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Deadline to File for State Elections is Today; Pritchett to Announce for Auditor

JACKSON, Miss.–The deadline to file to run for state office is today and another candidate is expected to announce she is running for state auditor of Mississippi.

Jocelyn Pritchett, A.K.A. Joce, said in a news release Thursday that her announcement will be on the capitol steps Friday morning.

The Jackson native runs Pritchett Engineering and Planning, LLC, in nFlowood. She is one of the people who filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage, and plans to run as a Democrat. As of this writing, she will face Charles Graham, of Jackson, for the Democrat nomination.


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:27 am

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Today is the last day to qualify to run for a state, regional or county office in Mississippi. The deadline is 5pm.


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:21 am

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Barbara Blackmon will run for state senate seat

Attorney and former State Senator Barbara Blackmon announced Thursday she will run for the seat again. Blackmon represented Senate District 21 for 12 years.


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:19 am

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From Quentin Whitwell's Facebook page:

"With the outpouring of support and the blessing from my family, I am pleased to announce that I am running for US Congress. As a native of Southaven and current Oxford resident, I am ready to run a strong campaign. My business background and legal training distinguishes my candidacy from the field. I hope you will join me in fighting to bring America back to its finest moment!"


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:16 am

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Harrison County supervisor William Martin found dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound

GULFPORT, Mississippi -- Hours after he was due to appear in federal court on corruption charges, the body of Harrison County Supervisor William Martin was found in his Gulfport home -- dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove.

Hargrove said indications are the time of death was sometime in the early morning hours Thursday.


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:11 am

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A number of misleading claims are being used by critics of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to derail K-12 education reform. The following information will explain my support and how the Student Success Act will reduce the federal footprint and restore local control over elementary and secondary education.
Claim: H.R. 5 cements Common Core into federal law.

FACT: The Student Success Act prohibits any agent of the federal government – including the Secretary of Education – from coercing states into adopting Common Core​​ (or other specific standards) through waivers, federal grants, or any other authority.

FACT: Leading conservative education organizations and long-time critics of the Common Core, including the Home School Legal Defense Association and the American Association of Christian Schools, have endorsed the Common Core prohibitions included in the Student Success Act.

FACT: The Student Success Act is a conservative response to President Obama’s Common Core overreach. The federal government must not dictate what academic standards can and cannot be taught in schools. The Student Success Act protects the right of states to reject Common Core, free from federal coercion.

Claim: H.R. 5 continues the No Child Left Behind era of federally-mandated standards, assessments, and accountability.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals the one-size-fits-all accountability metric, giving states freedom to choose how best to evaluate their schools.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, states are responsible – not the federal government – for developing academic standards in reading, math, and science, and evaluating student and school performance against those standards.

FACT: The Student Success Act rolls back the highly prescriptive accountability metrics of NCLB, while ensuring policies are in place to protect federal taxpayers’ dollars.

Claim: H.R. 5 is fiscally irresponsible.

FACT: The Student Success Act eliminates 69 programs authorized under current law.​ The bill replaces the current maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant so states and school districts allocate resources in a way that meets local priorities, not Washington’s priorities.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, federal spending on K-12 education programs will be less than what is currently authorized for just the Title I program, and the bill freezes that level of annual spending for the next six years.

FACT: The Student Success Act requires the Secretary of Education to reduce the department’s workforce by the amount of staff currently assigned to implement the programs eliminated under the bill (saving taxpayers $10 million) and includes other policies (authored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)) aimed at lowering spending as the number of federal mandates is reduced.

Claim: H.R. 5 continues NCLB mandates dictating school improvement and state and local spending.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals mandates in current law that dictate how much money school districts must spend on federally-mandated school improvement activities.

FACT: Under the Student Success Act, states – not the federal government – would create strategies to improve failing schools. There are no federal requirements dictating what state-created school turnaround strategies must look like.

FACT: The Student Success Act repeals NCLB’s prescriptive and limited menu of school improvement activities dictated by the federal government. Instead of this top-down approach, states would use federal funds to improve underperforming schools, free from any federal influence.

Claim: H.R. 5 forces every state to participate in the programs under the bill.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes a specific provision allowing states to opt-out of the policies adopted under the bill. Authored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), the specific legislative text reads:

Any State that opts out of receiving funds, or that has not been awarded funds, under one or more programs under this Act shall not be required to carry out any of the requirements of such program or programs, and nothing in this Act shall be construed to require a State to participate in any program under this Act.

FACT: The Student Success Act is clear: Any state that does not want to comply with any requirement under any program in the bill is free to opt out.

FACT: The Student Success Act rejects the “blank check” approach advocated by some who believe federal dollars should be spent with zero taxpayer accountability. The bill strikes the right balance by rejecting calls to micromanage schools and ensuring schools are transparent with parents and community leaders about how taxpayer dollars are used.

Claim: H.R. 5 requires states to waive their sovereignty.

FACT: The Student Success Act supports the right of every state to opt out of any program under the law. No state is compelled to participate in any program under the bill.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes an “opt-in” provision that relies on the state legislature to affirm it wants to participate in the policies established under the bill. This ensures parents and local leaders have an opportunity to make their voices heard with state leaders about the direction of education policy in their home states.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes numerous provisions that prevent the Secretary of Education from meddling in state and local affairs, including matters involving standards, Common Core, assessments, and a state’s decision to opt-out of the system.

Claim: H.R. 5 tramples on parental rights.

FACT: The Student Success Act empowers parents to have greater control over the quality of education in their neighborhood schools. In no way does the bill allow the federal government to limit the rights of parents under the law.

FACT: Nothing in the Student Success Act limits or transfers parents’ rights to the government.

FACT: Empowered parents are absolutely critical if students are to receive an excellent education. That is why the Student Success Act continues support for magnet schools, expands access to quality charter schools, and allows federal funds to follow low-income children to the traditional public or public charter school of the parent’s choice.

Claim: H.R. 5 is an assault on the nation’s religious, private, and home schools.

FACT: The Student Success Act protects the autonomy of religious schools, private schools, and home schools by ensuring they are free from the Secretary of Education’s control. The bill includes long-standing policy that prohibits any control or monitoring of private schools by the federal government.

FACT: The Student Success Act includes a long-standing policy known as “equitable participation,” which provides low-income students attending religious schools, private schools, and home schools their fair share of federal services offered under the law, such as math tutoring. This does not allow the federal government to monitor or influence any aspect of non-public schools.

FACT: The Student Success Act continues long-standing policies that require equitable participation to be delivered in a non-secular manner. This only applies to the actual services provided to students as agreed to by the private and public schools providing the services. In no way does this require schools to abandon their religious beliefs.

Claim: H.R. 5 erodes student privacy.

FACT: The Student Success Act ensures every grantee under the law not only understands the importance of protecting student privacy, but is aware of their responsibilities to protect student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, (FERPA).

FACT: The Student Success Act makes no changes to FERPA, which has been the controlling law on student privacy for 40 years. The law includes strict limits on the use or sharing of a student’s personally identifiable information.

FACT: House Republicans are committed to strong student privacy protections. FERPA was written before laptops, iPads, and smart boards were in America’s classrooms. Congress must update the law to ensure student privacy protections reflects the realities of modern technology.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper
Member of Congress


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:06 am

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Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary

Week of February 23, 2015

This week, House members faced Wednesday’s deadline for original floor action on Appropriation and Revenue bills originating in the House, and Thursday’s deadline of reconsideration on Appropriation and Revenue bills originating in the House. House members also began addressing Senate bills toward the end of the week.

Several bills authorizing bonds and tax credits to different groups passed from the Ways and Means Committee this week onto the House calendar.

--House bill 1570 (HB1570) provides $1 million to the City of Gulfport for a new aquarium. The city is spending $150 million on this project. The bill passed by a vote of 110-8.

--House bill 1618 (HB1618) creates the Main Street Investment Act, which provides $5 million in bonds for municipalities with populations of less than 15,000 to be used toward revitalizing downtown areas. Revenues gained would be used to pay back the loan. The bill passed by a vote of 118-2.

--House bill 1568 (HB1568) gives the Elvis Presley Birthplace, Museum and Chapel $1 million in bonds to complete this project that began in 1994. A portion of the money will be used toward the Vietnam Memorial that is adjacent to the Elvis Presley birthplace.

--House bill 1134 (HB1134) approves the establishment of Catastrophe Savings Accounts and exempts contributions and distributions to them from income tax. Enactment of this measure will help homeowners afford increasing insurance premiums as a result of additional risks. Through these savings accounts, homeowners will be allowed to have higher deductibles on their policies. This will only be allowed in catastrophic instances. It passed by a vote of 121-0.

In 2012, Governor Bryant signed into law the “Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Act,” which provides certain tax incentives for qualified health care industry related businesses located within five miles of hospitals within health care zones. The law gives the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) permission to designate areas in counties as Health Care Industry Zones if they meet certain criteria. Special incentives encourage health-related businesses to locate in or relocate to these areas.

On the House floor this week, members passed House bill 1634 (HB1634), complimenting that law. This law mirrors HB1582 which passed last year in the House. HB1634, or the “Mississippi Healthcare Industry Zone Master Plan,” will provide incentives for certain healthcare facilities within healthcare zone master plan communities. MDA will be provided a small amount of bonding capacity to assist with specific projects in communities that have healthcare zone master plans. A special diversion of $50,000 a month would be set aside for a healthcare job training fund to be administered by MDA. The training will be provided by universities and community colleges. No state General Fund dollars will be used. Local sources will issue and pay for the bonds. Twelve communities currently have Healthcare Industry Zone Master Plans. They are located in the counties of: Clarke, Clay, Copiah, Hancock, Humphreys, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Noxubee, Panola, Scott and Yazoo.

On Wednesday, deadline day, the House passed a $1.5 billion individual income tax cut proposal by a bipartisan vote of 83-32. The income tax cut in House Bill 1629 (HB1629) will occur over a 15-year period beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) and will take place only if there is three percent revenue growth in each fiscal year.

Currently, Mississippians pay a three percent income tax on their first $5,000 of income, four percent on the next $5,000 of income and five percent on income over $10,000. Under the House plan, the three percent income tax would be eliminated by 2019, the four percent income tax by 2022 and the five percent income tax by 2030.

Key Points of the Proposal:
• 15 Year - $1,515,920,217 individual income tax elimination
• 3% bracket eliminated by 2019
• 4% bracket eliminated by 2022
• 5% bracket eliminated by 2030
• 3% revenue growth required
• Mississippi family that makes $30,000 a year - $1,350 Raise
• Mississippi family that makes $50,000 a year - $2,350 Raise
• Mississippi family that makes $70,000 a year - $3,350 Raise

The Insurance Committee addressed and passed several Senate bills including Senate bill 2380 (SB2380), which allows drivers to keep their insurance card on electronic devices as opposed to keeping it solely on a card when providing proof of insurance. The bill was amended to include provisions prohibiting an officer/trooper from going through a person’s phone or computer for anything other than the insurance information.

Among the bills passed by the Education Committee, Senate bill 2161 (SB2161) creates a 19-member commission to study the Common Core National Education Standards. Fifteen members of the commission will be experienced educators in the four subject areas (Math, English Language Arts, History and Science). The remaining four members will include the chairmen of the House and Senate Education Committees and the chairman of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.


Posted February 27, 2015 - 6:04 am

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Bryant gets Republican primary challenger

JACKSON – First-term Gov. Phil Bryant picked up a Republican primary challenger Thursday, the day before candidates' deadline to qualify for statewide, regional and legislative races.

Mitch Young of Lamar County filed papers with the state Republican Party to challenge Bryant. Details about Young's background were not immediately available. While Young has not filed a campaign finance report, Bryant had $2.4 million in campaign cash at the end of 2014.

Two Democrats, attorney Vicki Slater of Madison and Robert Gray of Jackson, have filed to run for governor.

Hattiesburg American

Posted February 27, 2015 - 5:59 am

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Democrats' Mississippi Dilemma: Great Candidates Who Refuse to RunThe party's brightest lights are passing on the state's biggest races.

