements for the Retro Metro project, Watkins violated the Mississippi Securities Act by employing a device, scheme, or artifice to mislead or deceive;
• Watkins’ use of a portion of the bond proceeds for the Retro Metro project to finance the activities of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Center, LLC in Meridian is a material omission and a violation of the Mississippi Securities Act; and,
• Watkins’ misuse of the Retro Metro bond proceeds was an act and course of business that operated to mislead or deceive. The Court found this was in connection with the offer and the sale of securities and a violation of the Mississippi Securities Act.

The Court found Watkins’ failure to disclose the existence of a Development Agreement did not violate the Mississippi Securities Law and therefore, reversed that finding from the Secretary of State’s Final Order.

Delbert Hosemann Press Release
11/20/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 2:09 pm


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GOTV 2014: County Chairs Speak Out



“When (the voters) hear all the bad things going on in Washington- gridlock, or a member of Congress doing something illegal- that gets their attention and they get disenchanted,” said Geoffrey Yoste, the GOP county chair for Lafayette County.

Justin Cluck, the Lafayette County Democratic Party chair agreed. “People feel apathetic. They think that my vote doesn’t count. They ask “Why should I be engaged?”

In Lafayette county, turnout was poor. It fared better than the rest of the state, but the county chairs we spoke to were both disappointed in the turnout. As statewide elections for 2015 are already gearing up, we sat down with them and asked them what kept people from the polls and what they were doing to increase turnout for the next election cycle.

Why The Voters Don’t Turnout

“People go vote when they feel like they have a stake in the process,” said Cluck. He said that the midterm elections this year were marked by a lack of local state elections or big ticket national elections where voters may have felt more connected.

Yoste spoke to the sense that people are not wanting to get involved with the process. “Politics has just turned kinda ugly, and people want to stay away from it and don’t want to put their name on it.”

Phillip Waller
Ole Miss
11/20/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 12:02 pm


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Gov. Bryant Named Chair-Elect of Jobs for America’s Graduates

Governor Phil Bryant was named chair-elect of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) at a special luncheon on Thursday in Washington D.C. Gov. Bryant will become the JAG Chair of the Board on January 1, 2015, and will take over for Governor Jack Markell of Delaware. At the luncheon, JAG also announced the milestone of the one-millionth student enrolled in their program since its inception in 1979.

“I am honored to be selected as the next chair for Jobs for America’s Graduates,” Gov. Bryant said. “I’ve seen the remarkable things our Jobs for Mississippi Graduates organization has accomplished for at-risk youth in our state. I think it’s the best, proven program in the country for lowering the high school dropout rate, while simultaneously raising graduation rates among these students.”

Currently Jobs for Mississippi Graduates (JMG) is in 50 schools and serves over 1,600 at-risk students. During the 2013-2014 school, JMG achieved a 95 percent graduation rate among enrolled students. Among the students that graduated, 44 percent went on to an institute of higher learning and those students received over $2.3 million in scholarships.


Phil Bryant Press Release
11/20/14


Posted November 20, 2014 - 11:32 am


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Initiative push to fund schools



Amid growing frustrations about how public education in Mississippi is paid for, a push is being made to put a ballot initiative together aimed to put the state Legislature's "feet to the fire" and cover the cost of schools.

Called Initiative 42, or Better Schools=Better Jobs, supporters are now waiting on approval from the Secretary of State's office to have it put up for a vote next year.

Claiborne Barksdale, CEO of the Oxford-based Barksdale Reading Institute and one of the people supporting Initiative 42, spoke to the Olive Branch Rotary Club about it Tuesday.

"If you think it is important that the public schools be good public schools and that we have an educated populace in the state," Barksdale said. "Then I would suggest to you that it makes sense the public schools be funded adequately as well. That's what this is all about."



Desoto Times
11/20/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:54 am


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State Rep. Zuber, R- HD 113 (Ocean Springs) announced Wednesday on WGUD's "Political Arena with Frank Corder" that he would seek reelection in 2015.

Zuber has served in the state House since 2000.


11/19/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:45 am


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Rep. Bobby Howell will not seek reelection



KILMICHAEL, Miss. (AP) _ State Rep. Bobby Howell of Kilmichael will not seek reelection to the post next year.

Howell, 72, is currently the chairman of the House Medicaid Committee.




WTVA
11/19/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:43 am


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RELEASE:

Secretary of State returns over $9.5-Million to Gulf Coast



Gulfport, MS—Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann presented the Mississippi Gulf Coast Legislative Delegation and the Department of Marine Resources with a check for $9,571,616.89 to benefit Gulf Coast residents.



“Preserving our Coastal areas is vital to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “This $9.5 – Million is a crucial component of that goal. The Secretary of State’s Office remains committed to ensuring State owned lands are benefiting the tax payer.”



“The Tidelands trust fund represents the State's largest annual investment in coastal marsh preservation, marine education and environmental conservation of Mississippi's marine resources,” says Jamie Miller, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “These funds provide the key infrastructure to access our incredible coastal tidelands and support the management of important agency programs.”



These funds have been allocated by the Mississippi State Legislature to Gulf Coast counties for research and access to the Gulf.


11/19/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:39 am


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SID SALTER: Bryant's budget proposal reflects election-year sensibilities




STARKVILLE - Gov. Phil Bryant presented an executive budget recommendation that addresses some of the thorny issues that he will confront along with the Republican legislative majority, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn.


Let's see, there's a tax cut plan for low-to-moderate income Mississippians. There's a pledge to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and corporations. And there's a strong nod to public education.


Bryant proposes a state tax credit totaling some $79 million that would give a low-income working family of four about $442 in tax relief while handing a moderate income working family about $105 in tax relief.



Gulflive
11/19/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:33 am


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BRIAN PERRY/Dems created Wicker fire



The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spent more than $6 million in 2008 attempting to defeat Republican U.S. Senator Roger Wicker in his special election match against former Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Wicker beat Musgrove by ten points. Now, Wicker will lead the efforts of Republicans against the DSCC in 2016 as the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Last week, Wicker's Republican colleagues chose Wicker over Nevada Senator Dean Heller for the position charged with electing Republican Senators during the next cycle, which already promises to be a challenge as Republicans will be defending 24 seats while Democrats will be defending 10. Politico notes Republicans will defend seven seats in states won twice by President Barack Obama while Democrats can go on the offensive with rematches by recruiting Kay Hagan (the defeated incumbent in North Carolina) and Mary Landrieu (expected to be defeated in the Louisiana run-off) to run again in their respective "Red States." The most vulnerable Democratic incumbent next cycle appears to be Harry Reid of Nevada.

As NRSC Chair, Wicker serves in the sixth position of Senate Republican leadership. The most recent Mississippi Senator to serve in leadership was Trent Lott who served as Republican Whip in 2007, and prior to that as Minority Leader and Majority Leader. Lott, who also served in House Republican leadership while in that body, said the NRSC chairmanship was the one leadership position he never wanted. It can be a hard and thankless job, especially going into a cycle where Republicans expect losses. Wicker acknowledges the strength of schedule but says he is up to the challenge and has shown he is ready to fight.


Madison County Journal
11/19/14

Posted November 20, 2014 - 6:30 am


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US Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) to Serve as Vice-Chairman of Environment and the Economy Subcommittee

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), today named Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Vice Chair of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee. The subcommittee is led by Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

“Congressman Harper will play a key role as Vice Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee,” Upton said. “During his tenure on the Energy and Commerce Committee, he’s been a leader in promoting job growth, reducing burdensome regulations, and investigating wasteful government programs that hinder America’s small businesses and industry. I am confident Congressman Harper will continue to further our record of success in the 114th Congress and I welcome him into his new leadership role.”

