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Hospital officials counted on funds it couldn't collect http://www.wjtv.com/story/28854785/hospital-officials-counted-on-funds-it-couldnt-collect

An independent auditor told the Jackson County Board of Supervisors that Singing River Health System's prior management team counted as income $88 million in patient debt the hospital was unable to collect.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1DbkuHf ) the system's previous accounting firm did not report the error in its audits.

Auditor Kade Moody told supervisors Monday that they found the shortfall when it tested the management's financial statements the first time they audited the books in 2014.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 5:17 am

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Congressional candidates gather for forum http://www.wtva.com/news/local/story/Congressional-candidates-gather-for-forum/chNsQOICukmsuk33YTi-fQ.cspx

Approximately 300 people gathered Monday evening at the Link Centre in Tupelo to hear from the candidates running in the special election for U.S. House.

Twelve of the thirteen candidates showed up to share why they want to be elected to Congress.

Dr. Starner Jones did not make it to the forum, and Itawamba County Prosecutor Chip Mills left during the event due to a previous commitment to speak in Marshall County.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 5:12 am

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Petition asks Biloxi to change Indian mascot http://www.sunherald.com/2015/04/20/6186445_petition-asks-biloxi-to-change.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

The Biloxi School District has been drawn into the national debate over whether it's acceptable for schools or sports teams to appropriate Native American words or imagery.

One online petition, asking the Biloxi Indians to ditch the mascot, has gotten more than 680 supporters. A counter petition, asking officials to keep the name, has garnered more than 1,900 signatures....

...The issue bubbled up last week, after the Biloxi High School band marched in the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade in Washington D.C. on April 11.

The students wore what are commonly referred to as Native American headdresses, or war bonnets.

That caught the attention of Indian Country Today Media Network, which published an article April 13 emphasizing that having every member of the band wear the war bonnet creates ingrained disrespect among the students.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 4:54 am

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate makes stop in Pine Belt http://www.wdam.com/story/28852240/democratic-gubernatorial-candidate-makes-stop-in-pine-belt

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Madison attorney and Democratic candidate for Mississippi governor Vicki Slater campaigned in the Pine Belt Monday, telling folks that incumbent Governor Phil Bryant's failure of the state was part of her motivation for getting in the race.

Slater said the number of uninsured people rose since Bryant was elected in 2011, and while jobs had been added, those numbers did not increase due to job losses.

"If people want a different result, they need to vote for a different candidate," she said. "If we keep voting for the same person over and over again, nothing is going to change."...

...She also made her support known for the full funding of public education in the state through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, including Initiative 42, which requires the legislature to adequately fund the program or get sued.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 4:48 am

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Appropriations Committee Chairman Highlights Mississippi’s Role in Space Exploration, Research

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Amid questions about U.S. space policy priorities, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is seeking assurances that sufficient resources will be available to continue on-time development of the Space Launch System and to support rocket engine testing like that done at Mississippi's Stennis Space Center.

Cochran highlighted the importance of the role of Stennis Space Center to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday. Bolden testified on the FY2016 NASA budget request.

At the hearing, Cochran sought Bolden’s guidance on how that panel could better serve NASA’s mission and the Stennis Space Center.

"With the budget constraints we have, it will be important for NASA to continue to work with us to ensure that we have adequate rocket testing infrastructure at Stennis to support the Space Launch System and our nation’s space exploration goals,” Cochran said.

"I fully intend to continue to do what is necessary to ensure a robust engine-testing infrastructure at Stennis," he said.

Cochran questioned Bolden on his outlook on the future of Stennis, asking if the Administrator was “satisfied that the Administration and the Congress are constructively working together to help ensure the goals of our space exploration program are reached.”

In response to Cochran’s inquiries, Bolden praised the Appropriations Committee for its work and pledged continued cooperation.

At Cochran’s prompting, the Administrator also complimented the Stennis Space Center, highlighting rocket testing from SpaceX, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Blue Origin and saying those companies’ use of the Center shows NASA’s success “capitalizing on the ability of American industry to augment what NASA does so that we can utilize the funds that the [Appropriations] committee gives us.”