But Mississippi is different. The state's Democrats have an unusually strong bench of potential candidates—including the party's only statewide elected official in that region, a sizable minority in the state house, and a cadre of midsized-city mayors. "We're not at the numeric disadvantage that some of our fellow Southern Democrats are," said state Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole.

But for now, the party's stars are unwilling to risk running in the state's biggest race: the governor's election that will take place this November. The party had two strong, potential challengers to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant: Attorney General Jim Hood and Public Commissioner Brandon Presley. But both declined to challenge Bryant and are instead running for reelection to their current jobs....

..."You don't have to talk about Washington, D.C.," said Ronnie Musgrove, the last Democratic governor of the state. "You can talk about Washington County, Mississippi. You can talk about Washington, Mississippi, in Adams County. You talk about our local schools and our local communities. … You just talk about what's happening in Mississippi."

But even as they distance themselves from national Democratic figures, the state party is looking for help from the national party apparatus, with some members saying they aren't getting the support they need. If Washington helped local Mississippi Democrats, they'd be able to launch statewide bids. But Democrats in D.C. likely won't be interested in sinking money into a losing contest; this creates a sort of "chicken-and-the-egg conundrum that Mississippi Democrats cannot escape at the moment," according to University of Mississippi political science professor Marvin King. (A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee declined to comment.)

In order to get those candidates to risk higher-office runs, party members say it's also critical that Democrats retake the state legislature.

National Journal

Posted February 27, 2015 - 5:48 am

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Mississippi emerges as leader in telemedicine

The Magnolia State ranks at or near the bottom in most health rankings: worst infant mortality and most kids born with low birth weight; second-to-highest rate of obesity and cancer deaths; second from the last in diabetes outcomes.

But the state is a leader in one aspect of health care: telemedicine. The state’s only academic hospital has remote connections with 165 sites, providing specialized services to some of the state’s most far-flung, medically deprived cities and towns. Mississippi’s telemedicine program, ranked among the seven best in the country, has inspired neighboring Arkansas to take bigger steps in some areas of the field, and the impact of its success is making waves in Washington as well.

Mississippi’s congressional delegation is at the center of a small group of lawmakers championing telemedicine. Trent Lott of Mississippi and former Senate majority leader, is lobbying big for the technology, which could generate fat profits if Medicare starts reimbursing it in a significant way. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, in a visit last December, said the state has “solved the perennial challenge of getting broadband to its most rural areas.”


Posted February 27, 2015 - 5:45 am

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State Sen. Michael Watson announced today that he will seek reelection to the SD 51 seat he's held since 2007.

An intra party challenger emerged in recent days, but rumor is Alisha McElhenney will drop out of the Republican primary, leaving Watson unopposed from the GOP side. He will face a Libertarian candidate in the general election at this point. Others could still qualify tomorrow but that is highly unlikely.

McElhenney's entry in the race is said to have been for purely political reasons since she and Watson are friends. With the uncertainty and speculation surrounding Watson's 2015 plans McElhenney qualified in case the two term state senator decided to seek a higher office, sources tell YP.


Posted February 26, 2015 - 5:20 pm

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Sens. Leahy & Cochran Bill Would Expand Home-State Food Options for Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to introduce the Farm to School Act of 2015, a measure to improve a successful program that promotes the use of home-state agriculture products in school cafeterias.

The Leahy-Cochran legislation (S.569) would expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant program that was initially created in 2004 but not funded until 2010. The 2015 legislation would increase school eligibility, reduce barriers for farmer participation, allow broader use of agriculture and aquaculture (including catfish) products, and restrict the amount of program funding that can be used for administrative costs.

“Farm to School is a simple, but great concept to provide more economic opportunities to farmers and more home-state food options for our schools,” Cochran said. “The Farm to School Act of 2015 improves this important initiative to eliminate unnecessary barriers and provide opportunities for local communities to educate youth about agriculture while building more viable economies. The increased flexibility and reduced regulatory burdens in this bill can bring far-reaching economic benefits, especially in rural areas.”

“The farm to school movement is a two-fold solution to helping address hunger in America. It both encourages healthier eating habits among children, and supports local farmers. Children, communities, farmers and schools all win under this formula,” Leahy said. “The Farm to School Act of 2015 will build on and extend these successes. Hungry children cannot learn. Providing security to our children goes beyond having roofs over their heads. It means putting food on their plates. It also means offering healthy choices to help form healthy lifestyles. Vermont has been a leader in forging farm-to-school partnerships, and many of the improvements in this bill are drawn from those successes.”

While creating economic opportunities for rural farmers, the Farm to School program has benefited a number of Mississippi school districts and organizations, including the Oxford schools, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws and the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

The Farm to School program provides grants to help implement efforts to make locally-produced foods available in school cafeterias. Recipients include schools, tribal organizations, land-grant universities, farmers, and other similar entities. The Leahy-Cochran measure would expand eligibility to land-grant colleges and universities, preschools, summer food service sites and after school programs. It would also create incentives for beginning, veteran and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to participate in the program.

The S.569 would raise the program’s authorized level from $5 million to $15 million, and increase the maximum grant award to $200,000. The stand-alone Leahy-Cochran bill could be considered for inclusion in the broader child nutrition legislation which is up for reauthorization this year.

A similar reauthorization bill (HR.1061) has been introduced in the House by Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio).


Posted February 26, 2015 - 12:22 pm

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Wicker: Independent FCC Caves to White House

Miss. Senator Responds to Agency’s Vote to Regulate the Open Internet

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, today issued the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote to regulate the Internet:

“I believe there are many people who are frankly stunned and saddened that the Chairman of an independent agency has taken an action which he once felt was ill-advised. It is also troubling that he was so quick to acquiesce to pressure from the Administration. I do believe this rule will be challenged in court, and it will be lengthy and costly.

“A Democratic member of the commission did everything she could to say, ‘Let’s slow this train down and figure out a way not to do this.’ And yet, it goes forward today with at least two Democratic-appointed members of the commission expressing serious reservations. I am disappointed that the FCC has chosen to move ahead in this manner.”


Posted February 26, 2015 - 12:20 pm

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Word has it that Geoffrey Yoste of Oxford will officially qualify tomorrow for the Northern District Transportation Commissioner race.

More to come.

Posted February 26, 2015 - 12:10 pm

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Kelly running in congressional election

JACKSON – District Attorney Trent Kelly of Saltillo has become the latest elected official to announce his intention to seek the 1st District U.S. House seat.

Kelly, a Republican, is in his first term as district attorney.

“My top priority is a continued focus on jobs and building a strong economy that encourages small business development in Mississippi,” said Kelly, an Iraq War veteran. “I am running because I believe we need leaders who will focus on making our country a better place for our children and grandchildren.”

Daily Journal

Posted February 26, 2015 - 11:54 am

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State Sen. Michael Watson is the last of the McDaniel-Sojourner-Watson trio to announce his intentions for 2015. Watson represents senate district 51 in Jackson County.

According to the MSGOP list, should Watson run for reelection he will face a GOP primary versus newcomer Alisha Nelson McElhenney.

Little is known about McElhenney, however a LinkedIn profile shows her as a Mobile County school teacher and the interim chair of the Jackson County Conservative Coalition, a group apparently formed as others around the state following the McDaniel US Senate challenge.

Watson has long had aspirations for higher office and isn't shy in exploring those options publicly, just as his friend from Jones County. Rumor in Jackson County is that Watson wants to challenge Congressman Steven Palazzo for the 4th District in 2016. With McDaniel actively exploring for that federal office and hinting at a run in a very open way, one has to think Watson can't be too hip on McDaniel throwing shade on his long believed to be plan.

But for now we wait to see what Watson does in 2015 - qualify for reelection and face what appears to be a friendly intra party challenger or sign up for a higher office in the last hours before the deadline.

Posted February 26, 2015 - 11:33 am

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Attorney Russ Latino announced on Facebook this morning that he would not seek the Republican nomination for Mississippi Attorney General.

No other Republican has qualified as of yet.

Incumbent Democrat Jim Hood has qualified.


Posted February 26, 2015 - 9:16 am

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Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes Endorses Tate Reeves for Re-Election

Reeves’ 2011 primary opponent offers support in 2015 election

Today former candidate for Lt. Governor and current Mayor of Mississippi's second largest city, Gulfport's Billy Hewes, announced his support for the 2015 re-election of Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. Mayor Hewes offered the following statement:

“Over the last four years, Lt. Governor Reeves has produced a conservative record for which we can all be proud. Tate has been a leader on many of the things I fought for while in the Senate: he has balanced our state’s budget, made our state a safer place for our children, enacted improvements to our public school system and reduced Mississippi’s debt burden. While we were opponents in 2011, I am proud to stand alongside him today as an ally as we fight for a better Mississippi. I am happy to publicly endorse Tate Reeves’ re-election campaign to the office of Lt. Governor.”

Thanking Mayor Hewes for his support, Reeves declared, “There aren't many people in our state that better understand the importance of having strong conservative leadership in the State Senate as does Mayor Hewes. Having represented the Coast in the Senate for many years and rising to the position of President Pro Tem, he recognizes what strong conservative leadership looks like. Billy has dedicated much of his life to serving his state and his community and I am honored to have his support for re-election."

Tate Reeves Press Release

Posted February 26, 2015 - 8:34 am

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Senator Chris McDaniel to run for third term in state senate, focus on uniting conservatives across Mississippi.

“I have spent a great deal of time with my family and closest friends in coming to this decision,” said McDaniel. “I am honored by the hundreds of personal calls and thousands of messages I have received asking me to seek higher office. However, I believe the best possible decision I can make for my family and for the conservative movement in Mississippi is to seek reelection to the Mississippi State Senate and continue to build a solid foundation for conservatives to come together across the state.”

“The response across Mississippi to the launch of the United Conservatives Fund over the past month has been incredible. Hard working conservative Mississippians are ready to step up and serve like at no other time I can remember. That is why I have decided, rather than take the political movement we built in 2014 and run another campaign in a single election, the best possible way for me to positively change the future of Mississippi is to give those resources to the people. Together I believe we can take back our state capitol from political interests and strengthen the backbone of the Republican Party at the same time.”


Posted February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am

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Collins to run for open congressional seat

JACKSON – State Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, announced today she is running for the vacant 1st District congressional seat.

“After much prayerful consideration, I have decided to declare my candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, so that I might bring a strong conservative agenda to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the 1st District,” Collins said in a prepared statement.

Collins becomes the second candidate to announce for the position vacated by the death of third-term Congressman Alan Nunnelee on Feb. 6. Rep. Chris Brown, R-Aberdeen, said Tuesday he would run.

Daily Journal

Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:43 am

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MS House of Representatives Pass Individual Income Tax Elimination

Jackson, MS--Today, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a $1.5 billion individual income tax cut proposal. The income tax cut in House Bill 1629 (HB1629) will occur over a 15-year period beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) and will take place only if there is three percent revenue growth in each fiscal year. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 83-32. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Currently, Mississippians pay a three percent income tax on their first $5,000 of income, four percent on the next $5,000 of income and five percent on income over $10,000. With the passage of HB1629, authored by Rep. Brad Mayo (R-Oxford), the three percent income tax would be eliminated by 2019, the four percent income tax by 2022 and the five percent income tax by 2030.

“I am so proud of the House members who stepped up to support such a transformative income tax cut proposal,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “This legislation will make a significant, positive impact on the lives of the hard-working Mississippians paying income tax. They will be able to keep more of the money they earn, in turn stimulating economic growth.”

This particular proposal has been compared to the plan adopted by Kansas that combines income tax reductions, lower sales taxes and elimination of a tax on small business income using no trigger.

“This proposal has no semblance to the Kansas plan,” said Speaker Gunn. “The problem with the Kansas plan is that the tax cuts continue to occur even if revenue does not grow. Under the House plan, revenue growth must be three percent or better for the income tax to occur each year. This means that with a minimum of three percent growth, there would be an additional $3 billion in revenue growth.