The subcommittee, with its oversight of key environmental laws and programs, focuses on the intersection of regulations and jobs. As a longtime advocate for American-made energy, Harper believes that Congress must advance ideas that safely promote and build a steady supply of American energy.

“I am honored to be named Vice Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee and I look forward to working closely with Chairman Shimkus,” Harper said. “At a time when our economy is still struggling to recover and accelerated job creation is needed, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to promote common sense policies that will spur economic growth and innovations, achieve meaningful regulatory reform, and protect consumers and the environment.”

Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release
11/19/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 10:55 am


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WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports


WDAM
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 6:10 am


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Ezell raises more money than McIlrath in Tuesday's runoff for sheriff



PASCAGOULA -- Of the two candidates pitted against one another in Tuesday's runoff for Jackson County sheriff, Mike Ezell has raised and spent the most money.

Ezell, 55, and his campaign committee, "Friends of Mike Ezell," have a raised $116,289 to date....


...Ezell's expenditures to date total $112,961.87, leaving a cash balance of $3,327.13....



...Scott McIlrath, 54, of Vancleave, and his campaign committee, "The Committee to Elect Scott McIlrath Sheriff," had raised $52,832 by Tuesday. His expenditures have totaled $47,455, leaving a cash balance of $5,377.




Sunherald
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 6:04 am


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Mike Smith wins Democratic runoff in Waveland mayor's race


WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -
Mike Smith has won the Democratic runoff election and will now face Republican Jay Trapani in the general election on December 2 in the race to fill the Waveland Mayor's seat.

WLOX
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 6:01 am


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Taking Care of Their Own? Not All New Party Committee Chiefs Were Big Givers




The junior senator from Mississippi seems to have succeeded due to a combination of factors. As the Washington Post pointed out, many of the Republican Senate caucus’ high profile members are either running for re-election in 2016 or preparing to launch presidential bids.

In addition, Wicker apparently earned the respect of his colleagues through his successful efforts to help save Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) from a stiff, tea-party backed primary challenge.

Through his leadership PAC, Wicker contributed $15,000 to Cochran’s campaign — more than he gave to any other candidate (a figure that normally would be over the limit, but Cochran faced a primary, runoff and general election). Wicker also gave $2,000 to Cochran’s campaign from his own campaign committee, and he defended the Cochran campaign’s maligned GOTV tactics and criticized donors for supporting his tea party opponent instead of throwing their money into competitive races against Democrats.

Overall, Wicker doled out $152,500 to Republican candidates from his leadership PAC, Responsibility and Freedom Work PAC — including $10,000 apiece to seven other Republican senators. And further, Wicker’s PAC also contributed $31,760 directly to the NRSC.

Wicker himself cashed a series of checks from high profile Republicans over the past few years, receiving leadership PAC money from Sens. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).


Open Secrets
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 5:49 am


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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Vows To Appeal If Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down



Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has vowed to appeal if a federal judge strikes down the state's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves heard oral arguments in a case challenging Mississippi's ban.


On Top Magazine
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 5:41 am


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Ray Mabus, Navy Secretary and former Mississippi governor, racks up $4.7 million travel bill



WASHINGTON -- The Navy secretary has spent more than a full year of his five-year tenure on overseas travel, racking up more than 930,000 miles on trips that cost taxpayers more than $4.7 million.

Ray Mabus, the former Mississippi governor, has taken at least 40 trips outside the U.S as of July 2014, meeting officials and visiting sailors and Marines in more than 100 countries, according to data obtained and compiled by The Associated Press -- travel he said is critical to his job in furthering U.S. and Navy interests abroad.

The inspector general investigated after receiving a complaint about his travel and cleared him of any wrongdoing, Mabus said, but his 373 days on the road contrast with those of Army Secretary John McHugh, who took fewer than half the trips at less than half the cost over the same time period.


Gulflive
11/18/14

Posted November 19, 2014 - 5:37 am


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Delta Representative Wants Tax Incentives to Keep Graduates from Leaving



CLARKSDALE, Miss. — Get a college degree from Mississippi and move to another state; it is a trend some lawmakers hope to put an end to. “We are losing these type of bright young minds to other states,” said Representative Chuck Espy. Espy says he plans on introducing legislation this year that would give new college graduates a tax incentive to remain working in the state, possibly not requiring them to pay income tax for up to five years.



NewsMS
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:57 am


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RELEASE:


FIFTH CIRCUIT AGREES WITH STATE ON CAMPAIGN DISCLOSURE LAWS

November 17, 2014


The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of Mississippi’s campaign disclosure laws. The Fifth Circuit’s decision Friday reversed a previous holding of the federal district court for the Northern District of Mississippi which had found Mississippi’s campaign disclosure requirements to be unconstitutional.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood were named as defendants in the lawsuit and both were represented by the Civil Litigation Division of the Attorney General’s office.

“The Fifth Circuit has confirmed our belief Mississippi has reasonable financial disclosure requirements aimed at informing the public,” said Secretary Hosemann.

“We are grateful that the Fifth Circuit agreed with the State’s position represented by the attorneys in our Civil Litigation Division,” said Attorney General Hood. “Campaign disclosure laws are important. Voters are entitled to know who is spending money to buy advertisements to influence their votes.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by a group of persons in Oxford, Mississippi who wanted to spend money to influence voters in connection with constitutional amendments appearing on the November 2011 ballot. The Fifth Circuit recognized that disclosure requirements are particularly important when constitutional amendments are on the ballot.

“The initiatives on a ballot are often numerous, written in legalese . . . . Disclosure laws can provide some clarity amid this murkiness,” notes the ruling (full PDF attached).



Ms Attorney General
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:14 am


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Cory Wilson will hold his campaign kickoff fundraiser tonight in Madison. He's announced his intention to run for the HD 73 seat in 2015.

His fundraiser is a who's who list of state and local leaders including Honorary Event Chairs:

Governor Phil Bryant
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann
Mayor of Ridgeland Gene McGee
Mayor of Madison Mary Hawkins Butler


11/18/14




Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:02 am


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Bryant announces another $28 million in Coast restoration projects



Gov. Phil Bryant announced Monday that three more restoration projects totaling $28 million are planned across the three Coast counties....


...Bryant said the projects will reduce erosion along the shorelines while providing protection from storm surge, strengthen the fishing industry and look at overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico.





Sunherald
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 7:34 am


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Palazzo questions Obama's strategy for stopping Islamic State


Palazzo asked Dempsey whether the administration was succeeding in cutting off funding for the radical group and was told he could learn more in a classified setting. His comments suggest that Obama could face growing pressure from conservative hawks over his handling of the conflict in Iraq when Republicans control Congress in next year.

Palazzo criticized Obama for vowing not to reintroduce U.S. combat troops to the war-torn country, saying that he shouldn't be "telling our enemies what we're gonna do and what we're not gonna do."

In a news conference Sunday in Australia at the end of his trip to Asia, the president sounded more circumspect in addressing the issue. "Yes, there's always a circumstance in which the United States needs to deploy ground troops," Obama said, and suggested a hypothetical scenario such as the Islamic State obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Palazzo, who attended the Reagan National Defense Forum in California over the weekend, said he is not personally calling for the immediate deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq.



Sunherald
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 6:34 am


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CHARLIE MITCHELL: Epps may do some time, but guilt is not his alone


Mississippians will be able to tell whether the criminal indictment faced by Christopher Epps means anything by how the 2015 edition of the Mississippi Legislature reacts.