Bolden also sounded an optimistic note on the future of NASA, saying “Our best days are in front of us. Young people are really excited about what we’re doing. They see that it’s their future, not ours—we’re passing through. There is no doubt in my mind that our best days are in front of us.”

Stennis Space Center is NASA’s largest rocket testing facility, and employs more than 5,000 people in Hancock County, Mississippi. A unique Federal City, more than thirty private companies, government agencies, and academic organizations use the Center for testing and research.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 4:44 am

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Sen. Roger Wicker op-ed:

BP oil spill fifth anniversary: Working hard to make the Gulf Coast whole again

By Sen. Roger Wicker

Exactly five years ago today, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 Americans and set in motion the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. For 87 days, more than three million barrels of crude oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and toward the shores of five states.

For coastal communities in my home state of Mississippi and elsewhere, the spill was a devastating setback, arriving less than five years after Hurricane Katrina.

Once again, major disruptions to key tourism and seafood industries put people out of work and local economies on hold. A temporary moratorium from President Obama on offshore drilling in the Gulf further compounded these economic repercussions. Meanwhile, marine ecosystems endured unprecedented circumstances, and countless families saw their way of life completely uprooted.

Like the response to Katrina, Americans were quick to offer assistance in the aftermath of the spill. Thousands of volunteers and cleanup crews selflessly devoted time and energy to help. Others worked to raise awareness about the need for reforms to prevent a disaster of this magnitude from happening again. We continue to be grateful for their outpouring of support.

A full recovery will be difficult – taking years, if not decades – but local leaders and residents are determined to succeed. Dozens of restoration projects have long been underway, rebuilding critical habitats like oyster reefs and wetlands as well as infrastructure and recreational attractions. By targeting both environmental and economic needs, these projects are poised not only to bring back what was lost but also make the Gulf Coast even better than before.

This mission, however, is far from finished. Years of litigation with BP over civil penalties have yet to be resolved. Under the Clean Water Act, the parties responsible for the disaster are subject to pollution fines of up to $4,300 per barrel spilled. If the courts decide to assess the maximum penalty, the company could face $13.7 billion in charges.

Those of us representing Gulf Coast states in Congress recognized the importance of making sure these fines are used where they are needed most.

The 2012 passage of the RESTORE Act sent a powerful message to Gulf Coast communities that they will have a voice in the recovery process. Under the bipartisan legislation, 80 percent of the civil penalties will go to affected states, giving local leaders the flexibility and authority to put their most critical priorities first. Without RESTORE, none of these penalties would have been used to alleviate the harm from Deepwater Horizon, going instead solely to the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to be used for future spills.

Like many Americans, I am hopeful that the courts will deliver a ruling soon, giving states more certainty regarding the resources available for their projects.

Since RESTORE became law, states and federal agencies have joined forces on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to put together a comprehensive plan that equitably addresses the entire region’s environmental and economic needs. Last year, the U.S. Treasury moved forward with necessary rules outlining the process for states and municipalities to apply for grants supported by RESTORE funds. The missing piece is the sum to be paid by BP.

We do not know the long-term effects of what happened on April 20, 2010, and it may be some time before we fully understand all that was lost. But we do know that the Gulf Coast is slowly but steadily regaining ground.

In Mississippi, for example, the seafood industry has seen a rise in economic growth and jobs in recent years. As for energy exploration, analysts expect deepwater oil production in the Gulf to grow rapidly, possibly reaching a peak next year.

For tens of millions of Americans, the Gulf Coast more than just a place to live, work, and visit. The Gulf of Mexico and its approximately 1,600 miles of shoreline are a true U.S. treasure where productive fisheries, recreational sports, bountiful energy resources, and diverse species coexist. Taken together, these assets generate an economic output greater than that of most nations.

America thrives when our Gulf Coast thrives. We have an opportunity to make things right, and we should seize it. Five years has not diminished our willpower or resolve to see that the Coast is made whole again.

Republican Roger F. Wicker represents Mississippi in the United States Senate. He is a coauthor of the RESTORE Act.