“We would give half of that back to the people of this state through this tax cut,” he continued.

Key Points of the Proposal:

15 Year - $1,515,920,217 individual income tax elimination
3% bracket eliminated by 2019
4% bracket eliminated by 2022
5% bracket eliminated by 2030
3% revenue growth required
Mississippi family that makes $30,000 a year - $1,350 Raise
Mississippi family that makes $50,000 a year - $2,350 Raise
Mississippi family that makes $70,000 a year - $3,350 Raise


Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:41 am

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Congressman Bennie Thompson responds To DHS funding crisis

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on the ongoing funding crisis:

“While today's developments in the Senate are promising, it remains to be seen whether Speaker Boehner can show real leadership and put a clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security on the House floor. Unless he steps up and brings his colleagues with him, DHS will shut down in less than three days. DHS has been headed towards a shut down for months while House Republicans have wrung their hands and pointed fingers. If a shut down occurs Saturday, or if the can gets kicked down the road with another continuing resolution, critical DHS operations and activities will be hampered. A shut down can be avoided, all it takes is House Republicans committing to a clean bill.”


Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:36 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Qualifying deadline Friday

We should finally have a fairly firm view of the statewide 2015 elections this Friday at 5 p.m., the deadline for candidates to file their qualifying papers with their respective parties and for independent candidates to file with the Secretary of State...

...For seats in the House of Representatives, 92 Democrats have qualified creating 19 primaries; and 105 Republicans have filed making 23 primaries.
In the state Senate, 34 Democrats have qualified with 6 contested primaries; and 47 Republicans have filed with 9 of the races contested primaries.
In all these races, a lot can happen before Friday's deadline.

Madison County Journal

Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:31 am

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Bobby Patrick Announces Candidacy for State Senate

Columbus, MS (February 25th, 2015) Bobby Patrick announced today that he has qualified with the Mississippi Republican Party as a candidate in the Republican Primary election for Senator of the 17th District.

Patrick is a retired State Farm Insurance agency owner who is seeking election to Mississippi Senate District 17. He retired in 2011 after 38 1⁄2 years of representing State Farm Insurance in Columbus. Bobby is married to Patsy and they have three daughters and seven grandchildren. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Columbus where he has served as President of his Sunday School Class and has served on numerous committees. He presently serves as a Deacon and is a past Chairman of Deacons. Patrick has a heart for Christian service, as he is also a member of the Columbus Emmaus Community and The Gideons.

His public service includes 15 years of serving as Chairman of the Selective Service System for Lowndes, Clay and Chickasaw Counties, serving on the Board of the Red Cross, past president of The Magnolia Kiwanis Club of Columbus, a member of the Odd Fellows, a Master Mason with York and Scottish Rite degrees, as well as a Shriner and has served three years as President of Lake Norris Fishing Club. Bobby is a graduate of Mississippi State University where he received a degree in Political Science in 1968 and where he also played baseball.

Patrick has a strong sense of giving back to his community and feels his service to the community will give strength to our educational system, our economic base, a desire for a strong regional hospital, and the welfare of all of our citizens. “As a retired businessman, I have no other vocation that will impede my total and complete service to the voters of Lowndes and Monroe County.” Patrick said.

“In the Republican Primary on August 4th, 2015 I humbly ask the voters of the 17th District for their vote to allow me the opportunity to serve as their full time Senator in Lowndes and Monroe Counties,” he said.


Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:25 am

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House passes phase-out of income tax

The state House, after two hours of debate, approved a measure to eliminate the state's individual income tax over the next 15 years.

The vote was 83-32, with 18 Democrats helping the GOP majority pass the measure, which required a 3/5, or 60 percent vote.

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 26, 2015 - 6:20 am

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BREAKING: Chris Epps pleads guilty

Former Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges Wednesday before federal District Judge Henry T. Wingate.

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 25, 2015 - 9:53 am

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Tagert, Adams likely top candidates for MS01: UPDATED

Word this morning is that Republican District Attorney Trent Kelly has decided to run. Kelly is from Tupelo with a district that covers Alcorn, Itwawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties.

If Kelly gets in the race, then he could become a top-tier candidate alongside Tagert and Adams. He has the same populist, prosecutorial, courthouse appeal that makes Attorney General Jim Hood as potent as he is.

Kelly's biggest obstacle will be fundraising. Tagert has already shown that he can raise money. If Adams enjoys the support of Bryant's team, then fundraising should not be overly difficult for him. Where Kelly turns is the question.

All three of these candidates have a base in the eastern part of the district, giving Tagert and Kelly the benefit of holding office there and regularly working with a constituency. It also means that Tagert has the best chance of winning in the western part of the district. He currently represents Desoto County, plus you would expect Johnson to work to deliver Desoto to Tagert.

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 25, 2015 - 8:49 am

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Ex-Senators: Congress Remains Stuck

Lott said long congressional recesses and weekends out of Washington have harmed the interpersonal relationships that can sometimes help resolve tough issues.

Breaux agreed, saying, “It’s difficult to stab someone in the back in the morning when you had dinner with them the night before.”

Other causes of a lack of accomplishment in Congress, Breaux said, are gerrymandering that creates safe seats for candidates and negative campaigns that can discourage some good candidates from running at all.

Lott added campaign demands have turned an elected official’s life into “round-the-clock” fundraising. He said, “The money chase has really gotten out of hand.”


Posted February 25, 2015 - 6:05 am

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SUN HERALD | Editorial: Gunn's plan to phase out income tax is unworkable

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn's proposal to phase out Mississippi's individual income tax is political pandering. It is both deceptive and unworkable.

It is cruel because it gives taxpayers the idea that state government really can, in the words of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, give them "a pay raise."

But not even Reeves, a former state treasurer, dared to take the idea to the extreme Gunn has done.

Gunn's proposal is to get rid of the individual income tax -- which produces $1.7 billion of the state's $5.6 billion in revenue -- bit by bit beginning in 2016 until it vanishes a dozen years later. Unless -- and you have to appreciate this caveat -- unless state revenues do not increase by at least 3 percent the previous year. So it seems that unless the state not only finds a way to replace the lost income tax revenue but produces additional revenue as well, the taxpayers would have to go at least a year without "a pay raise."

Public policy, especially public fiscal policy, should rest on a much firmer foundation.

Gunn's proposal would be laughable, except that as speaker of the House, he has the wherewithal to pursue it.


Posted February 25, 2015 - 5:53 am

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Johnson seeks Transportation Post

Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson has filed qualifying papers to run for Northern District Transportation Commissioner as a Republican candidate for that post.

Johnson has served as mayor of the DeSoto County seat since 2005. He served as an alderman before his election as the city's mayor.

Desoto Times

Posted February 25, 2015 - 5:42 am

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Bipartisan Resolution Honors the Contributions of African Americans in the Face of Racial Injustice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced a resolution commemorating Black History Month.

S.Res.84 recognizes the contributions African Americans have made in education, politics, arts, sports, literature, science, and technology despite centuries of systemic racial discrimination.

“Black History Month tells an American story etched in the shadows of adversity, marred by sacrifice, and elevated in triumph. Each February we honor the contributions of people who literally bore the foundation of this nation on their backs. Without a doubt the freedoms I enjoy today as an American are a testament to their tenacious pursuit for equality,” said Booker. “From the abolishment of slavery, the fight for civil rights, and now, our efforts to reform the criminal justice system, this resolution is a tribute to the legacy of African Americans and a clarion call to all Americans to continue the fight for liberty and justice.”

“Black History Month provides us with opportunities to not only remember past injustice and celebrate victories over it, but also to commemorate contributions being made today to ensure equality and justice for all Americans. This rich history and promise for the future carved by African Americans are central to who we are as a nation, and we ought to be proud of it.” Cochran said.

“As Americans it is important for us to recognize the great contributions and achievements of African Americans,” said Gillibrand. “Countless leaders and unsung heroes fought to overcome injustice, risking their lives to secure freedom and equality for all. This tribute honors the sacrifices that have inspired so many who continue this work and will touch lives for generations. I will never forget those values that so many have fought and died for and we must look to them as we work to forge a path to an even better America.”

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is an original cosponsor of the resolution.

“February is a special time to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans throughout our nation’s history,” Wicker said. “The legacies of these men and women continue to inspire us to fight for freedom and equality. I am pleased that two of Mississippi’s civil rights leaders, Medgar Evers and Aaron Shirley, are included in this bipartisan measure.”

Other cosponsors include: Sens. Kelly Ayotte R-N.H., Richard Burr R-N.C., Ben Cardin D-Md., Chris Coons D-Del., Richard Durbin D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein D-Calif., Johnny Isakson R-Ga., Jeff Merkley D-Ore., Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska, Chris Murphy D-Conn., Patty Murray D-Wash., Rand Paul R-Ky., Rob Portman R-Ohio, Debbie Stabenow D-Mich., and Thom Tillis R-N.C.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:28 pm

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Wicker: Presidential Veto Unjustifiable

President Obama Ignores Voters, Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Approval

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has released the following statement in response to President Obama’s veto of legislation to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“President Obama’s veto ignores the will of a clear, bipartisan majority of the American public,” said Wicker. “I am disappointed that he has put the priorities of extreme environmental special interests above those of working families. The Keystone pipeline has broad support because it would enhance our nation’s energy security while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs. Congress should move quickly to override the President.”

According to the State Department, the project would support more than 42,000 jobs while having a minimal effect on the environment. The pipeline is projected to increase supply of North American energy through the shipment of more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:25 pm

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Palazzo Condemns President’s Veto on Keystone XL

Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement today after the president’s veto of legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline:

“This was an opportunity for the president to stand united with Congress and prove that Washington can put the American people’s priorities first. Instead of doing his job and leading our country towards prosperity, he chose to play petty politics and cower to liberal interests. I can’t begin to fathom how he can continue to justify his actions of complete disregard for the betterment of our country. The American people not only deserve answers, they deserve better.”


Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:23 pm

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Chris Brown, conservative Republican state Representative, today began his campaign for Congress in Mississippi’s 1st District, with the following statement:

“The upcoming special election is a sad necessity, as we all would have preferred for Congressman Nunnelee to have won his courageous fight against cancer. He set an example for all of us in his faith, devotion to family, and as a public servant. He was always very kind and encouraging to me. We shared a passion of working to benefit Mississippi.

Now, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that it is appropriate for me to offer myself as a candidate for service in the U.S. House of Representatives.

My record as a state legislator proves that I am a fiscal and social conservative. I am a Big Freedom Republican, not a big government Republican. On the national level I will be a strong advocate for the best national defense and national security.

America’s freedom has enemies both foreign and domestic. Internationally, the enemy is the radical Islamist jihad against America and Western civilization. Domestically, the enemy of American freedom is the socialist philosophy of President Obama and his allies.

In Congress, I will uphold the Constitution, defending it and, Congress itself, from the actions of President Obama who does end-runs around both, ignores the rights of the states and the people, and who acts like a king, not a president.
I will work to defund, repeal and replace ObamaCare with free market, patient-centered healthcare options for Americans.

I will fight to stop Washington’s outrageous spending and debt that are bankrupting America.

President Obama’s war on coal negatively impacts TVA and will cause utility bills to soar. I will stand up for the people of Mississippi against this assault on their household finances.

I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens; we must enforce our laws and secure our borders. I will support a strong national defense, call for vigorous action to defeat Islamist terrorists, and strongly support our ally Israel.

My vision is for America to again be strong, free and prosperous, with limited government and maximum individual liberty.

Join the Chris Brown for Congress campaign and help take our country back from a federal government that is too big, too expensive, too intrusive, too corrupt, and too detached from the people.

To learn more about me and what I believe, visit VoteChrisBrown.com”

Chris Brown Press Release

Posted February 24, 2015 - 3:00 pm

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Today, the Mississippi House Republican Caucus announced a $1.38 billion individual income tax cut proposal. The income tax cut in House Bill 1629 (HB1629) will occur over a 15-year period beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) and will take place only if there is three percent revenue growth in each fiscal year.