A smattering of tsk-tsking over what appears to be a provable years-long practice and pattern of bribery and extortion at the pinnacle of state prison operations will mean very little.

If, however, the Legislature moves decisively to add complete transparency to prison finances -- does away with no-bid contracts -- then we'll know lawmakers seriously want to end such abysmal waste of public money.

Gov. Phil Bryant immediately ordered a top-down review.

Good start, but not enough.




Sunherald
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 6:30 am


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Supervisors ask state to name bridge after Sen. Brown




COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Lowndes County supervisors want to name a bridge on U.S. Highway 82 for the late state Sen. Terry Brown.

Published reports say the request will be given to the Legislature in January.


WTVA
11/17/18


Posted November 18, 2014 - 6:24 am


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Gov. Phil Bryant seeks $79 million tax cut for families earning less than $50,000 annually (updated)



JACKSON, Mississippi -- Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that he wants to cut income taxes for some Mississippians earning less than $53,000 a year as part of his 2016 budget proposal.

He estimates the tax reduction will return $78.7 million to about 300,000 households, for an average tax cut of around $250 a year.

The tax cut is the centerpiece of his spending plan for the 2016 budget year, which begins July 1.

"We believe now it is time to give tax relief to the working men and women of Mississippi," he said in a news conference.


Gulflive
11/17/14

Posted November 18, 2014 - 6:18 am


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Republicans list Sen. Harry Reid as number one target in 2016


The stunning Republican victory in the midterm elections appears to be only the beginning of their future plans. There is a concerted effort underway to unseat soon-to-be former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in his 2016 bid for re-election.

In fact, less than an hour after Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker became the new chairman of the Republican’s National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, he announced Sen. Reid would be the “big target” in 2016. Wicker spoke to Newsmax shortly after winning the position over Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Sen. Wicker is convinced that the senatorial victories on November 4th can be increased in the 2016 campaign. He said, "Absolutely. We can pick up a couple of seats and Nevada is certainly one of them. We definitely see an opportunity to win the seat we should have won in 2010."


Examiner
11/17/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:24 pm


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DeSoto County Superintendent Kuykendall to retire


HERNANDO – DeSoto County School District Superintendent Milton Kuykendall announced on Monday he will not seek re-election for a fourth term and will retire when his term ends in December 2015.

“I plan to leave politics,” said Kuykendall, 67. “I know what it takes to run an campaign, and I want to give those seeking this office time to run. As superintendent for the last 12 years, I have accomplished every campaign promise I made.”

Kuykendall has led the state’s largest school district, which has earned an “A” rating the last two years and has opened 18 new schools during his tenure. He also exerted considerable influence over the Legislature as an advocate for the state’s public schools.




Daily Journal
11/17/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:18 pm


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LT. GOV. REEVES’ STATEMENT ON GOV. BRYANT’S EXECUTIVE BUDGET RECOMMENDATION

“Governor Bryant is exactly right when he says Mississippi is in the best financial health in its history,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “I appreciate his support of giving the taxpayers a pay raise, and I look forward to working with him and Speaker Gunn to develop a long-term plan.”

Tate Reeves Press Release
11/17/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 3:59 pm


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Governor Bryant Releases FY 2016 Executive Budget Recommendation

JACKSON—Governor Phil Bryant presented his Fiscal Year 2016 budget to the Legislature today, calling for a tax credit for working Mississippi families and increasing funding for public education by over $52 million.
“Mississippi should start fiscal year 2016 in the best financial health it’s ever had. This budget addresses the needs of the state while giving back money to the hard working families of Mississippi,” Gov. Bryant said. “The increase in revenues is an opportunity to return money to the taxpayers, not to spend more on government programs.”
This tax credit will allow low to moderate income working families the opportunity to take advantage of a nonrefundable tax credit. This will allow for full or partial relief of an individual’s income tax liability depending on his or her income and filing status.
“I believe the additional money Mississippians will save on taxes will be reinvested in the state’s economy,” Gov. Bryant said. “I look forward to working with the Legislature in providing tax relief to working families, as well as finding ways to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and corporations.”
To make sure the state is protected during uncertain economic times, the tax credit will only be available in years when the “Rainy Day Fund” is full and revenue estimates meet or exceed 3 percent growth.
Gov. Bryant’s $6.2 billion conservative, balanced budget does not spend any one-time revenue on recurring expenses for the second year in a row. It uses the General Fund Revenue estimate jointly adopted on November 10 of $5.6 billion and has additional state support funds totaling $567 million. The FY 2016 General Fund revenue estimate reflects 3 percent growth over FY 2015.
“I commend the Legislature for heeding my call to fill the Rainy Day Fund during last year’s State of the State address. It’s now at its statutory limit of 7.5 percent of appropriated funds and this will shield the state from effects of the unexpected, like an economic downturn or natural disaster.”
Gov. Bryant’s budget will request that the 2 percent set aside rule, which has been used in past years, be suspended due to the “Rainy Day Fund” being full.
Total funding for the MAEP will reach $2.187 billion with a $52.7 million increase in the MAEP formula.
The budget again includes $15 million in funding for the implementation of the Third Grade Reading Gate and $3 million for the Early Learning Collaborative Program. Gov. Bryant’s budget also maintains the commitment of $2,500 pay raises for teachers and meets the full request of $22.6 million for the National Board Certified Teacher Program.
Additionally, an increase of $2.8 million is included for student financial aid programs at the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning to provide financial assistance for students attending colleges and universities.
“It is critical we continue to support and target key areas that help lead to education success for our students,” Gov. Bryant said. “I will ask the legislature to create the Mississippi Works Scholarship Program which will help students attain additional education and certifications at community colleges as a continuation of the tech prep programs they are participating in at the high school level.”
$3 million is included in the budget for the creation of the Mississippi Works Scholarship Program. Overall spending for public education is $2.5 billion for the 2016 budget period.
Additional budget highlights include:
Economic Development:
• An additional $5.1 million for the tourism budget to expand outreach
• An additional $1.1 million for site development grants and marketing
• Recommends continued funding of $52 million of state support funds to the Office of State Aid Road Construction

Public Safety:
• Level funds military department and veterans’ affairs
• Recommends 3 percent pay increase for on the road troopers and employees of the driver services division of the Department of Public Safety
• Maintains commitment of Driver License Modernization

MDOC:
• Level funding of MDOC at $346 million

Judicial System:
• Additional $329,000 for needs of more district attorneys across the state

Emergency Management
• Maintains level funding for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
• Recommends a funding increase of $2 million for the Wireless Communications Commission (WCC) which manages the MSWIN System for first responder communication. Total WCC funding recommendation is $10 million

Healthcare:
• $2 million for the Jackson State University School of Public Health
• Budget includes $1.5 million for the Maternal and Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative that’s to be administered by the Department of Health
• Budget recommends $1.2 million for universities and community colleges to combat teen pregnancy, due to the highest percentage of teen pregnancies occurring in teens between 18 and 19 years old

Medicaid:
• This budget maintains the legislative position of funding the Division of Medicaid at previous year’s levels, and Gov. Bryant will work with the Legislature and the Division of Medicaid to support proper funding in the upcoming session

Additional Recommendation:
• Budget includes $11.75 million of premium increase to state health plan
• Budget sets aside $50 million for the Capital Expense Fund that’s to be properly managed and spent on true capital needs
• Budget sets aside $385 million for debt service but the number is fluid due to bond issuance


2016 MS Executive Budget Recommendation





2016 Performance Measures




Posted November 17, 2014 - 3:51 pm


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Posted November 17, 2014 - 8:12 am


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Moving forward with GOP

As a life-long Republican, proud I am not, especially in the way the Republican primary was conducted. I lost a tremendous amount of respect for Haley Barbour and nephew, Henry, who used "big boss" tactics to affect the outcome of the run-off. Haley's far reaching influence as former chairman of the Republican National Committee even squashed an effort by some in the RNC to censure the questionable and unethical tactics used in the senatorial primary run-off.