Posted April 21, 2015 - 4:41 am

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Posted April 21, 2015 - 4:39 am

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Do as we say, not as we do: McDaniel, @ucfund pushing two term limit ballot initiative
State Senator Chris McDaniel currently seeking third term in Mississippi Senate


Monday, April 20th, 2015 Press Releases

The United Conservatives Fund announced today that it is spearheading a term limits ballot initiative and that it has filed the necessary paperwork with the office of the Mississippi Secretary of State. The initiative must go through a statutory process that also involves the Attorney General before being finally approved and officially announced by the state.

“It takes about 30 days from the initial filing until we can begin gathering signatures,” said Keith Plunkett, Director of Policy and Communication with the United Conservatives Fund. “We began that process last week. Once it is approved we will start gathering the necessary signatures to present it to the state for placement on the ballot.”

Senator Chris McDaniel, Chairman of the United Conservatives Fund, says the proposed language of the initiative would limit state legislators and statewide elected officials to two consecutive terms in the same elected office.

“Unlike other term limits proposals this won’t block anyone from public service,” said McDaniel. “Our goal is to increase participation and make elective office more accessible to people who want to serve. The power of incumbency has built a wall between people and their representatives. This has caused an increase in cronyism, back room deals, and corruption. We believe regularly changing out officeholders is a step toward transcending those problems.”


Posted April 20, 2015 - 10:14 am

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Palazzo happy with GOP presidential field so far

Republican congressman Steven Palazzo is pleased with the three GOP candidates who've officially launched their campaigns for president. Texas senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky senator Rand Paul and Florida senator Marco Rubio have all entered the 2016 race for the White House.

Palazzo (R-Miss.) said all three are "great candidates."

"All three of them love their country," Palazzo said. "I think they're going to provide a solution for the future of America, not just on getting our economy back together, but also national defense," he said.


Posted April 20, 2015 - 7:18 am

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Coast still waiting for recovery money

When the money does come, it will be largely thanks to a law Congress passed nearly three years ago: the RESTORE (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economies) Act.

"It's just (been) a waiting game" for communities, said Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., a co-sponsor of the bill, whose district includes coastal communities. "I don't think they can wait much longer."

The bipartisan law, approved after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, requires that states and communities most affected by the oil spill get 80 percent of the civil fine money levied under the Clean Water Act. BP could face fines as high as $13.7 billion.

Gulf Coast lawmakers, local officials and environmentalists cited devastating damage to marine life, the fishing industry and regional tourism in arguing for passage of the RESTORE Act.

Hattiesburg American

Posted April 20, 2015 - 7:15 am

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New study suggests a 'healthier' Congress

The new Congress is showing early signs that lawmakers are working more and allowing more input from both parties in the Senate, a new report finds....

...Former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., who co-chaired the Commission on Political Reform with Daschle, said they want the index to serve both lawmakers, who can use it to self-evaluate, and the public, so they can hold Congress accountable.

"I want the American people to know if they are producing results, and staying in session more and doing their job — and they'll get the credit for it," Lott said, "And if they're not doing that, I want the American people to know that, too."


Posted April 20, 2015 - 7:12 am

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A look at House candidates

A look at the candidates, as they appear on the ballot, begins in this issue and will continue in subsequent issues in the days leading up until the special election. The special election is a non-partisan affair and candidates are not running under party labels.

In today's newspaper, a look at two prospective candidates, Boyce Adams and Sam Adcock.

Desoto Times

Posted April 20, 2015 - 7:09 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


Posted April 20, 2015 - 7:04 am

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Dr. Glenn Boyce named new IHL Commissioner

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning has named Dr. Glenn Boyce the new Commissioner. He has been serving as the Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs with the IHL since July.

Dr. Boyce is the former President of Holmes Community College. Under his leadership, which began in 2005, Holmes reached the highest enrollment in school history and was recognized nationally as one of the country's highest achieving community colleges.


Posted April 20, 2015 - 6:57 am

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A.J. HOLLOWAY: Gilich is the best choice for Biloxi

We believe FoFo Gilich is the best choice for Biloxi. He is a lifer, who loves our hometown as much as we do. He is passionate about Biloxi and is a proven leader. He and his family have long contributed to the quality of life across our city. His knowledge of Biloxi finances is a huge asset. And his No. 1 concern is for Biloxi and her future. That's the only reason he is running.