Currently, Mississippians pay a three percent income tax on their first $5,000 of income, four percent on the next $5,000 of income and five percent on income over $10,000. Under the House Republican Caucus’ plan, the three percent income tax would be eliminated by 2019, the four percent income tax by 2022 and the five percent income tax by 2030.

“If we are going to do a tax cut, we want it to be real, substantial and make significant impact on the lives of those who are paying the tax,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “With this tax cut becoming law, a family making $30,000 a year will be able to keep $1,350 more of their hard-earned dollar. That’s a 4.5 percent raise. Over the course of these next 15 years, we will not only see every Mississippian be able to keep more of their hard-earned money, but we will also see the economic growth and prosperity that comes with a significant tax reduction.”

Rep. Brad Mayo, author of HB1629, also believes this measure will give Mississippians a long-needed, meaningful tax relief.

"Mississippians will be able to keep more of their paychecks and spend it toward their priorities,” said Rep. Mayo. “We have worked to create efficiencies, reduce waste and improve the delivery of government. These are fruits of those labors. But, this proposal will not impact this year’s budget."

HB1629 passed the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this morning.

“I am proud that we are looking to help all Mississippians in eliminating the income tax,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith. “Allowing our citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money rather than paying it to the government is the right thing to do.”

Key Points of the Proposal:
• 15 Year - $1,380,360,533 individual income tax elimination
• 3% bracket eliminated by 2019
• 4% bracket eliminated by 2022
• 5% bracket eliminated by 2030
• 3% revenue growth required
• Mississippi family that makes $30,000 a year - $1,350 Raise
• Mississippi family that makes $50,000 a year - $2,350 Raise
• Mississippi family that makes $70,000 a year - $3,350 Raise

MS House Press Release

Posted February 24, 2015 - 12:08 pm

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Governor Phil Bryant has set the special election for MS01 for May 12. Qualifying deadline is March 27.

If necessary a runoff will be June 2.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 11:56 am

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MS Political Pulse: Democrat Charles E. Graham Qualifies for Auditor

Charles E. Graham of Jackson qualified today to run for auditor. The position is currently being held by Republican Stacey Pickering who has a primary opponent, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler.

Graham, a retired firefighter with the Jackson Fire Department, also served as assistant director of the Hinds County Emergency Operations Center. He is also a blogger with Jackson Voices, a project of The Clarion-Ledger and The Maynard Institute, which supports diversity in American journalism.

MS Political Pulse

Posted February 24, 2015 - 8:08 am

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Senate proposes extra spending on education, roads

JACKSON – The Senate on Monday hurriedly passed dozens of appropriations bills on to the House, earmarking more money for public education and county roads and bridges and keeping most agencies "level-funded."

Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke said the Senate has earmarked $110 million more for K-12 education, $32 million for county roads and bridges, $20 million for a proposed tax cut, and $4 million more for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He said this saps the $166 million in extra revenue the state has collected.

"We have spent all the money," Clarke said. "It gets spent fast."

Hattiesburg American

Posted February 24, 2015 - 6:03 am

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Weather Does Not Stop Work On State Budget

(AP) - The Mississippi Senate has approved an early draft of part of the state budget. But there's much more work to be done. Senators on Monday passed more than 50 budget bills, sending those to the House for more work.

The House took similar action on a different set of budget bills last week. The two chambers have a deadline in late March to agree on a spending plan for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1.

The budget is expected to be about $6.2 billion, slightly higher than spending during the current year.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 6:00 am

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Lamar County Circuit Clerk pulls out of race

Lamar County Circuit Clerk Leslie Wilson announced Monday morning he will not be seeking a sixth term as Circuit Clerk.

“I have just over 32 years of public service to the people of Lamar County, (12 as coroner and 20 as circuit clerk), and feel it is time to begin a new chapter in mine and my family's life,” said Wilson.

In the Lamar County Circuit Clerks' race, Wilson did not have a challenger as of Monday Feb. 23. Candidate David Allen Breland did qualify previously to run, but changed over to the Chancery Clerks race.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:56 am

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The Difference Between Can't and Won't

You could be forgiven for taking a fatalistic attitude about our state's future. The truth is not that Mississippi can't catch a break, but rather that we won't.

There's a big difference.

"Can't" suggests we lack the ability to be better. "Won't" means we lack the will to improve.

This is the entire basis for a number of brave districts filing suit to demand the state provide them the funding the law requires. Mississippi has the ability to dramatically improve education, but our elected leaders have decided we won't.

They are making critical funding decisions not based on the true costs of providing an adequate education; not based on how much the state can afford; and certainly not based on the overall worth of an education. Our children's future hinges on what our elected leadership finds politically expedient.

They seem to be saying that we can't do any better than last. Our problems are too great to be resolved. The legislature can't pass a law to change the MAEP formula. Our state can't afford to fund it. And even if we did, we can't make any difference.

No. Not, 'We can't.' They won't.

Huffington Post

Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:48 am

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AP Newsbreak: Speaker Philip Gunn seeks $1.7 billion-plus phaseout of personal income tax

JACKSON, Mississippi — In a game of escalating tax-cut proposals, House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, will propose the biggest so far: a $1.7 billion phaseout of Mississippi's state personal income tax over more than a decade, a top legislator said late Monday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, confirmed Monday that he plans to bring forward the proposal in his committee Tuesday.

Smith said Gunn will have a news conference following the committee meeting to advocate for the plan. Gunn declined comment Monday night through his chief of staff, Nathan Wells.

Gunn's plan could shift this year's debate away from business tax cuts, after lawmakers have enacted more than $350 million in business tax relief since 2012.

The move raises the bidding in Republicans' election-year efforts to reduce taxes, even as advocates for education and other state services seek more money. The amount in question is more than a quarter of the current $6.1 billion in state money in Mississippi's budget this year.

Daily Journal

Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:40 am

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Wicker Encouraged by Court Ruling to Block Obama’s Amnesty Order

Legal Battle Continues Against Executive Overreach

The Constitution’s system of checks and balances was designed to keep one branch of the government from becoming more powerful than the others. Today, that time-tested system is important to restraining President Obama’s continued abuse of executive power.

Mississippi Supports Court Challenge

On February 16, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a temporary injunction to block the Obama Administration’s attempted overhaul of immigration law. As Hanen noted, “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle” if the President’s far-reaching plan were implemented before its challenge in the courts is resolved. President Obama’s actions are being challenged as unconstitutional in a lawsuit filed by Mississippi and 25 other states.

The executive action in question is President Obama’s unilateral expansion of a deferred deportation program, effectively granting temporary legal status and work permits to nearly five million illegal immigrants. Announced last November, the brazen power grab not only usurps the authority of Congress, which is responsible for writing and amending federal law, but it would also impose billions of dollars in costs on states. Following the court order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promptly suspended the President’s initiative. Applications for the expanded program were set to begin just hours later on February 18.

I oppose amnesty for immigrants who have entered illegally or overstayed their visas. I have also been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s relentless executive actions, which undermine the democratic process and rule of law. There is support in both political parties for comprehensive immigration reform that reinforces our borders and strengthens national security by fixing a broken system. The President’s decision not to work with Congress misses a significant opportunity for meaningful bipartisan action. Instead, he has provoked a legal battle that many predict will end up before the Supreme Court. The President should not be surprised. Even he has described executive action on immigration as “ignoring the law.”

Democrats Obstruct Homeland Security Funding

Because the legislative branch holds the power of the purse, lawmakers are responsible for authorizing and appropriating funds to federal agencies, including DHS. One of the most urgent items for Congress to approve is homeland security funding. DHS funds are set to run out at the end of this month.

The House of Representatives has passed a measure that would fund DHS and prohibit the President’s unconstitutional actions, but it has yet to be approved by the Senate. Democrats continue to filibuster a routine procedural vote that would bring the measure to the floor for debate.

Criticism of the President’s immigration proposal transcends party lines. In recent weeks, several Democrats have openly opposed the President’s amnesty order. I am hopeful that the court’s action will help persuade Democrats to allow debate on the bill.

Obama’s Legacy of Legal Fights

The President’s immigration policy is just one example of the deliberate executive overreach that has characterized his time in office. Sweeping directives affecting health care and the environment have also ended up in the courts, where they have yet to be settled.

We can be thankful that our Founders recognized the danger of having too much power in one branch of government. More than two-and-a-quarter centuries after the Constitution was written, the checks and balances it established remain crucial to preserving our democracy and the will of the people.


Posted February 24, 2015 - 5:37 am

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#MS01 Field Starting to Take Shape
It looks like Mike Tagert is in.
by Alan Lange
The political maneuvering in the field to replace the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee is starting to emerge more publicly.

Today, MS Appeals Court Judge Jimmy Maxwell sent out a press release saying that in fact he would not seek the #MS01 special election seat. Maxwell is a very likely candidate for Mississippi Supreme Court in 2016 in that North MS district that he already represents on the Appeals Court and he will be an extremely strong candidate for that Supreme Court seat. He is a former Assistant US Attorney in Northern MS and his wife, Mindy Maxwell, works for US Senator Thad Cochran (R) in Oxford.

Also, former Tupelo Mayor and former #MS01 Republican candidate Glenn McCullough recently accepted an appointment to the IHL Board from Governor Bryant last week making it hard to believe that his hat would be in the ring, although his name was mentioned in the rumor mill for a brief time.

The top-tier candidate who looks most likely to be 100% in the race is Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. Tagert already represents the northern third of the state, which substantially overlaps #MS01. People close to Tagert have confirmed that he is planning to publicly confirm his intentions to run for the special election this week. Tagert has a shorter fuse than most of the other potential candidates as he was already on the ballot for re-election as MDOT Northern Commissioner at the time of Nunnelee’s death. Since the qualifying deadline for state elections is this week, that forces Tagert’s hand to announce his intentions.

Were Tagert to run and win, he would have to withdraw from the MDOT race, though he can stay on that ballot until the federal special election is held. If he wins and there was not another Republican on the ballot, Republicans would not be able to field a candidate in a general election. Tagert’s announcement to run would put some immediate pressure on the MSGOP to identify, at the very least, a friendly primary challenger to Tagert. It could well be that some of the folks that want to get into elective office but that may not can organize quickly enough to run in #MS01 might see a friendly challenge to Tagert as a potentially expedient way to earn an office representing a third of Mississippians and start building a political resume.

There is a lot of chatter about other potential candidates particularly from the Desoto County area, most of whom have not previously held elective office. However, no one has really distinguished themselves at this point in terms of coalescing mindshare as the odds-on potential leading candidate in that area.

One other name that has emerged is Former Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell. Now a resident of Oxford, Whitwell has been making the rounds in DC and the district and is said to be seriously considering a run and talking to folks that could potentially serve in a campaign.

A couple of events are likely to shed some additional light on the field. First will be when Governor Phil Bryant announces the special election, which could come very soon. The second event will be the finalization of the state elective slate which will happen at 5:00 this Friday.

Stay tuned to Y’allPolitics as this will be a fun race to watch.

Posted February 23, 2015 - 7:45 pm

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 12:33 pm

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Judge Jimmy Maxwell to Remain in Judiciary, Will Not Seek Congress

After carefully weighing the realities and rigors of modern congressional life, I will not be a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives this year. Any excitement of possibly representing the First District in Washington D.C. was a distant second to the importance of being closely involved in my young children’s lives.

I admit the idea of running for Congress was tempting, but a shot at winning a political race is never itself a valid reason to run—particularly when you are passionate about your current work. And I truly enjoy serving North Mississippi in our judiciary. I hope those who encouraged me to run and pledged their support will understand my decision. If there is a race in my near future, it will be one that keeps my family in Mississippi and will likely be for higher judicial office.