I also detest the Republican leaders of our state using the office they hold to endorse one Republican candidate over another Republican candidate in a primary election. This particular practice has been on the increase in recent elections and it does much to damage the party.

First off, the office holder does not own that office. It has been entrusted to him/her for a time by the vote of the people who elected them and should not be used to damage the candidacy of another candidate of the same party. Do those office holders realize that in using their office to endorse one candidate over another they are alienating those voters who support the other candidate? At some point this practice may come back to bite them.

In the most recent primary, almost every sitting Republican from congressman, to governor, to mayor, to dog catcher (and all those in-between,) publicly endorsed one candidate over the other. If the Party really wants, as Joe Nosef says, "to remain open and welcoming" this is not the way to go.


Dot Ward
Clarion Ledger
11/16/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:41 am


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Under the Capitol Dome: 2015 Republican primary may grow again



But the recent Republican U.S. Senate race won by Thad Cochran may be a sign that Republican dominance in general elections will finally translate into GOP primaries that are larger statewide than Democratic races.

That wasn't true even in 2011, when Attorney General Jim Hood was the only Democrat to win a statewide office. That year, Democrats drew 412,530 voters in their gubernatorial primary, while Republicans drew 289,788 voters. Democrats also drew more voters in their party runoff, as Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree became the first black gubernatorial nominee in Democratic party history.

It would still take a 60,000 vote swing from Democrats to Republicans for the GOP to draw even in 2015. But the trend has been headed in the Republicans' direction. In 1987, the 19,000 Republicans who voted in the primary where Tupelo's Jack Reed was nominated cast only 2.3 percent of all ballots for governor that day. The other 97.7 percent were in the Democratic primary.



Sunherald
11/16/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:19 am


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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX


Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:16 am


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RELEASE:


Mississippi Republican Party Announces Senator Rand Paul Event


Senator Paul to Headline MSGOP fundraiser in Jackson on December 8th

JACKSON – On December 8th, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will headline a fundraiser for the Mississippi Republican Party in Jackson. Governor Phil Bryant will also be in attendance, as well as many other Mississippi GOP elected officials. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the MSGOP’s efforts to maintain the majority in both houses of the legislature, support the reelection of our Republican statewide elected officials and help elect Republican candidates across the state.

The event will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 8, 2014, at the Old Capitol Inn located at 226 North State Street in downtown Jackson. Ticket information can be found at http://www.msgop.org/victory-lunch or you may email victorylunch@msgop.org. For further inquiries, call the Mississippi Republican Party Headquarters at 601-948-5191. Space is limited, so please reserve your seat early.

“We’re excited to host Senator Rand Paul in Mississippi,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “Senator Paul has been a persuasive voice for unifying and expanding the Republican Party. His message is simple and powerful: free people and strong communities can succeed where government cannot. I believe it’s a message that all Americans – from Massachusetts to Mississippi – can understand and support. And it’s his willingness to take that message across the country that will guarantee we have continued success in having our voices heard in Washington. Please join me in welcoming Senator Paul to the Magnolia State.”

“I look forward to welcoming my friend from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, to Jackson next month,” stated U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. “We need to ensure that our MSGOP nominees have the resources to achieve victory in 2015. I am confident that by working together as Republicans we can be successful in that endeavor.”

Senator Rand Paul talked about coming to Mississippi saying, “The American people sent a clear message to those in Washington, the days of illegal executive actions are over, and the American people expect us to work together and get things done. I look forward to traveling to Mississippi and continuing to grow our party.”

Chairman Joe Nosef said, "A year ago not many people believed the Republican Party nationally and in our state could end the year stronger than we began it. But here we are - stronger, more resilient and determined than ever to maintain our hard-fought victories. And most importantly, we are unified. Senator Rand Paul exemplifies a growing but unified party as much as anyone. We are grateful that he is coming to Mississippi to help the MSGOP."

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:13 am


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Roger Wicker, new NRSC chairman: No shutdowns, impeachment threats from GOP




Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican and newly elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Friday there will be no government shutdowns under a new Congress to be led entirely by the GOP.

“We’re not going to have any government shutdowns. We’re not going to have any threats of impeachment,” Mr. Wicker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”



Washington Times
11/14/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:11 am


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Mississippi pushing Southern Super Primary



Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is working with his counterparts in surrounding states to create a Southern “Super Primary.” This would entice presidential candidates to pay attention to, and campaign in, states such as Mississippi...


...“I want the next president of the United States to come to the South and to Mississippi to tell us their views,” Hosemann said.

Hosemann said he has been talking for more than a year with fellow secretaries of state in the South about moving elections to a single, earlier day. He has drafted legislation he’ll propose in January to move Mississippi’s presidential primary date from the second Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday of the month. For 2016, that will be March 1.

Tennessee has already signed on, and Georgia’s secretary is pushing hard for it. Louisiana had already planned to move its primary up to March 5, “Super Tuesday.”


Clarion Ledger
11/15/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 6:04 am


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MSGOP: Rand Paul coming; Tea Party: 'Go stuff it'




The state Republican Party has announced U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is coming to Mississippi on Dec. 8 to help raise money for the party's efforts in state elections next year....



...But Mississippi Tea Party Chairwoman Laura VanOverschelde, upon receipt of the MSGOP's email announcing Paul's visit, had a different response.

"Go stuff it," she emailed the MSGOP in response.



Clarion Ledger
11/15/14


Posted November 17, 2014 - 5:59 am


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Cassidy picks up conservative support in Senate runoff against Landrieu



Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, who was elected Thursday to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said “there’s no question’’ support from tea party groups will help Cassidy.

“I appreciate the various points of view coming together, including elected officials, including tea party people – both points of view represent the need for change in Washington and in the Senate,‘’ said Wicker, who takes over the NRSC chairmanship in January.

The NRSC, which is coming off a successful election, helps get GOP candidates elected to the Senate. The committee staff will remain in place through the Louisiana runoff, Wicker said.


Daily World
11/15/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 5:56 am


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Tester, Wicker Begin 2016 Cycle With Distinct Challenges


Unlike this past fall, where Democrats had to defend vast territory in red states, Republicans will be the ones with more territory to defend in 2016. They'll have 24 seats to retain, many in blue and purple states, compared with just 10 for Democrats. Democrats see it as a chance to reclaim the Senate majority they lost last week, while Republicans hope their bigger-than-expected midterm victories will help pad the margins to keep them over 50.

Wicker's biggest challenges, Republicans say, will be threefold: First, raising money in a year where much of the oxygen will get sucked up by a crowded Republican presidential primary; second, working to protect incumbents from primaries; and third, recruiting well for the GOP's sparse pickup opportunities.

GOP operatives say Wicker, who is well liked on K Street, is a hard worker who will be up for the challenge of matching Senate Democrats' campaign funds in a year where donors' focus tends to be on the presidential race. Especially given the wide field of presidential prospects, who will battle it out in a (likely) contentious and expensive primary, getting donors excited about the Senate will be a tougher sell.