I've known FoFo for most of his life and I'm certain he is the right person to keep Biloxi on the right track.


Posted April 20, 2015 - 6:51 am

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Salter: 2016 campaign to embrace income equality debate

If you aren't accustomed to hearing the term "income inequality" as part of your political lexicon, then perhaps you should begin to get used to the phrase because you're going to hear a lot more about it.

In formally launching her bid for the Democratic nomination for president, Hillary Clinton cast herself as the champion of "everyday Americans" and declared her alarm over circumstances "when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes."

Republican Marco Rubio is also addressing income inequality in his opening presidential campaign salvo. Rubio said that he was running, in part, "because equality of opportunity has always defined us as a people and as a nation. And the fact that there are millions of people now in America that are starting to have significant doubts about whether we're still that kind of country should be deeply concerning to us."

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 20, 2015 - 6:45 am

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College Board defends system

It's that work that is threatened by the aftermath of the board's decision to not renew University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, which has produced proposals that would reduce the power of the board and commissioner over individual presidents.

"The advantage of having a system with a strong chief executive lets the board focus on strategic issues, policy and oversight," Patterson the outgoing board president, said Friday. "Mississippi cannot afford a loose confederation of separately governed institutions."

Incoming Board President Alan Perry of Jackson also defending the wisdom of the current setup Thursday as he saluted the departing trustees. He said the system had brought many benefits, like an energy efficiency program that's saved $70 million across the eight campuses, a better agreement to ensure community college credits transfer to universities, and a new system to distribute state money to universities.

"This is a good group and a good system and a good organization," Perry said, "and it is better than it was."


Posted April 20, 2015 - 6:41 am

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PENDER: Is incumbent Fitch vulnerable?

Is Republican State Treasurer Lynn Fitch vulnerable this year even as most statewide incumbents appear to have re-election cakewalks?

There is much talk to that effect these days, and oddly it's coming from some of her (former) staunchest political supporters and staff.

Notably, her primary opponent is among that relatively large number. Republican challenger David McRae, a Ridgeland attorney, was formerly a Fitch majordomo. He served as an adviser and even worked in her office providing pro bono counsel. Now he's gunning to oust her.

At least half a dozen of Fitch's top treasury staff have bailed or been run off during her first term.

Also notably, two of her top campaign gurus have jumped ship to support McRae.

Consultant and lobbyist Hayes Dent, who ran Fitch's successful 2011 campaign, and fundraiser Sara Williams are supporting McRae and helped with a recent fundraiser for him.


Posted April 20, 2015 - 5:11 am

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#MS01 special election fundraising tops $1 million
Tagert leads in individual contributions, Pirkle leads in total contributions and COH

Campaign receipts in the MS01 special election have topped $1 million, fundraising reports say.

REPORTING UPDATE: Mike Tagert tops all candidates in individual contributions. Greg Pirkle leads in total receipts and cash on hand.


Here's a quick look at how the 1st Congressional District special election race is shaping up in terms of campaign fundraising.

Not all candidates' reports are online yet.

We are listing these in alphabetical order and rounding dollar amounts up for convenience. We will update the ones not showing as the info becomes available. Search the FEC reports for yourself by clicking here.

Boyce Adams
- Individual Contributions - $78,000
- Loans - $150,000
- Total Receipts - $228,000
- Total Disbursements - $165,000
- Cash on Hand - $63,000

Sam Adock
- Individual Contributions - $65,000
- Loans - $120,000
- Total Receipts - $185,000
- Total Disbursements - $31,000
- Cash on Hand - $154,000

Nancy Collins
- Individual Contributions - $14,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $14,000
- Total Disbursements - $12,000
- Cash on Hand - $2,000

Ed Holliday
- Individual Contributions - $16,000
- Loans - $100,000
- Total Receipts - $116,000
- Total Disbursements - $0
- Cash on Hand - $116,000