Jimmy Maxwell Press Release

Posted February 23, 2015 - 12:31 pm

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SID SALTER: State has governor’s race after a fashion

Mississippi is going to have a contested governor’s race in 2015 after all – well, after a fashion. The entry of successful Madison attorney Vicki Slater into the race guarantees incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant an opponent.

But can a Democrat win a statewide election?...

...The answer is simple. Yes. Ask Attorney General Jim Hood, the state’s only statewide elected official with a “D” behind his name. Hood has weathered several high-quality, well-financed Republican opponents and is running again in 2015.

But Mississippi’s recent political history suggests that Ms. Slater faces a long, hard road in 2015 against Bryant. In gubernatorial politics, the numbers have solidly favored Republicans and Republican incumbent governors have grown stronger in office, not weaker – since 1991.

Fordice and Barbour built their second-term leads without control of both houses of the Legislature – something Bryant has solidly in his favor as the race begins.

Daily Journal

Posted February 23, 2015 - 8:12 am

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GOP Chairman says DeSoto important

GOP Chairman Joe Nosef was the guest speaker at a combined meeting of the DeSoto County Republican Women and the DeSoto County Republican Club.

Nosef spoke on a wide array of topics, including the special election to fill the First District Congressional seat, this year's legislative session, and the upcoming state elections...

...One of the statewide candidates traveling to Southaven to attend Thursday night's meeting was Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler, who has filed to run for State Auditor.

Desoto Times

Posted February 23, 2015 - 8:08 am

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Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced on Supertalk's Paul Gallo Show that he will run for reelection in 2015 ending all other speculation and rumors.


Posted February 23, 2015 - 7:39 am

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Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann to announce 2015 election plans on Supertalk's Paul Gallo Show during the 7 o'clock hour.


Posted February 23, 2015 - 6:13 am

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 6:10 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


Posted February 23, 2015 - 6:06 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


Posted February 23, 2015 - 5:58 am

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Kittredge leaves Mississippi State Auditor's Office

Brett Kittredge has left the State Auditor's Office for Empower Mississippi.

Empower is a conservative educational foundation, a conservative advocacy organization and a political action committee.


Posted February 23, 2015 - 5:55 am

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Analysis: Mississippi Association of Supervisors targets unfunded mandates on counties

Other bills on the supervisors association target list are:

-- House Bill 1049, to increase the salary for court reporters based on their experience. It was passed by the House. MAS says the bill provides some funding from the state for one circuit or chancery court reporter, but it's likely the county will be on the hook for paying others.

-- House Bill 939, to increase the fee paid to election commissioners for work on nonelection days from $84 per day to $100. It has passed the House.

-- House Bill 1319, to increase fees collected by constables. It has passed the House.

-- Senate Bill 2390, to give sheriffs more money for "attempted service" of notices, which happens when a sheriff goes to serve a legal notice but cannot find the recipient. The law would allow the sheriff to collect a $35 fee for all attempts, and an additional $5 for every extra defendant in the household. It has passed the Senate.

-- Senate Bill 2550, to allow cities and counties -- not mandate -- to use general fund or other taxpayer money to make tax increment financing bond payments when in danger of defaulting.


Posted February 23, 2015 - 5:49 am

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Haley Barbour: Make the 2016 About Issues, Not Obama's Personal Traits

The debate over President Barack Obama should concentrate on his policies, not his personal traits, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, an ex-chairman for the Republican National Committee, said Sunday.

"We want to be talking about policy," Barbour told NBC's "Meet the Press." " We want to be talking about results. That's our strength. That's Obama's weakness. His bad policies are producing bad results."

Barbour said that during the weekend's governor's conference, Democratic governors were speaking about the "weakest recovery since World War II ... we're talking about the lack of confidence of the future of the country. That wasn't the case ten years ago. It is the case now."

And that is the issue where Republicans should be focused, "not on personal characteristics," said Barbour, who chaired the RNC while Bill Clinton was president.

"We never talked about Clinton personally," Barbour maintained. "We never talked about anything except Clinton's policies."


Posted February 23, 2015 - 5:40 am

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I was sad to learn this afternoon of the passing of Tom Freeland. Tom was the author of nmisscommentor.com. He passed away after post-surgical complications in New Orleans this morning.

Tom and I met within the first two weeks of the Scruggs scandal. Our collaboration was unique and spanned seven plus years. I valued his insight highly. Ironically, it was almost two years of regular communication before we ever met in person, but when I came to Oxford he was always nice enough to grab a drink and visit. But for Tom, I know that the coverage of it would not have evolved as it did. He was a great supporter of the Kings of Tort book effort and I know had the capacity to write a pretty engaging book on his experiences, including the Scruggs Scandal, that may now regrettably go unfulfilled. He was a brilliant writer and his instincts on things were usually correct. For someone who shared almost none of the same political inclinations, he's someone who otherwise saw the world in a very similar way.

My prayers go out to his wife Joyce and their family. He will be sorely missed.

Posted February 21, 2015 - 6:08 pm

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Today, state Senator David Parker released this statement:

“Since the passing of Congressman Alan Nunnelee, I have been diligently considering a run for Congress and the impact it would have on my family. I have consulted with the governor, lieutenant governor, fellow senators, local elected officials, friends and patients.”

“During this careful consideration, I have heard excitement about the direction DeSoto County and Mississippi are heading. Friends and patients told me my service in Jackson is making a difference. I feel God is leading me to continue to serve the state of Mississippi in the state Senate instead of making a run for service in Washington, DC. The peace I feel in this decision is strengthened in knowing I will not be pulled by time and distance from my family or the patients that I love dearly.”

“I know some who have asked me to run will find this disappointing, but I truly feel that at this time my family, my friends, my community and my patients need me to continue to serve as I do now.”

“Thank you for the hundreds of calls, e-mails and texts of support. I look forward to continuing to serve as your state Senator.”


Posted February 20, 2015 - 3:05 pm

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Jim Hood qualifies for re-election bid

JACKSON — Attorney General Jim Hood of Chickasaw County, Mississippi’s sole statewide elected Democrat, has confirmed that he has qualified to seek re-election.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 1:20 pm

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In Praise of Courageous Leaders

Alan Lange of Y’all Politics said that Reeves “played this like a fiddle,” outmaneuvering and outflanking the Conservative Coalition to win over seven of the eleven members of that McDaniel-founded group. But nothing could be further from the truth. This was simply an easy political decision made by politicians. These 28 Republican senators who chose to endorse the current leadership, even though many privately loathe Tate, did not make a courageous stand. They chose the easy path, which was to simply endorse Reeves and keep him off their back in an election year.

United Conservatives Fund spokesman Keith Plunkett had this to say about the endorsements: “It’s unfortunate that some politicians have a hard time fighting the temptation of self-interest and ambition, but thank goodness we have fighters like Chris McDaniel, Melanie Sojourner, Michael Watson, and Perry Lee, who put conservative principles first. We need more like them and that’s what we’re working for with the United Conservatives Fund.”


Posted February 20, 2015 - 8:04 am

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Chaney: Doing Away With Inspection Stickers May Cause More Laws to be Passed

Chaney was a guest on the JT Show on SuperTalk Mississippi. He said that insurance very likely will not go up a lot for customers if the move to get rid of the $5 inspection is successful.

“We’ve talked to several of the companies. Most of them do not think it will affect automobile insurance on cost,” he said....

...Chaney said premiums might go up a nickel at most.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:39 am

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State to Study Separate District for Troubled Schools

State to Study Separate District for Troubled Schools

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The State Board of Education is likely to study a new plan to create a separate statewide school district in Mississippi to take over troubled schools and school districts...

...The board discussed the study Thursday in a work session where frustration over inability to turn around schools boiled over. Board member Wayne Gann of Corinth says Mississippi "has the worst political environment for public education in the state since desegregation days."


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:35 am

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State treasurer supports USM Nursing after successful bond sale

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi's Treasurer closed a successful bond sale last week that saved the state $36 million and contributed $20 million to the University of Southern Mississippi's Nursing School construction project.

"Health care is vitally important," said state Treasurer Lynn Fitch Thursday on a tour of the site. "Health care is an economy driver right now. That's long range, and it's going to continue to be an important part of where we move forward in the state of Mississippi."

Fitch stressed the importance of managing long-term state debt in a conservative manner and said the product of those practices is things like the new nursing building, named Asbury Hall.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:31 am

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Wally Carter resigns from Mississippi Gaming Commission

Wallace "Wally" Carter's announcement Thursday that he is resigning from the Mississippi Gaming Commission will leave two vacant seats on the 3-member board.

The Ocean Springs businessman announced his resignation during Thursday's monthly meeting of the Gaming commission in Jackson. It becomes effective Feb. 28.

The next Gaming Commission meeting is scheduled for March 19 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, giving Gov. Phil Bryant just a few weeks to name a replacement for Carter, for former chairman John Hairston or for both. The Legislature must approve his appointments.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:26 am

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U.S. Sens. Cochran, Wicker co-sponsor bill honoring Selma voting rights marchers

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker have cosponsored legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights marchers who played an important role in spurring Congress to enact the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Cochran and Wicker are original cosponsors of Senate Bill 527 to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the "Foot Soldiers" who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday or in the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March 1965.

"The Congressional Gold Medal would honor those who rose up to demand an end to the injustices that kept many Americans from exercising their legal right to vote. We, as a nation, are better off for the bravery demonstrated 50 years ago to right those wrongs," Cochran said.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:20 am

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Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary

Week of February 16, 2015

This week, members of the House turned their focus toward budget matters, with both the Appropriations and Ways and Means committees very active. The Appropriations committee deals with spending the state’s money and is charged with designing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 State Budget, which begins July 1. The Ways and Means Committee focuses on sources of state revenue. This committee crafts bills used as vehicles to fund the government. Early projections suggest the budget for FY2016 will be close to $6 billion.
The Ways and Means Committee passed several bills out of committee and onto the House floor, including:
--House Bill 38 (HB38) authorizes the issuance of bonds to provide funds for the Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Fund. This allows counties under populations of 30,000 and cities under populations of 10,000 to apply for grants with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) of up to $250,000 a piece.
--House Bill 155 (HB155) increases the historic property income tax credit from $60,000 to $100,000 and extends the time taxpayers may be eligible to receive it through 2030.
--House Bill 216 (HB216) freezes the assessed valuation of a person’s home (ages 65 or older or totally disabled) as long as they live in that house and do not increase the value of the home through renovations.
On the House floor Wednesday and Thursday, House members first addressed Special Funds Appropriations bills and then moved to tackle General Funds Appropriations bills. Special Funds are amounts set aside in separate accounts in the State Treasury for specific spending purposes. This money is typically generated from fees and licensing expenses collected by agencies, and also includes federal funds available to agencies. General Funds are state revenues that are not restricted to specific spending purposes. General fund money is, for the most part, collected through taxation of individuals and businesses.
The amounts appropriated to each agency were determined based on agency needs, not what the agency already had in its coffers. The deadline to address these bills is February 25 at midnight.
During the presentation of the first Special Funds bill, an amendment was adopted to authorize a pay raise for employees of state agencies who have not had a pay raise since 2011. This amendment, which was also adopted for each additional appropriation bill, allows agencies to provide the raises, within their authorized budgets, up to five percent. Adoption of this amendment does not increase expenditures from the General Fund, and it will apply to all state agencies, not just those funded through Special Funds.
General Fund budget bills were taken up next. A few agency appropriations are noted:
--House Bill 1536 (HB1536), the budget for the Mississippi Department of Education, passed unanimously. Included in the$2.5 billion budget is $106 million more for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP). The MAEP money covers the second year of the teacher pay raise and assistant teacher raise, along with about $50 million going toward school districts.
--House Bill 1538 (HB1538) provides the Mississippi Library Commission with an additional $1.3 million to go toward improving fiber optics and technology.
--House Bill 1541 (HB1541), the budget for the Division of Medicaid: $882.4 million.
--House Bill 1530 (HB1530), the budget for the Attorney General: $8.7 million.
--House Bill 1555 (HB1555), the budget for the Department of Health: $62.4 million.
--House Bill 1556 (HB1556), the budget for the Department of Human Services: $159.2 million.