National Journal
11/16/14

Posted November 17, 2014 - 5:51 am


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BARIA CALLS FOR LEGISLATIVE HEARING
IN RESPONSE TO MDOC CORRUPTION CHARGES

JACKSON, MISS. State Representative David Baria (D-Waveland) today called for a Legislative hearing on recent charges against long-time MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps for an alleged bribery and kickback scheme dating as far back as 2007. Baria also called into question the reasoning behind Epps’ re-appointments even while he was under intense investigation by at least one state agency, according to reports.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment—bribery and kickbacks concealed as consulting services—enriched individuals at the expense of Mississippi taxpayers,” Baria, an attorney, said. “As a member of the Legislature charged with being a good steward of public resources, I have questions about what our state leaders knew and when they knew it as it relates to former Commissioner Epps.

On November 6, 2014, a federal indictment was handed down against former MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps for schemes that allegedly enriched him and his friends by millions of dollars. It appears that Epps was reappointed to his powerful position twice while under investigation: once by former Gov. Haley Barbour in 2008 and again by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2012.

“Why was such a powerful official who was under intense scrutiny for years allowed to remain in his position? How much state money has been wasted by the failure to stop shady business deals by an official under investigation?” Baria said.

“Sadly, the MDOC scandal is not an isolated incident of government corruption in our state. It is just the latest example of a larger trend of corruption and cronyism in Mississippi government over the past decade. From the Department of Marine Resources scandal that resulted in multiple federal convictions to a former State Representative being forced to resign for steering state contracts to his family business, there is a disturbing trend of political appointments and state contracts being used to enrich the politically well-connected,” Baria said.

“The frequent use of no-bid and single source procurement contracts similarly puts money in the pockets of the well-connected, but at exorbitant costs to the Mississippi taxpayer,” Baria said. “At a time when we are told by Republican leadership that the State does not have the money to adequately fund education and ensure that working-class Mississippians have access to healthcare, there never seems to be a shortage of funds to enrich those who feed at the trough of state government.

“In light of this trend that only continues to fester, I am asking that we in the Legislature convene hearings to investigate why former Commissioner Epps was allowed to remain in his position despite a long-pending investigation and to comprehensively review the handling of state contracts. Mississippi must get out of the business of back room deals that benefit no one but politicians and their friends and family.”


Baria said he intends to pursue his request for hearings and will be introducing legislation to rein in the lucrative no-bid contract system currently in place.


MS House Democrats Press Release
11/14/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 8:14 am


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Can this Man Secure the Republican Senate Majority?

And while Heller, like many of his colleagues, stayed out of primary contests this year, Wicker was a major force in Thad Cochran's run-off campaign, raising an impressive $750,000 to help the seven-term Senator fend off a Tea Party challenge from Chris McDaniel. "He was the superstar of all superstars for Senator Cochran in that run off and I think all his colleagues were playing attention," said Austin Barbour, a Mississippi political consultant who ran Cochran's run-off effort.

Wicker even went so far as to blast the conservative groups that spent money on challengers like McDaniel. "I’m mystified that the powers that be at some point felt that that was a good expenditure of scarce campaign resources," he told the Washington Post



Bloomberg
11/14/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 7:04 am


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With the holidays coming up, people are always looking for that special gift. For the patriot in your life, what better gift to give than the "ImAMcD" tshirt.

Now available at (not kidding) http://www.imamcd.com.


Only a Mississippian would understand. If you do not know what a "McD' is then, chances are that you are not one.

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:51 am


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Rep. Steven Palazzo quizzes Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on ISIL strategy


WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Biloxi, questioned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey during a House Armed Services Hearing today regarding the administration's strategy and military campaign against ISOL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Palazzo opened the exchange by questioning whether the U.S. has been able to successfully disrupt ISIL's main financial sources.

"Your point, question, observation is part of the comprehensive effort we are using to stop them, it isn't just force...As you say, if you don't cut off that funding source they'll keep coming, and so it's a priority piece of the overall strategy," Hagel said.


Gulflive
11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:39 am


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State Auditor's Office will review SRHS pension fund shortfall



SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -
WLOX News has learned about a new development in Singing River Health System's pension fund shortfall. State Auditor Stacey Pickering will launch his own investigation.

Both hospital administrators and Jackson County supervisors asked the auditor's office to review the pension fund problems. What that financial review will entail hasn't been worked out yet.


WLOX
11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:36 am


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Press booted from Sojourner visit to area


State Sen. Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, met with a small group of supporters at the McComb Railroad Depot on Wednesday. However, her remarks will go unreported.

The Enterprise-Journal received an invitation to attend the meeting via email. However, at the event an individual asked a reporter to leave, saying organizers wanted Sojourner to be comfortable to speak freely.


Enterprise Journal
11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:33 am


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RELEASE:

Wicker Joins Bill to Support Hong Kong's Freedom and Democracy


WASHINGTON – Today the Congressional-Executive Commission on China chair U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and co-chair U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4) along with U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski (IL-3), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), and Frank Wolf (VA-10) announced introduction of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bipartisan bill that would renew the United States’ commitment to Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy.

“The United States should stand steadfast with the people of Hong Kong in their fight to exercise self-determination,” Wicker, vice-chairman of the Helsinki Commission said. “This is an opportunity to speak with a unified American voice in support of universal freedom and democratic values. The Congress and the Obama Administration should act to ensure China honors its longstanding obligation under international law to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

“Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms—essential to its relations with the U.S.—are under threat from China. At this critical time, we must strongly support the universal rights of the people of Hong Kong, including free and fair elections in 2017 and beyond,” Brown, chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China said. “Our bipartisan bill would ensure that the United States can continue to monitor Hong Kong while ensuring that its democracy and freedoms remain a cornerstone of U.S. policy.”

“The steady erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy is the concern of freedom-loving people everywhere,” Smith, co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China said. “Hong Kong's unique system has ensured prosperity and spurred the type of creativity and vitality that only comes with the advancement of fundamental freedoms. Protecting these freedoms are a bedrock interest of U.S. foreign policy. The special privileges the U.S. grants to Hong Kong can only exist and endure if Beijing fulfills its commitments, including guaranteeing human rights and free and fair elections.”

“Civil society and democratic freedoms are under attack around the world and Hong Kong is on the front lines. The United States has a responsibility to protect human rights and defend against these threats,” Cardin, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee said. “Our bipartisan legislation makes clear the U.S. position that these issues cannot be marginalized as we grow our bilateral economic and security relationships in the region.”

"As recent events have demonstrated, China remains just as committed as ever to suppressing dissent and preventing democracy in Hong Kong as it is on the mainland. The U.S. should make clear that we stand on the side of the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong and against attempts to suppress their voices. This legislation would provide a much needed update to existing laws regarding the U.S.-Hong Kong relationship and help to ensure that Hong Kong remains truly autonomous from Beijing,” Rubio, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee said.

“I am joining many of my colleagues in Congress in supporting Hong Kong’s autonomy, while also calling for the Chinese government to show leadership and restraint in dealing with the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations that have occurred in Hong Kong,” Rep. Dan Lipinski said. “This is a crucial moment for Hong Kong and China, as conducting free and fair elections by universal suffrage is a guarantee that China itself made to Hong Kong. Any effort to end these demonstrations with aggressive force or disrupt the unique government structure that exists between China and Hong Kong will have a serious impact on China’s relationship with the many nations of this world that stand for democracy and freedom.”

The legislation would update the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 by reinstating and strengthening the U.S. State Department’s annual report to Congress on conditions in Hong Kong of interest to the United States. The bill would require the President to certify that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous before enacting any new laws or agreements affording Hong Kong different treatment from the People’s Republic of China. The legislation would also allow the President to waive the certification requirement on national security grounds.

Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong was supposed to enjoy a “high degree of autonomy” and freedoms that do not exist in mainland China. Hong Kong citizens were also supposed to be allowed to freely elect their Chief Executive in 2017 and the entire Legislative Council in 2020 in “universal suffrage” elections. This past year, however, China continued to take steps to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, including an August decision that would allow only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive in 2017. In its 2014 Annual Report released in October, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China “continued to observe developments that raised concerns about the state of democratic development, press freedom, and government transparency in Hong Kong.”

11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:31 am


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RELEASE:


COCHRAN STATEMENT ON WICKER LEADING REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today issued the following statement regarding the selection of U.S. Senator Roger Wicker to be chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee:



“As a member of the Republican leadership, Senator Wicker has a great opportunity to extend thoughtful Republican governance of the United State Senate. I was happy to support his nomination and proud to have a fellow Mississippian in this important role. Roger’s personal characteristics and political experiences will serve us well, and I look forward to seeing him excel.”


11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:28 am


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RELEASE:

HARPER, NUNNELEE & PALAZZO CONGRATULATE SEN. ROGER WICKER ON ELECTION TO CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE

WASHINGTON – Rep. Harper, Rep. Nunnelee, and Rep. Palazzo released the following statement today after U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), was elected by his fellow Republican members of the U.S. Senate to serve as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

“Our sincere congratulations to Senator Roger Wicker on his election today to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). This is not only an honor for the state of Mississippi, but important to our country as a whole. It comes as no surprise to the Mississippi delegation that Senator Wicker was chosen to lead the NRSC during this important time. Other members of the United States Senate have come to realize what we in Mississippi already know: Sen. Wicker is a strong leader and public servant who has fought for years, in both the House and Senate to successfully champion conservative values. Our Mississippi delegation may be small, but we are a strong and the NRSC is fortunate to have Sen. Wicker leading the charge to keep the Republican majority in the Senate during the next election cycle.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is the only national organization solely devoted to electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate. The NRSC provides invaluable support and assistance to current and prospective Republican U.S. Senate candidates in the areas of budget planning, election law compliance, fundraising, communications tools and messaging, research and strategy.


11/13/14

Posted November 14, 2014 - 6:26 am


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Feds informed Epps bought or leased Mercedes on Friday

Federal authorities have been informed that former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps purchased or leased a Mercedes-Benz the day after he pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him in a 49-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury.

A witness to the transaction told federal authorities Epps got the car at the dealership in Jackson on Friday of last week.



Clarion Ledger
11/13/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 5:22 pm


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"Cochran vs. McDaniel: The 2014 Mississippi Republican Primary"
Austin Barbour

Austin Barbour is the nephew of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and a key strategist for Senator Thad Cochran’s successful primary defeat of challenger State Senator Chris McDaniel. Most recently, Barbour has been recognized as one of the nation’s top fundraisers through his positions as one of the National Finance Chairmen for Romney for President in 2012 and a member of the National Finance committee for the Republican Governor’s Association. Barbour runs a consultancy based in Jackson, Miss. with his brother, Henry.

When: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall


Posted November 13, 2014 - 11:34 am


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BREAKING: Mississippi US Senator Roger Wicker elected by Senate Republicans to lead NRSC

Posted November 13, 2014 - 10:25 am


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In a potentially huge move for his political status and that of the Mississippi delegation, Roger Wicker (R-MS) has been elected as the Chair of the NRSC.

Having been a big fundraiser for Senate Republicans this cycle, he played a pivotal role in getting involved in the Thad Cochran primary that had an enormous impact on the Senate map nationwide.

Wicker Elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., released the following statement after he was elected to serve as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

“I am thankful for the confidence and the support of my colleagues. I intend to roll up my sleeves immediately to ensure that we have the resources available to preserve our Republican majority. This Senate Republican leadership team is ready to go to bat for the American people, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The Chairman of the NRSC is the sixth-highest ranking leadership position in the Republican Party conference of the United States Senate.



Senator Roger Wicker Press Release
11/13/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 10:18 am


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Heller vs. Wicker: Battle for NRSC Chair Goes Down to Wire


But as with Heller, there are concerns. Wicker can raise money at home and on K Street, but it's unclear what kind of appeal he would have in New York or Silicon Valley, where the party is working to expand its fundraising footprint. As for campaigning, Wicker's lack of political battle experience makes him a sort of unknown quantity. Given his few real races, Wicker doesn't have a very large political operation, and several strategists said there were questions about who exactly would serve on the NRSC under Wicker.

Lott said he was fond of both Wicker and Heller, noting that all three of them are fraternity brothers—former Sigma Nus. "Either one of these guys would be great, but I've got to stick by my homie," Lott said.

Wicker has reached out to Lott, who served in several leadership positions during his tenure in the Senate, for advice on the race. "I asked him quite frankly: Why in the world would you want that job?" Lott said. "It's a tough leadership position. … It's really the only leadership position that I never wanted and never held."



National Journal
11/13/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 7:47 am


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Hinds County Election Commissioner’s Comment Sparks Controversy



Now Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham is saying it's not only the law that was broken that upsets him, but the comments made by Cochran surrounding the ballot shortage.

"Saying that if it had rained we would have been okay, that's in some circle racial divisive, it's inflammatory," says Graham.

"How someone could interpret what I said as a racist statement, I mean you really have to dig kind of low to come up with that," says Cochran.

Graham said Cochran's exact statement was "if it had rained we would have been fine but the weather was perfect and we had a lot of people come out to vote."

Cochran tells us there was no other connotation behind what she said, "It's a known fact when it rains less people turn out. That's all I was saying."



WJTV
11/12/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:57 am


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BRIAN PERRY/Judicial Runoffs



Five of the 24 contested chancery and circuit court judge races in Mississippi are headed for a run-off on Nov. 25.

The only chancery run-off is for District 13, Place 2 (Simpson, Smith, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis, Covington) to fill the seat left open following the resignation of Judge Joe Dale Walker who pled guilty last month to federal obstruction of justice. Taylorsville attorney Gerald Martin led the three-person field on November 4 with 41 percent of the vote: a nearly 1800-vote lead over second-place Collins attorney Mary K. Burnham. Martin - attorney for the Smith County Economic Development District and prosecutor for the Town of Raleigh - outraised Burnham $9,199 to $1,440 according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

In Circuit District 2, Place 2 (Harrison, Hancock, Stone) former assistant district attorney Chris Schmidt led with 42 percent of the vote, despite being out-raised more than 2 to 1 by second place finisher Robert Fant Walker. Walker raised $214,691 in the race to Schmidt's $86,781. Walker, a Gulfport municipal judge, is the son of a former circuit court judge and now federal magistrate and great-nephew of former Mississippi Chief Justice Harry Walker. The incumbent in this race, John C. Gargiulo, was appointed federal magistrate and withdrew from reelection.



Madison County Journal
11/12/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:33 am


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Six candidates qualify to run for Jackson City Council seat



Bob Hickingbottom, Charles Barbour, Dorsey Carson, Ashby Foote, Amile Wilson and Richard Sellers have qualified to run for the seat in a December 2 special election.


WLBT
11/13/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:28 am


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Federal judge mulls challenge to Mississippi gay marriage ban


U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard about five hours of arguments Wednesday -- first, from an attorney representing a gay-rights group and two lesbian couples who sued the state, and then from state attorneys who defended the ban.