Starner Jones
- Individual Contributions - $28,000
- Loans - $200,000
- Total Receipts - $228,000
- Total Disbursements - $84,000
- Cash on Hand - $143,000

Trent Kelly
- Individual Contributions - $95,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $95,000
- Total Disbursements - $6,000
- Cash on Hand - $90,000

Chip Mills (N/A)
- Individual Contributions - $64,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $101,000
- Total Disbursements - $16,000
- Cash on Hand - $85,000

Greg Pirkle (N/A)
- Individual Contributions - $146,000
- Loans - $100,000
- Total Receipts - $256,000
- Total Disbursements - $12,000
- Cash on Hand - $244,000

Henry Ross
- Individual Contributions - $84,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $84,000
- Total Disbursements - $3,000
- Cash on Hand - $81,000

Daniel Sparks (N/A)
- Individual Contributions - $
- Loans - $
- Total Receipts - $
- Total Disbursements - $
- Cash on Hand - $

Mike Tagert (N/A)
- Individual Contributions - $243,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $247,000
- Total Disbursements - $86,000
- Cash on Hand - $161,000

Quentin Whitwell
- Individual Contributions - $96,000
- Loans - $0
- Total Receipts - $97,000
- Total Disbursements - $36,000
- Cash on Hand - $61,000

Walter Zinn (N/A)
- Individual Contributions - $
- Loans - $
- Total Receipts - $
- Total Disbursements - $
- Cash on Hand - $


Total Contributions reported to date for MS01 Special Election: $929,000

Total Loans reported to date for MS01 Special Election: $670,000

Total Receipts reported to date for MS01 Special Election: $1,650,000

Posted April 17, 2015 - 9:18 am

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Hinds County Circuit Judge Weill faces new allegations

An embattled Mississippi judge told his then-court administrator she was “acting worse than a woman who had been raped,” a lawsuit filed Thursday alleges.

Karla Watkins Bailey said the actions of Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill led to her resignation, according to her lawsuit filed in Hinds County Circuit Court.

It’s the latest allegation involving the judge — ordered last week by the state Supreme Court to provide a detailed reason for why he banned Assistant Public Defender Alison Kelly from handling the cases of indigent clients in his courtroom.
Thursday’s lawsuit represents only one side of a legal argument. The judge could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:31 am

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Testing contract goes to Questar for $122M

The Mississippi Board of Education on Thursday approved a $122 million contract with Questar Assessment to test hundreds of thousands of school children starting next year.

Questar, headquartered in Minneapolis, was among three companies vying for the 10-year deal during a heavily scrutinized process shrouded in secrecy.

Allegations surfaced shortly after the Mississippi Department of Education's invitation in February for vendors to compete for the contract. Some claimed the agency tailored its request so that only one company – Pearson – would win. MDE denied that.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:29 am

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Alan Perry appointed new IHL Board president with passing of the gavel

JACKSON, MS - Aubrey Patterson, outgoing President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning has passed the gavel to incoming President Alan Perry at the IHL board meeting held in Jackson.

Perry will take office officially on May 8, 2015. He said:

“My fellow Board members and I look forward to joining with the four new Trustees who will be joining the Board to continue the work done by IHL to advance higher education in Mississippi. However we will all miss the leadership provided by Aubrey Patterson as President. And it is hard to contemplate going forward without Ed Blakeslee, Robin Robinson, and Bob Owens. They have been worthy examples and I hope we can serve the State as well as they have served.”

Perry served as Vice President of the Board during Patterson's tenure as President. Doug Rouse will take over the Vice President position once Perry steps in as president.


Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:26 am

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Statement of Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo Hearing on NASA's FY2016 Budget Request

Statement of Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.)

NASA's FY2016 Budget Request

Chairman Palazzo: The first and perhaps most important point I want to make today is that I believe the taxpayer's investment in NASA is generally well spent, and that I support increasing NASA's budget. Discretionary spending such as research and development investments at NASA are the seed corn of future economic growth. In order to preserve these activities, we must address the larger economic problems we face as a Nation.This involves either complying with the President's Budget Control Act which caps discretionary spending, or figuring out how to repeal, replace, or amend it.