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:19 am

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Major Contributor to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Franken & other Prominent Liberal Democrats is Mississippi Democrat Party’s Choice for Governor

Madison Trial lawyer Vicki Slater is the new standard bearer for the Mississippi Democrat Party as their candidate for Governor. Today’s announcement finally exposes the least well-kept secret in Mississippi politics over the last many years – today’s Democrat Party of Mississippi proudly forces voters to make a choice – you either can be a conservative or a democrat but you can’t be both anymore.

Based on her numerous contributions, it would be difficult to find another candidate more out of touch with the policies and ideals of hard-working Mississippi voters. With her thousands of dollars in contributions to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Franken and many other prominent, liberal Democrats, this year's election for Governor may well offer the clearest choice between the Republican and Democrat candidates in the history of our state.

"Governor Phil Bryant has done an outstanding job leading Mississippi with conservative principles and therefore has a record to run on," said Joe Nosef, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, in response to Slater's announcement

Chairman Nosef added, "the announcement of Vicki Slater as the Democrat candidate for Governor serves only to make clear the choice for voters up and down the ballot this fall. Do you want to vote for a party led by a Governor who has improved our economy, brought jobs to the state, and led the way in enacting innovative reforms to our public school system, or do you want to vote for a party led by a trial lawyer whose only political involvement has been giving large sums of money to national liberals. Even on this first day of the campaign, I think Mississippians can already see the very clear difference in the candidates for Governor."


Posted February 20, 2015 - 6:16 am

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Et tu, Conservative Coalition?
Tate Reeves has scored a coup that may get totally missed by the media
By Alan Lange
Today, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves added to the list of Republican Senators endorsing him. The number, now 28, is not as impressive as who it now includes. Reeves has essentially gutted his core intra-party opposition in the Senate.

In mid-2013, a newly styled Conservative Coalition came on the scene. It was roughly 11 senators who liked the idea of being more conservative than the average conservative. When Sen. Chris McDaniel started his build up to run for US Senate, it became pretty apparent that the Conservative Coalition was really just a stalking horse for that effort. The Senators that were involved were pitting themselves, to one degree or another, squarely against Reeves and “the establishment”.

To their credit, a few members sniffed out early that the Conservative Coalition as it stood was basically not much more than a platform for McDaniel and jumped off the train. But a few did hang around through the runoff.

In December, Reeves took a lot of heat for changing his stance on Common Core. But in so doing, he set the table for bringing all but three of the flock back into the fold. According to Tate Reeves’ press release today, the only three Republican senators who are not actively endorsing him for re-election are Chris McDaniel, Michael Watson and Melanie Sojourner.

Different senators probably have different reasons for making the move. Sen. Tony Smith is running for Southern District PSC. Being actively on the other side of Reeves was probably not good for that effort. Other converts may be avoiding a re-election challenge in their own districts.

Regardless of the reason, Reeves has effectively put down the mutiny and it makes it almost impossible for me to believe that Chris McDaniel will run for Lt. Governor now because Reeves has siphoned off the key folks that McDaniel would look to for leadership.

Make no mistake, this is inside baseball, but Reeves played this like a fiddle.


So where does this leave McDaniel? Again, I think it’s entirely unlikely that McDaniel will run for Lt. Gov. First, as much as it appears that he dislikes Reeves personally, I think he’d lose. He could make it interesting, but that’s about it. Second, he admitted that DC is really where he wants to be. It appears that he bad wants to be on FoxNews, talk radio and the Sunday talk shows and wallow in the ego trappings of the Beltway. It looks like he has his sights set on Steven Palazzo, and Palazzo should be taking a McDaniel potential candidacy pretty seriously but running an active campaign starting right now.

He still has his grifting PAC fund that he’s set up a month ago. Again, if his plan was to run for Lt. Governor all along, it would have made no sense to set up the PAC. I’m sure he basks in the attention of the conversation, and I have no doubt that it’s good to raise money from, but it just doesn’t seem to be a serious conversation.

There are eight days left in the candidate shopping season. Next Friday, all the speculation will be over and we can get down to the business of #mselex 2015.

Posted February 19, 2015 - 3:48 pm

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Thank you for coming. My name is Vicki Slater and I am here today to announce my candidacy for the Office of Governor of the Great State of Mississippi.

With me today is my husband Scott. We have a blended family of six children, four children in law (soon to be five children in law), and we have been blessed with six grandchildren so far.

Today we start the difficult but incredibly important work of saving our beloved state of Mississippi from the forces that are wrecking it. I stand here to ask every citizen of this state to join in that work. Together we can build the Mississippi we all deserve. Today we start to write a new future for our state.

Let’s be clear about something. The problems we have are not the fault of Mississippi’s people, they are the fault of Mississippi’s failed leadership.

There can be no argument that government is morally obligated to keep its citizens safe, educate its children, look out for those who cannot look out for themselves, and be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

I am running for Governor because Phil Bryant has miserably failed to meet those obligations. I promise you all that I will not fail.

When he took office, Phil Bryant single-handedly shut down an insurance exchange that had been created by Republicans and funded by our tax dollars. Phil Bryant and the Republicans in the Legislature turned away nine billion dollars in Medicaid expansion money and every year they send hundreds of millions of our tax dollars away – saving lives in other states, sustaining hospitals in other states, while working Mississippians go without healthcare and doors to rural hospitals slam shut. In healthcare, Phil Bryant has failed us.

To the parents out there who are working hard to make ends meet, but have no health insurance, I will not fail you, and together Mississippians will thrive.

Since the day Phil Bryant became Governor, America has created over 8,000,000 new jobs. But Mississippi has lost over 40,000 jobs. We have the highest unemployment rate of any state in the country. On jobs, Phil Bryant has failed us.

To the moms and dads out there who are working while raising children, and to those who stay at home to care for your children, to the small business owners out there working 80 hours a week, to those out there looking every day for the chance to work, and to those out there working for the minimum wage without a raise in years, I will not fail you, and together Mississippians will succeed.
Governor William Winter told us 30 years ago that the road out of the poorhouse runs in front of the school house. Public education has been the ladder into the middle class for millions of Americans, and public school teachers have held that ladder. But Phil Bryant and the Republicans are sawing through the rungs. They brag about how fat they have made the State Rainy Day Fund with money that should have, by law, gone to our schools. That is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Phil Bryant and the Republicans have simply – and illegally – refused to fund education in our state. Underfunding our schools not only hurts teachers and schoolchildren. It hurts everyone when local governments have to raise property taxes to make up for the shortfall, if they can. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, high insurance rates for homeowners are making ownership an impossibility. Add higher property taxes and the dream of home ownership is all but erased for Gulf Coast families. When families cannot maintain home ownership, communities and businesses fail. With Mississippi now 50th in education and 50th in business environment, Phil Bryant has failed us on education.

To the parents worried about what the future holds for children with a last-place education, to the teachers buying pencils and books out of their own paychecks, to the homeowners facing spiraling property taxes, I will not fail you.

I have spent most of my career as an attorney and small business owner fighting corruption at the highest levels of government in this State. Does corruption exist in Mississippi? Yes. Can the people get justice from a corrupt government? No.

Recently we have seen corruption abound in the Department of Marine Resources on the Coast, and the prison kickback scandal involving no-bid contracts, and threats made against legislators who would not tow the Republican party line. It’s unacceptable. Corruption wastes taxpayers’ money and deprives Mississippians of justice and jobs.

Why did we have to wait for the Federal government to expose the corruption? Why didn’t Phil Bryant dig it out when he was State Auditor, Lt Governor or Governor? On stewardship of the public trust, Phil Bryant has failed us.

I want to say something in particular to young voters: Back when Governor Bryant and I were in school, our teachers never had to dip into their pockets to help fund the classroom, and college was fully affordable. When folks got out of school, they could find jobs that supported a family.

Your fathers and mothers and others before you got better than you are getting now. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The government is funded with your tax dollars, too. There is nothing wrong with voting for better health, better wages, better education, better jobs for yourselves. It is our government, it is our money, and it is the tradition of America that Americans work in partnership with our government for the good of all of us.

That is why it why we say ours is a government of, by and for the people. You don’t deserve any less than what the rest of America gets and you should not accept less. Don’t accept it for even one more day!

I am running to be your Governor because time is of the essence. The time is now to have our money work for us, the time is now to put Mississippi children, families and businesses first, the time is now to save lives. We have waited for leadership too long, and we know it will not come from Phil Bryant.

Mississippians are the greatest, most generous, most spiritual, most talented people in the greatest country on the face of the Earth. It is simply wrong for us to be held back, to be held down, by failed leaders, corruption and selfish politics. That starts to change right here, today.

Today is the day. Today is the day we proudly step forward and begin working together to get Mississippi back in the game and for all of us to win. Together, we will not fail.

Thank you. God bless you, God bless the United States of America and God bless the great state of Mississippi.

Vicki Slater Campaign Press Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 3:36 pm

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Plan could boost state’s GDP by $282 million

The Taxpayer Pay Raise Act would allow more Mississippi-grown companies to invest in new jobs and growth while leaving taxpayers with more money in their pockets, business owners and economic development experts told the Senate Finance Committee today.

The committee heard testimony on Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ plan in Senate Bill 2839, which is sponsored by Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall. The committee will vote on the bill within the next week.
“Our fiscal management over the last three years has put us in the position of getting more money back in the pockets of taxpayers,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “The speakers today confirmed this plan will lead to long-term economic growth in our state.”

The Taxpayer Pay Raise Act:

• Eliminates the 3 percent tax bracket levied on individual income,
• Reduces the overall tax burden on small business owners, and
• Removes the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital.

Small businesses from the baker on the corner to ministers can benefit from the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, said Ron Aldridge, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“It will bring about some fairness where fairness is needed,” Aldridge said. “It will bring about more simplicity to our tax structure here in Mississippi, particularly for small businesses. It will provide a greater return on investment.”
Jackson Realtor Carla Palmer Allen said the self-employment tax reduction and elimination of the 3 percent tax bracket would allow more Mississippians to achieve the American dream of home ownership. She said a broad spectrum of Mississippians will benefit from the plan from farmers to child care workers to truck drivers.

“For many of our clients, being able to claim this deduction themselves could mean the ability to apply more money towards the down payment or closing costs of a new home,” said Palmer Allen, who spoke on behalf of the Mississippi Association of Realtors. “Anything you can do to return tax dollars to the taxpayer is a good thing and can only help real estate activity.”

An economic impact study by Mississippi State University shows eliminating the franchise tax could increase the state’s GDP by $282 million and add another 3,514 jobs within 10 years, said Jay Moon, chairman of the State Workforce Investment Board and President and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

Mississippi companies compete globally and reducing their tax burden at home would strengthen their competitive edge, Moon said. Also, eliminating the tax would place the state in a better position to attract new businesses.

“Now is the time for us to level the playing field,” Moon said. “A 10-year phase out of this tax would allow the general fund to absorb this reduction. It will create new jobs. It will create income. It will make us competitive. It will help existing businesses.”

The elimination of the franchise tax will help business owners invest in their companies and add jobs, said Pete Reynolds, Chief Financial Officer of Taylor Power Systems. The Louisville-based company employs almost 900 people in several locations around Mississippi.

Other states either do not have a franchise tax or have a lower tax than Mississippi, Reynolds said. “Other companies looking to come and locate in Mississippi look at things like that,” he said.

The Taxpayer Pay Raise Act would allow local banks to invest even more in communities, said Robert Barnes, President and CEO of PriorityOne Bank in Magee and legislative committee chairman of the Mississippi Bankers Association.

“The savings from the reduction in franchise taxes could potentially create an additional $110 million in loans and $138 million in additional economic development in the state of Mississippi,” Barnes said. “With an additional $138 million available for development, you can also assume additional jobs will be created, which will mean additional taxes will be paid by the businesses being developed, and more payroll and sales taxes will be generated since these taxpayers should be earning more money.”