Mississippi has a 1997 law and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Reeves says he will rule "as soon as possible," but didn't say when.



Gulflive
11/12/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:23 am


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State Senator with Black Caucus defends Governor Haley Barbour's "Tar Babies" Comment



Here is the full statement provided by Kenny Wayne Jones, Chairman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus:

In recent days, I've seen Mississippi's former Governor Haley Barbour accused of making racist comments by calling President Obama's policies ‘Tar Babies'.

The truth of the matter is that any public policy considered controversial is a political Tar Baby.

Religious Freedom, for example, is a political Tar Baby for Mississippi because when you touch it you get stuck, and the more you struggle with it, the more entangled you get.

Therefore, I do not condemn Governor Barbour's statements as racist, nor do I believe he intended for anyone else to view his comments as such.

There have been people who used the term Tar Baby as a subtle way to belittle African Americans. But in this instance Governor Barbour's statement was simply partisan rhetoric that any politically astute person is entitled to use.

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will fight for those who lack an adequate voice, but we won't attack a native Mississippians - Republican or Democratic – to appease those who would label Mississippi as a backwards state.

Governor Barbour could have chosen more politically acceptable words to describe my President's policies, but that's not the Haley we know.

Mississippians are tired of race bating accusations when they don't apply, and in this instance Governor Barbour's words were misinterpreted.


WJTV
11/12/14

Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:17 am


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RELEASE:


NUNNELEE SHARES OUTLOOK AND AGENDA

Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, the House of Representatives reconvened. Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) shared his outlook:



“With the expansion of the Republican majority in the House and regaining the Republican majority in the Senate, voters made clear last Tuesday that they are ready for solutions,” he said. “My job as your Representative is to help create an atmosphere for a strong economy with good jobs for Mississippi. Jobs and the economy will continue to be my focus as we conclude the 113th Congress and we begin the 114th Congress.”



Nunnelee also outlined the agenda for the coming weeks, “In addition to voting on legislative business, I will be participating in leadership elections and organizational meetings in preparation for the 114th Congress.”



“One of the highest honors of my life is representing the First District of Mississippi,” he said. “I am grateful for the continued opportunity to represent you in Washington.”





Posted November 13, 2014 - 6:13 am


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WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Posted November 12, 2014 - 4:41 pm


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McDaniel says Auditor Pickering spread rumors about him

Pickering, also from McDaniel's home Jones County, said Wednesday that he had received "a phone call or two" from some people who attended the Republican Women's event and heard McDaniel.

"First of all, I've never even heard of a rumor of him being with a 24-year-old," Pickering said. "... As for the house thing, I know a lot of folks were trying to find him after the election. The only thing I can think of is people were trying to find him after the election.

"I'm not going to get down in the ditch with him," Pickering said. "... I can't imagine what Chris and his family have been through the last several months, but I'm hoping they can move on."


Clarion Ledger
11/12/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 3:40 pm


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Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus defends Barbour's "tar babies" comment

Senator Kenny Wayne Jones, Chairman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus says that any public policy considered controversial is a political "tar baby".

"Religious Freedom, for example, is a political tar baby for Mississippi because when you touch it you get stuck, and the more you struggle with it, the more entangled you get," Senator Jones says. "Therefore, I do not condemn Governor Barbour's statements as racist, nor do I believe he intended for anyone else to view his comments as such."

He says that there have been people who used the term as a "subtle way to belittle African Americans", but that in this instance Barbour's statement was "simply partisan rhetoric that any politically astute person is entitled to use."

"The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will fight for those who lack an adequate voice, but we won't attack a native Mississippians - Republican or Democratic – to appease those who would label Mississippi as a backwards state," Senator Jones says.

While he does agree that Barbour could have chosen a more politically acceptable word to describe the President's policies, he says that Barbour's words were simply misinterpreted.



WLBT
11/12/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 2:53 pm


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Chris McDaniel, state senator and former US Senate candidate, spoke today at the Jones County Republican Women luncheon.

McDaniel, according to WDAM reporter Vanessa Pacheco, accused fellow Jones Countian and State Auditor Stacey Pickering of spreading rumors that he was cheating on his wife.

Here's the tweets from Pacheco:








11/12/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 1:43 pm


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State Democrat leader Rickey Cole on Rep. Jeramey Anderson: 'Don't let the young face fool you'


MOSS POINT, Mississippi -- About 100 people gathered Tuesday evening to hear State Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, give his first State of the District 110 Address.

Anderson, the youngest state representative elected at age 21, finished his first year in the state Legislature earlier this year and residents say they were anxious to hear what he had to say...



...The event was also attended by dignitaries like Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, and Rickey Cole, executive director and chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.

"Don't let the young face fool you," said Cole with a laugh. "You have a great leader. His kind of talent, energy, and will to see things in a new way is what we need."

Anderson focused his address on economic growth, education, healthcare, minimum wage and equal pay for women -- a cause near and dear to him.



Gulflive
11/12/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 11:35 am


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CLARION LEDGER: Hinds needs new electronic voting machines: Our view



Enough is enough. It's time for Hinds County to stop being obstinate and move to the electronic voting machines that the overwhelming majority of counties in Mississippi use for elections.

If anyone has faith that the Hinds County Election Commission can properly conduct elections, we would be astonished. Every time people go to the polls in Hinds County a rather significant problem rears its ugly head and sends the process into a momentary state of chaos. It would be laughable if it wasn't so frustratingly incompetent on the part of the people who run elections in the state's largest county.

The latest issue has Hinds County Election Commission Chairman Connie Cochran admitting that she knowingly and purposefully broke the law by not ordering the state-mandated number of ballots. State law requires a county to have enough ballots for 75 percent of registered voters to cast votes. Hinds County had less than half the required number. That mean hundreds of voters had to cast affidavit ballots, which is now causing a delay in the counting and certifying of elections — including some of tight local races.


Clarion Ledger
11/11/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 8:33 am


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Bryant chooses new Mississippi banking commissioner


JACKSON (AP) – Gov. Phil Bryant has chosen a new state banking commissioner to succeed one who left more than a month ago.

Charlotte Corley of Madison has already begun working as commissioner, and will need to be confirmed by the state Senate during the 2015 legislative session.


Daily Journal
11/10/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 7:49 am


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SALTER: Salter: Old scarred warrior remains on Capitol Hill



The bad news? There are some in the state who want to repeat the internecine political warfare that was the 2014 Republican primary in the 2015 courthouse-to-statehouse elections. They want Republican primaries to be beauty contests that measure ideological purity.

While the players in that drama are motivated and not possessed of short memories, the thing that makes the narrative that GOP primaries in 2015 in Mississippi will mimic the muddy 2014 GOP Senate primary is that fact that $12 million in outside spending by super PACs in all likelihood won't be deployed. Mississippi candidates will be forced to do combat in the primaries based on more traditional resources.

More to the point, the inability of some of the more politically militant opponents of Cochran to make good on their general election threats against him without the outside campaign finance advantage that fueled much of the first primary success has in fact emboldened "establishment" Republicans in the state to stop walking on eggshells around them.



Clarion Ledger
11/8/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 6:28 am


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A Lot of Work to Do: Palazzo Says Miss. Delegation Getting Ready to Fight Regulators, Repeal Obama Care


Palazzo said he believes Democrats have held up job creation by allowing federal agencies to overregulate.

“We need to rein in these regulators,” he said. “I’m proposing a moratorium on any new regulation and to create a commission to look at every rule that’s on the book and make these regulators justify before it comes back to Congress for an up or down vote to remove it.”