Unfortunately, the President's budget proposal does not comply with his own Budget Control Act. Because the President failed to provide any constructive or workable guidance, Congress must now bear that burden. I had hoped that the Administration would have demonstrated leadership by proposing a realistic budget, but instead we were presented with a list of unfunded priorities.

At NASA alone, the President's request exceeds the budget caps by $519 million. This isn't to say that this is an unreasonable request. After all, the increase just keeps up with inflation. The concern that I have is that the Administration did not propose off-sets to account for the increase; did not propose a workable solution to repeal, replace, or amend the President's Budget Control Act; and once again reorganizes priorities in previous bipartisan NASA funding bills that the President signed.


Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:18 am

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Reps. Cummings, Thompson Voice Concerns on Gap in Capitol Security

“Somebody called from the Tampa Bay Times… shortly after the call the incident occrured,” confirmed Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in the Speaker’s Lobby between House votes. Thompson was relaying a conversation he had this morning with the Department of Homeland Security.

Is there a gap in security?

“There’s a gap. There’s no question. I mean how can you fly undetected that distance and it not be a vulnerability,” Thompson said as he detailed information that’s been relayed to him on the incident.


Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:14 am

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Jeb Bush praises Miss. special education vouchers

Bush was at the Mississippi Capitol as Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill creating vouchers for a small percentage of students with learning disabilities. Families can use $6,500 in public money to pay for private school tuition, tutoring or other educational services outside the public schools.

The program is based on one created in Florida under Bush, a Republican who's considering a 2016 presidential run.

"Families that struggle like this, not just in school but across the board in everyday life, should be in the front of the line," Bush told an audience of more than 100 people, including several families of children who have autism or other challenges.

"They should be empowered to be able to take care of their children," Bush said. "They should be empowered particularly as it relates to education, to be able to make sure their children get the kind of education that allows them to rise up as well."

Bryant said the program "will begin the process" of trying to improve education opportunities for some of Mississippi's 66,500 special needs students. It will create vouchers for 500 students the first year. Over five years, it will grow to 2,500 students.

Hattiesburg American

Posted April 17, 2015 - 5:08 am

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Appropriations Committee Chairman Says Department Must Prioritize Limited Resources & Respect State & Local Leadership on Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today encouraged Education Secretary Arne Duncan to prioritize scarce federal funding in a manner that respects the traditional role of state and local control of education policy.

Cochran questioned Secretary Duncan at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to review the FY2016 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education.

In his remarks, Cochran reaffirmed the role of state and local governments in education policy by highlighting their “primary responsibility of funding, hiring and all the rest that goes into making our nation a nation of opportunity.”

Cochran pressed the Secretary to “work out a division of responsibility for what programs are best handled by local officeholders” while noting that the Administration must “recognize that we have very limited availability of funds and programs that will solve the problems in elementary and secondary education.”

Cochran highlighted Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, as an area that should be an important focus for the Department of Education. Title I of the ESEA provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers of children from low-income families to help ensure that all students meet specific state academic standards. 149 school districts in Mississippi are served through $187 million in Title I funds.

Duncan appeared before the committee to defend the President’s budget request for a $3.6 billion, or 5.4 percent, discretionary funding increase for the Department of Education, a recommendation that well exceeds the parameters of the current spending caps. That budget request sought a $2.7 billion increase for ESEA, a 12 percent increase over FY2015 levels.


Posted April 16, 2015 - 3:46 pm

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Miss. Senator Cosponsored Bill to Award to Purple Heart to Victims of Deadly 2009 Domestic Attack

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, today praised a decision by the U.S. Army to extend benefits to victims of the 2009 attack at Fort Hood who were awarded the Purple Heart.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh has directed the Army to provide benefits associated with the Purple Heart to victims of the terrorist attack at Fort Hood. Cochran cosponsored the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act to make victims of the November 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood eligible to receive the Purple Heart. Provisions of that bill, authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), were included in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was enacted in December.

“The Fort Hood attack showed us that the terrorist threat to our men and women in uniform continues to evolve. Congress recognized that and rightfully changed the criteria for receiving the Purple Heart and associated benefits,” Cochran said. “I’m pleased that Secretary McHugh and the Department of Defense are actively working to honor and assist the victims and their survivors.”