Tate Reeves Press Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 2:40 pm

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Senator Harkins announces re-election bid to Senate Seat

State Senator Josh Harkins announced plans to seek re-election to State Senate District 20, covering Flowood, Brandon, Pelahatchie, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, Leesburg and Pisgah.

“I am humbled and honored by the support of citizens of District 20,” says Senator Harkins. “Allowing me to serve as their voice in Jackson is a responsibility I have not taken lightly. I have worked hard to represent District 20 over the last four years to promote less government interference, lower taxes, economic development and growth and strong public safety for our citizens. I will continue to promote our conservative principles in my next term.”

As a commercial developer and real estate broker, Senator Harkins knows the importance of sound financial management in State Government.

“Four years ago, I promised to do my part to run state government like a business,” says Senator Harkins. “I am now pleased to report the State’s financial standing is on solid ground. We have filled the rainy day fund and are better prepared for unexpected financial emergencies. I will continue to work for the entire state to promote sound financial decisions in Mississippi.”

As a devoted father of two, Senator Harkins has been a leader in promoting education reform, focusing on results, achievements and accountability.

“Our children deserve the best opportunities at a quality education,” says Senator Harkins.

A life-long resident of District 20, Senator Harkins was instrumental in passing legislation to give Pearl River Valley (PRV) District residents a unified voice by creating a PRV board, composed by a majority of lease holders. He also shepherded legislation through the Senate to create an Overlay District to protect property values and the quality of life for district residents.

Senator Harkins has been recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Realtors, a Business and Jobs Champion by the Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC), and received an “A” rating by the National Rifle Association.

Harkins is a graduate of Northwest Rankin High School and Mississippi State University. He is a member of the Flowood Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors for River Oaks Hospital, but most importantly, is the “Coach” of his daughter’s soccer team.

Senator Harkins and his wife, Andrea, live in Flowood with their daughters, Emerson and Carlysle.

Josh Harkins Press Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 2:15 pm

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Bryant Campaign Statement Regarding Democrat Candidate Announcement

"Governor Phil Bryant is ready for this campaign about Mississippi's future and about his record of accomplishments - accomplishments like bringing more companies and jobs here, growing personal incomes, lower unemployment numbers, transformational education reform, and a reduction in teen pregnancy," said Shad White, Campaign Manager for Governor Phil Bryant. "Through the Governor's leadership, guided by conservative principles, Mississippi has balanced budgets, filled the Rainy Day savings fund, and become one of the ten best states in America for economic development. We've also passed a $100 million teacher pay raise and increased accountability to parents in our school system. All that means we are well-positioned to bring even more opportunities to our state and to run a strong campaign on that vision of the future."

Phil Bryant Campaign Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 2:13 pm

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Governor Bryant Appoints Four to IHL Board

Gov. Phil Bryant today announced four appointees to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. The appointees are Thomas Duff of Hattiesburg, Glenn McCullough Jr. of Tupelo, Dr. Alfred McNair Jr. of Gautier and Eddie “Chip” Morgan Jr. of Leland.

Appointees must be confirmed by the Mississippi Senate. Each appointee will serve a nine-year term beginning May 9, 2015.

“Mississippi’s public universities serve a vital function in our state. They educate students, pioneer research, serve as catalysts for economic development and are anchors in their communities,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “These appointees bring a wealth of experience and perspective to the table, and I know they will help ensure the success of our higher education system.”

Chip Morgan will represent the 1st Supreme Court District and will succeed Bob Owens. Thomas Duff and Dr. Alfred McNair will represent the 2nd Supreme Court District. Duff will succeed Robin Robinson, and McNair will succeed Ed Blakeslee. Glenn McCullough Jr. will represent the 3rd Supreme Court District and will succeed Aubrey Patterson.

About the Appointees
Thomas Duff
Businessman Thomas Duff is a native of Columbia, Miss. He and his brother Jim Duff co-own and operate Duff Capital Investors, which is comprised of eight businesses employing 8,400 people. Seven of the eight companies are headquartered in Mississippi and employ 4,300 people. The Duff companies include Southern Tire Mart, KLLM Transport Services, Frozen Food Express, T.K. Stanley Oilfield Services, Forest Products Transports, T.L. Wallace Construction, Pine Belt Ford and Pine Belt Chevrolet. Duff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“I’m very honored to receive this appointment by Governor Bryant to serve on the IHL Board of Trustees, and I look forward to working closely with each of our public universities to reach our shared goal of advancing our state together,” Duff said. “Mississippi’s public universities are incredibly important to the current and future success of our state, as they are providing the research and instruction necessary to bring about the jobs of tomorrow.”

Dr. Alfred McNair
Dr. Alfred McNair is a gastroenterologist and owner of Digestive Health Center, PA in Ocean Springs, Miss. He is the president and founder of Mississippi Coast Physicians, LLC, of Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities and of Savannah Pines, LLC. Dr. McNair is chief of medical staff at Biloxi Regional Medical Center. He served as a member of the Mississippi State Board of Health from 2002-2005 and as vice chairman of the Board of Health from 2006-2009. He graduated summa cum laude from Tougaloo College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dr. McNair attended medical school at Columbia University, completed his medical residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and completed gastroenterology fellowships at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Stanford University.

"A healthy Mississippi is an educated Mississippi,” Dr. McNair said. “Our manifest destiny as a state is intertwined with our ability to offer affordable, accessible and academically challenging higher educational opportunities to our citizens."

Glenn McCullough Jr.
Glenn McCullough Jr. is former chairman of Tennessee Valley Authority. He was named to TVA board in 1999 by President Bill Clinton and was named chairman of the board by President George W. Bush. Under his leadership, TVA achieved record performance in power generation, environmental improvement and community and economic development. McCullough was elected mayor of Tupelo in 1997 and served until his appointment to TVA. He also served as director of the Appalachian Regional Commission from 1993-1997 by appointment from Gov. Kirk Fordice. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University.

“I am thankful to Governor Bryant for this opportunity and look forward to serving with my fellow board members to advance Mississippi through our public universities,” McCullough said.

Chip Morgan
Chip Morgan has served as executive vice president of Delta Council since 1982. In this role he has developed strategies and input from Delta Council on national farm policy, state four-lane highway legislation, flood control and the Delta Health Alliance. During Morgan’s tenure, Delta Council has expanded its role to include improvement of access to health care, funding for higher education, promotion of adult literacy, confrontation of critical teacher shortages in the Delta and development of a higher education curriculum to train high school administrators in the Delta. Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Mississippi.

“I share the priority which Governor Bryant places on higher education in Mississippi, and like him, I feel quite fortunate that my parents afforded me the opportunity to go to a college in Mississippi,” Morgan said. “Further, I know it will be a rewarding and learning experience to join with the caliber of people who currently serve on this board, as well as the capable staff that supports the board.”

Governor Phil Bryant Press Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 2:12 pm

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28 Republican Senators Endorse Tate Reeves for Re-Election
7 Senate Conservative Coalition members throw their support to Reeves

The re-election campaign of Lt. Governor Tate Reeves got a boost today when it announced the endorsement of 28 Republicans in the State Senate. The following Senators have endorsed Tate Reeves’ re-election efforts in 2015:

Sen. Nickey Browning Sen. Terry Burton Sen. Videt Carmichael Sen. Lydia Chassaniol
Sen. Buck Clarke Sen. Nancy Collins Sen. Sally Doty Sen. Joey Fillingane
Sen. Phillip Gandy Sen. Tommy Gollott Sen. Josh Harkins Sen. Angela Hill
Sen. Briggs Hopson Sen. Billy Hudson Sen. Gary Jackson Sen. Dean Kirby
Sen. Will Longwitz Sen. Chris Massey Sen. Phillip Moran Sen. David Parker
Sen. Rita Parks Sen. John Polk Sen. Tony Smith Sen. Sean Tindell
Sen. Gray Tollison Sen. Giles Ward Sen. Brice Wiggins Sen. Charles Younger

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves offered the following statement:

“These are the men and women that have stood in the trenches with us and fought for our shared conservative ideals and principles. They deserve the credit for a balanced budget, for a full rainy day fund, for less debt for our taxpayers, for education reform, for protecting the unborn, and for ensuring Mississippi is the best place in American to raise a family and build a business. Earning the support of my Republican colleagues in the Senate is a big boost as we build out the strongest conservative grassroots campaign this state has ever seen."

The 28 Senators making their endorsement known represent a broad geographic area spanning the state, representing all four congressional districts and stretching from the Gulf Coast to DeSoto County.

President Pro Tem of the Senate Giles Ward said, “Lt. Governor Tate Reeves is the conservative leader Mississippi needs at this crucial time. I have watched him work tirelessly over the past four years to bring conservative change to our state. Those of us who are committed to putting conservative ideals into practice will be working hard for Tate Reeves.”

Tate Reeves Press Release

Posted February 19, 2015 - 10:21 am

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From the Clarion Ledger

"Slater in 2012 considered a run against incumbent Republican Gregg Harper for the Third Congressional District seat in Central Mississippi. She represented attorney Bob Wilson in his legal battle against famed lawyer Dickie Scruggs over tobacco and asbestos legal fees."

Slater has a VERY long and robust history of funding the very fringes of liberal national Democrat politicians including:

Barack Obama
The Clintons
Al Franken
Mark Udall
Jeanne Shaheen
Mark Pryor
Mary Landrieu
Claire McCaskill
Ronnie Musgrove
John Edwards

Posted February 19, 2015 - 10:15 am

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Democrats Have MAJOR Announcement Planned for Thursday

According to several sources, state Democrats are poised to make a major announcement tomorrow at the state capitol at 10 AM. We will bring you the latest!

MS Political Pulse

Posted February 19, 2015 - 7:57 am

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Presidential candidate Carson speaks at Parkgate fundraiser

TUPELO – Renowned surgeon and potential presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson drew a standing ovation and even a few amens at Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic’s annual fundraiser at The Orchard.

“Mississippi is one of those places where a lot of people have common sense,” said the professor emeritus in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Thank you all for caring about life.”

Carson was the first surgeon to separate conjoined twins in 1987, but most of his talk focused on years before that success. Growing up poverty-stricken in Detroit, Carson knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was 8. But his ambition was sidetracked, as his school performance became abysmal. He even earned the nickname “Dummy” among classmates.

Daily Journal

Posted February 19, 2015 - 6:26 am

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Governor Phil Bryant Files for Re-Election

JACKSON, MS – Current Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, has filed his paperwork for re-election today.

“I'm honored to serve as Governor, and I'm running for re-election because I want to continue making a positive difference for the people of our state,” the governor said. “Through conservative principles and policies, we're moving in the right direction with economic development, balanced budgets, education reform, public safety enhancements and health care improvements, but there's still more work to be done in the future.”


Posted February 19, 2015 - 6:21 am

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BRIAN PERRY/ Nunnelee complications

The governor must issue the call for the special election within 60 days of the vacancy. That call sets the date of the election, which must be at least 60 days after the call.

Some would argue that the election should be called as early as possible so the people of the First District have a voice and representation in Washington. Currently, Nunnelee's staff continue responding to active constituent case files; but the Clerk of the House manages the office and no policy positions can be advocated. An early election, conceivably, could be conducted in April.

It would make practical sense to call the election to coincide with the August 4 primary to reduce the costs associated with an election and the work involved by election officials. Many elected officials interested in running would have their decisions complicated by that choice.

Potentially, a candidate for reelection would be the party nominee by virtue of being the only candidate of that party who has qualified by the deadline - which will have passed by the time of the special election - or by winning the August 4 primary. If that candidate also won the congressional special election, he (or she) would obviously not seek reelection to the state or county office and withdraw from that race.

When a party nominee withdraws from a race between the primary and general election, the party executive committee can select a new nominee if the withdrawal is for a legitimate nonpolitical reason: health, family crisis or substantial business conflict. If winning a congressional seat is considered a political reason, then the party could not replace that candidate on the ballot.