He said he believes that regulations are the number one obstacle to job creation.

“That’s the reason why the cost of everything has gone up and will continue to go up and why wages won’t catch up if we allow these regulators to keep doing what they’re doing, cart blanche.”



NewsMS
11/12/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 6:16 am


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Ridgeland attorney David H. Nutt is the wealthiest Mississippian, study shows


NEW YORK -- Ridgeland attorney David H. Nutt is the wealthiest Mississippian, with a net worth of $880 million, according to Wealth-X, an international wealth intelligence firm.

Wealth-X recently released its annual list of the richest person in each U.S. state....


Gulflive
11/11/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 6:05 am


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Presley fundraising fuels '15 gubernatorial talk


Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has a high-profile fundraiser set for Jackson on Thursday, hosted by former Gov. William Winter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson and a host of top Democratic movers and shakers.

This out-of-district fundraiser is adding to the speculation Presley, a rising star in the Democratic Party, is running for governor, lieutenant governor ... you name it in 2015. He's been traveling the state for quite some time now, and it would appear he's building his name recognition outside North Mississippi. Many political observers speculate he might be working on a 2015 gubernatorial run.


Clarion Ledger
11/11/14

Posted November 12, 2014 - 6:01 am


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Miss. Budget Outlook



House Speaker Pro Tem, Greg Snowden says community colleges are some of the many agencies seeking extra funds.

"Our budget requests from the various agencies were almost $1 billion," says Snowden. "That's probably 9 to 10 times more than what we'll have to distribute to state agencies. So, we've got to be very careful, and very prudent."

In regards to determining how the projected $166 million extra should be used, Snowden says there are two very important things that legislators must consider.

"We've got to maintain adequate reserves; our rainy day funds need to remain full. Our bonding agencies have told us that that's absolutely critical, and secondly just as a matter of basic fiscal prudence we cannot spend non-recurring monies on reoccurring expenditures," says Representative Snowden.



WTOK
11/11/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 1:01 pm


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Wicker Responds to President’s Net Neutrality Statement

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., leading Republican of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement on net neutrality:

“President Obama’s net neutrality plan would create uncertainty, discourage investment and innovation, and threaten the online experience that Americans rely on and enjoy. His regulatory proposal would undoubtedly be tied up in the court system for the foreseeable future. It is my hope that Chairman Wheeler will instead pursue a solution that follows the law and does not disrupt economic growth and job creation. We must work to keep the Internet free and open for everyone.”

US Senator Roger Wicker Press Release
11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 12:31 pm


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Franklin: Deal with corruption immediately, harshly

How do we create a climate that seriously discourages corruption? Corruption that stifles the small businessman and handicaps the underdog candidate. Look at any study and see that Mississippi suffers from the lowest per capita personal income of any state. Our students score the lowest of any state on national assessment tests. We're ranked at the tops of both unemployment and teen pregnancy. Maybe it's not so odd that there are four corruption convictions a year per every 10,000 Mississippi state employees.

It's pretty simple. If you want to keep your nose clean, all you have to do are two things: Keep your pants up, and don't take or do anything with money that you're not supposed to have.

Unfortunately, for some local and state officials, that hasn't been the easy part. We've simply got to do better, and those who cross the line need to be held accountable — immediately and harshly.


Brad Franklin
Clarion Ledger
11/11/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 8:27 am


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Gov. Bryant Speaking in Israel for Security Conference



JACKSON, Miss.- Governor Phil Bryant left for Israel this weekend to speak at the 3rd International Conference on Homeland Security.

The website for Israel HLS 2014 shows Bryant is the only U.S. governor speaking at the conference, which started Sunday and runs through Tuesday.


NewsMS
11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:39 am


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Mississippi budgeters expect modest growth in spending


JACKSON – Top Mississippi lawmakers said Monday they expect a 3 percent increase in state spending during the coming year, reflecting a prediction of modest growth in the state economy.

That’s stronger than the 1.1 percent revenue growth rate for the current year over last year, but weaker than the roughly 5.5 percent growth during each of the two previous years.

The 13-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee met Monday and set a revenue estimate of about $6 billion, which is an educated guess about how much money the state will have available to spend. The estimate is used as a basis to write a budget for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1.


Hattiesburg American
11/10/14


Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:35 am


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Hinds Co. election chief admits she broke the law


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran admits she broke the law by not ordering the required number of ballots for last week's general election.

The secretary of state's office says state law requires election commissioners to order enough ballots for 75 percent of registered voters to cast votes.


WLOX
11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:32 am


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Gov. Phil Bryant, AG Jim Hood ask federal judge to uphold Mississippi ban on gay marriage


JACKSON, Mississippi -- Mississippi's Republican governor and Democratic attorney general are asking a federal judge to uphold the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The state made the request in court papers Monday, responding to a lawsuit filed Oct. 20 in U.S. District Court in Jackson by two lesbian couples and a gay-rights group, Campaign for Southern Equality.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn the ban, saying Mississippi violates constitutional rights of gays and lesbians and denies same-sex couples the "rights, benefits and duties that automatically come with marriage."

Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood responded that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Mississippi and two other states, has not recognized gays and lesbians as a group with specific civil-rights protections. Because of that, there is no reason for a federal district judge to give "heightened scrutiny" to claims of bias.


Gulflive
11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:28 am


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Joseph Ziegler, former DMR Chief of Staff, sentenced to three years probation


HATTIESBURG, Mississippi -- Joseph Ziegler, the former Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Chief of Staff, was sentenced to three years probation today for his role in the public corruption scandal, State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced in a news release.

Ziegler is the last of 10 individuals to be sentenced as part of the state and federal investigation into DMR.

He was also ordered to pay $184,487.28 in restitution and a $5,000 fine. He will begin making payments of $1,000 a month in 30 days.



Gulflive
11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:25 am


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FROM MSTP EMAIL:


Thank you for joining us in our effort to eliminate Common Core from our Mississippi schools. This will be a very large effort by a number of individuals, groups that have networked together, experts in education and psychology, and YOU, the activist.



Presented here is a summary letter of what has been done in Mississippi to collect information, to educate those who want to know more, research articles written by those interested in improving Mississippi schools, and efforts accomplished to inform State Officials about the serious problems associated with Common Core State Standards.



If you are willing to help influence our Legislators and leaders, we are asking you to:



Review the summary letter
Review the research articles (3) written by Rob Chambers
IF YOU AGREE, please sign the letter, and let us know that you are signing the summary letter (send email to: chairmanmstp@gmail.com)
Please sign the petition on Facebook to stop Common Core in Mississippi at its link: http://eduliberty.com/action-center/mississippi/
We ask that you obtain a printed copy of the letter, the research articles and the Petition.
Sign and keep a copy for yourself. Please make 5 copies of the signed letter with its attachments (one for each official to whom it’s addressed).
ATTEND THE 2:30 PM, JANUARY 6, 2015 MEETING AT THE CAPITOL IN JACKSON. We would like those who agree to BRING YOUR SIGNED LETTERS WITH YOU FOR HAND DELIVERY TO THE FIVE STATE OFFICIALS ADDRESSED IN THE LETTER.


It will require a large presence of people WITH their letters at the Capitol to impress these lawmakers that they should ACT and they should ACT THIS SESSION (2015) to rescind Common Core State Standards from our schools. We ask that you circulate this letter to your friends, relatives, acquaintances and work associates who also are concerned about this FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF EDUCATION AND HOW THIS AFFECTS OUR CHILDREN.



11/10/14

Posted November 11, 2014 - 6:21 am


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