That would not directly impact the candidate, but party leaders might not be happy if an opposing party's candidate won their previously held seat without opposition.

Madison County Journal

Posted February 19, 2015 - 6:15 am

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Mississippi governor wants to deport illegal immigrants

Gov. Phil Bryant said Mississippi should enforce the laws when it comes to immigration.

Bryant joined 26 other states in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s order to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. On the eve of that order, a Texas judge blocked it, saying the president did not follow proper procedure...

Bryant said he wants illegal immigrants deported and the high courts to back them up.

"At some point, we are going to find out whether or not the president of the United States doesn't have to go to Congress; doesn't have to file an Administrative Procedures Act, and can make offers of amnesty to illegal immigrants in America," Bryant said...

..."I think we should enforce the law," Bryant, a Republican, said. "I think we should join with immigration and enforcement services and say we are going to enforce the law if you are here illegally."


Posted February 19, 2015 - 6:04 am

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McDaniel 'would prefer federal position'

State Sen. Chris McDaniel says he hasn't ruled out a run for lieutenant governor or some other state office, but his first preference would be a federal office, such as the one now held by U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.

"If I had to rank, I think frankly I would prefer a federal position, only because I think at this stage more can be done in that regard," McDaniel, R-Ellisville, said Wednesday. "I think a close second to that is my present position. I'm happy there … Naturally, there is no federal race this year, so that might tell you where my leaning is."...

...Supporters have been pushing McDaniel to challenge incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in the GOP primary this year. The deadline to qualify for state races is Feb. 27.

"I have not decided what I'm going to do," McDaniel said. "I've got nine days and … that's a lot of time … Nothing's off the table except governor."

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 19, 2015 - 5:58 am

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Former Mississippi Governor Joins HRC Mississippi’s Advisory Board

A few weeks ago, HRC Mississippi was proud to welcome former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove to HRC Mississippi’s Advisory Board.

When I asked him to join he was very receptive, but he did not immediately say yes. Rather, he took a couple of weeks to consider it and promised to get back to me with an answer. Eventually, however, I was pleased to receive a very enthusiastic confirmation that he would, indeed, join us in this important work.

HRC Blog

Posted February 18, 2015 - 4:52 pm

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House approves $106M increase to MAEP

State representatives on Wednesday approved a K-12 public schools funding bill that boosts the Mississippi Adequate Education Program by $106 million – more than the governor's proposal but less than the education agency's request.

House Bill 1536 allocates more than $2.2 billion for MAEP and more than $2.5 billion for K-12 education overall. It passed the House by a vote of 120-0 with no debate, striking a sharp contrast to previous years in which lawmakers have argued for hours before approving public education funds.

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 18, 2015 - 4:44 pm

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Russ Latino considering run for Attorney General

Excerpt from email:

Please join Russ Latino at the Mississippi Republican Party headquarters for an introductory visit about his potential run for Attorney General this year.

Attorney General Jim Hood has been in office for nearly 12 years and it's clear with his $16k cash-on-hand in his campaign account that he's not sure if he wants to run for re-election or not. Whether he does or not, Russ is giving serious thought about running - as are a few others. We need to have a strong candidate.

Therefore, we are inviting a small group to visit with Russ to discuss the potential of his candidacy and this race. This is not a fundraiser, but part of its purpose is to gauge people's interest in the race.

Please join Russ at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb 19 downstairs at the MS GOP headquarters at 415 Yazoo Street.


Posted February 18, 2015 - 8:39 am

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Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:55 am

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Clinton Body Shop owner John Mosley had been rumored to be considering a run for Insurance Commissioner, perhaps as a revenge campaign of sorts.

Last Friday, Mosley qualified as a Republican to challenge incumbent Mike Chaney in the August 4 GOP primary.

With his entry, there will now be statewide intra party primaries for Republicans to consider for State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Insurance Commissioner. If rumors prove out, there could be others, namely for Lt. Governor.

Stay tuned.

Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:21 am

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Miss. House Votes to Drop Cosmetology Board Funding to Zero After Rant from Rep. Holland

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology may have appropriations cut to zero after a senate bill that was approved by the house Tuesday after a rant from Rep. Steve Holland.

The bill aimed to change the way the board was funded, sending all fees received from licensing hair stylists to the state general fund, which would require the board to get its funding through legislative appropriation. The bill would also require the board to issue a warning a week before issuing a citation. Holland amended the bill Tuesday to bring the board’s appropriation funding to zero, or has he put it, “a fat goose egg.”


Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:14 am

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Aguirre announces for open state House seat

TUPELO – Tupelo resident Shane Aguirre formally became the third candidate and the second Republican in the race for District 17 in the state House of Representatives.

This is the first foray into politics for Aguirre, 42, a comptroller for Community Eldercare.

“I have always been passionate about politics and the open seat is a chance for me to fulfill one of my dreams,” said Aguirre.

Brian Aldridge, a Republican who has represented House District 17 in the state Legislature since 2004, announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.

Daily Journal

Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:10 am

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McDaniel says he's thinking about running for Lt. Governor

"Right now I'm praying about it. I've got to talk to my family about it and make the decision," said McDaniel. "Still have 10 days, that's a long long time in politics."

This secret Facebook group with more than 4,000 members, could lead some to believe he wants to challenge incumbent Tate Reeves and become Mississippi's next Lt. Governor. But, we asked McDaniel, if he was not certain about running, why would the social media page be created?

"Well that wasn't my Facebook page," said McDaniel. "That was a fan page someone created some time ago and they changed the name to Lt. Governor."

Political Analyst Andy Taggart says, presumably if Senator McDaniel was to run, it would be in a Republican Primary.

"Whether Senator McDaniel chose to run or not, I think Tate Reeves ends up being the winner," said Taggart. "The simple fact of the matter is though, it would be a very vigorous primary campaign and a very expensive primary campaign. Which in my judgement helps Democrats, not Republicans."


Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:04 am

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


Posted February 18, 2015 - 7:01 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


Posted February 18, 2015 - 6:54 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


Posted February 18, 2015 - 6:51 am

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Rep. Manly Barton's homestead bill out of committee, headed to floor this week

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Hometown state Rep. Manly Barton's bill that could help senior citizens with their property tax bills came out of committee today and will go to the floor within the next few days.

The bill would help seniors by freezing the values of their homes during reappraisal years...

...Barton's bill would lock in the value of seniors' homes, for tax purposes only, for as long as they own the homes.

If the home is sold, the full fair market would then be applied.


Posted February 18, 2015 - 6:48 am

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Clarion Ledger

Posted February 17, 2015 - 4:11 pm

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Pickering Recovers $197,000 for Itawamba County

Itawamba County citizens got good news today from State Auditor Stacey Pickering when he appeared before their Board of Supervisors with $197,963.55, recovered from Chancery Clerk Jim Witt’s bonding company.

Pickering and Auditor’s Office investigators were in Fulton Tuesday to announce recovery of the money and to file a document in the Itawamba County Chancery Court asking the court to order that the funds be deposited into a special account.

“We want the purchasers of land at tax sales who invested their money in good faith to know that these recovered funds will be handled by the Chancery Court,” Pickering said. “Mr. Witt is required by law to maintain records and settle funds collected for the redemption of delinquent taxes. The Auditor’s Office will continue to pursue funds from any bonds, insurance policies, or any person who owes money to the taxpayers of Itawamba County.”

In June 2014, Witt was served with a $503,000 demand from the Auditor’s Office. At the time, Pickering said Mr. Witt did not steal the money or personally benefit from it but he is responsible for the loss of money as the Chancery Clerk of Itawamba County.

Pickering said the funds presented to Itawamba County cover tax sales through January 2013. Investments made during the remainder of 2013, 2014, and thus far in 2015, should be pursued through the Chancery Clerk’s Office or the Itawamba County Chancery Court.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering Press Release

Posted February 17, 2015 - 3:14 pm

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Past and Precedent: What Makes This Mississippi Special Election Interesting

Republicans may entertain the notion they can find someone who can excite voters in both Tupelo and the Memphis suburbs, but that’s unlikely. Though they are both generally conservative and Republican, the two areas are light years apart culturally and economically.

The surest way for Republicans to retain the seat is to rally around someone from the southern or central part of the district. That will keep populist conservatives voting Republican without sacrificing the support of DeSoto County conservatives, who surely would see any Republican as preferable to any Democrat.

In the jungle primary, however, all candidates run together and without party identification. That means two Republicans (presumably a tea party type and a pragmatic conservative) could meet in the runoff, or, possibly, a tea party-backed Republican from the Memphis suburbs and a populist moderate Democrat, like Travis Childers.

The first scenario would guarantee Republicans hold the seat but could well add another tea party conservative to the House to make things difficult for Speaker John A. Boehner. The second scenario would force Republican strategists to hope that Obama is so unpopular that GOP voters in the central and southern parts of the 1st District can’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat in the special election.

Stuart Rothenberg Blog

Posted February 17, 2015 - 1:25 pm

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What do state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) and state Rep. Jeramy Anderson (D) have in common?

Both legislators have 'staff' and spokespeople, indeed an uncommon occurrence for those serving in the Mississippi Legislature.

Some of their colleagues find such grandiose notions as self aggrandizing, out of touch with the legislative role, comical even.

One has to wonder how these 'staff' are paid and what role they play on behalf of the elected official in terms of constituent service and policy making.

What say you?

Has the role of a Mississippi legislator grown to where they need 'staff' to be effective or do you see this as an over the top, self inflation of their proper role in the legislative process on their parts?

Should the public and media have direct access to our legislators or should you have to go through their 'staff'?

Let us know what you think about Mississippi legislators having a 'staff' and spokespeople in the comments section below.

Posted February 17, 2015 - 10:51 am

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McDaniel 'absolutely' pondering run for Lt. Gov.

A spokesman for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, says McDaniel is "absolutely thinking about it" on challenging incumbent Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in the GOP primary.

"As we've traveled extensively across the state the last three weeks with the United Conservatives Fund, the question Chris gets asked over and over and over is will he run for lieutenant governor," said McDaniel spokesman Keith Plunkett. "He's absolutely thinking about it, but even in our most private conversations, he hasn't decided."

A former staffer for McDaniel's unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran last year, Scott Brewster, has changed a "Friends of Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate" Facebook page he created years ago to "Friends of Chris McDaniel for Mississippi Lieutenant Governor."

Clarion Ledger

Posted February 17, 2015 - 10:28 am

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Mark Twain was widely credited with the saying, “the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

So, too, it appears have been the rumors of Stacey Pickering’s political demise. Over the weekend Geoff Pender at the Clarion Ledger cited Capitol “Room 210” (the lobbyist room) buzz over whether Pickering would stay in the Auditor’s race. “Talk is that Republican Pickering wants to return to the private sector and might even step down early.”

Y’allPolitics has confirmed that Pickering is 100% in for re-election and for being Auditor for another four years and he's begun putting together his re-election team in earnest. He and his wife Whitney were seen last night working the room at the Madison County GOP President’s Day Gala.

Now that Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler is in the race, it looks like the Republican field will largely be set and the showdown will be between Pickering and Hawkins-Butler. There have been some rumors that State Senator Michael Watson from the Coast would hop into the race if Pickering were to not run, but it would be somewhat of a surprise to see him go into a three way race with the incumbent now committed.

The filing deadline for the 2015 cycle is now less than two weeks away. Whatever other (sacrificial) Democratic challengers to Republican statewide incumbents will probably unmask themselves this week or early next week. Then there is the Jim Hood re-election issue and whether or not he will stay in. The safe bet is that he will run again.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get fun.

Posted February 17, 2015 - 10:11 am

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Google asks judge to block Miss. attorney general's inquiry

Google argues it's immune from much or all of Hood's inquiries under a 1996 federal law.

Hood is looking into whether Google was facilitating illegal activity through its auto complete service, which automatically fills in words for the user, such as "how to buy oxycodone."

Hood says Google has jumped the gun on its objections because he doesn't know what his inquiry will find.


Posted February 17, 2015 - 8:04 am

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