According to the Army, McHugh’s action will include “payment of hostile fire pay for those Purple Heart recipients ‘killed, injured, or wounded’ in the attack, as well as combat-related special compensation for retired soldiers whose disability is attributable to an injury for which they were awarded the Purple Heart.”

Before the retroactive changes enacted by the NDAA, the Purple Heart medal was awarded to service members killed or wounded “as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States.” The Cornyn-authored language updated the definition of international terrorist attack to include a terrorist attack that was inspired or motivated by al Qaeda or another U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, and one prior to which the attacker was in communication with the terrorist group.


Posted April 16, 2015 - 3:44 pm

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JACKSON – The Mississippi Legislature today appealed the decision of a Hinds County Judge who refused to approve the Initiative 42A ballot title agreed upon by Attorney General Jim Hood and legislators.

The notice of appeal was filed at the Mississippi Supreme Court. Legislators will argue the Hinds County Circuit Court overstepped its constitutional authority in contradicting the actions of the Office of the Attorney General.

The legislative alternative, known as Initiative 42A, ensures public schools are effective in educating Mississippi’s children without subjecting statewide education policy decisions to a single judge in Hinds County. The Legislature passed the initiative to provide Mississippi voters with an alternative to Initiative 42, which allows a single Hinds County judge to make decisions that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire state.

This dramatic shift in power away from locally-elected legislators is likely to result in significant tax increases, drastic cuts in state priorities – such as funding for universities, community colleges, University Medical Center, roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and even agricultural programs – or both.

Initiative 42 and Initiative 42A will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters can also choose not to change the Constitution by voting “no” to both options.

In a joint statement, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn said, “We appreciate General Hood for working with legislators to phrase the ballot language, and we do not believe this circuit court can override his authority. This one Hinds County Judge decided his opinion was more important than the majority of the members of the Legislature, including the elected Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House, the Secretary of State and the Democrat Attorney General. His actions are precisely why Mississippi voters should be scared to death of Initiative 42. We have warned voters from the beginning that Initiative 42 allows for one judge in Hinds County to decide how to spend billions of your tax dollars on education funding and slash other state services like higher education and infrastructure needs. Our forewarning has come true – those who were not happy immediately ran to a judge in Hinds County to seek relief in their favor. This will happen again and again if Initiative 42 passes.”


Posted April 16, 2015 - 3:41 pm

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Source: Bryant has offered Glenn McCullough MDA job

Glenn L. McCullough Jr., former mayor of Tupelo and chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority board, has been offered the job as the next executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, according to a source familiar with the situation.

McCullough said in a telephone interview with the Mississippi Business Journal Thursday afternoon that “the MDA is very important to Mississippi, and it’s important to Gov. Bryant so I’ll just have to refer you to Gov. Bryant for any comment.”


Posted April 16, 2015 - 3:00 pm

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Wicker Appointed to Budget Conference

House, Senate Leaders Set to Negotiate Final Federal Spending Framework

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Budget Committee, has been appointed to be a conferee on the House-Senate committee responsible for ironing out differences between the chambers’ budget resolutions.

“Republicans are committed to passing a joint budget resolution that sets us on the path toward a balanced budget. We can do this in a way that expands economic growth, and increases opportunities for American families without raising taxes,” Wicker said. “We also have a chance to protect our national defense capabilities and military personnel from harsh sequestration cuts, which are set to return in October.”

Four amendments authored by Wicker in the “Budget Resolution,” S.Con.Res. 11, which passed the Senate on March 27, include:

Requiring CBO to perform long-term estimates of the budgetary effects of major spending legislation;

Reinforcing the “Magnitsky Act” by ensuring that the State Department identifies additional foreign nationals subject to the law;

Supporting research to identify the cause of Alzheimer’s, develop therapies to delay its onset or halt the progression of the disease, and ultimately find a cure; and

Expediting the award process under the IRS Whistleblower Award program for those who come forward with information on tax evasion.


Posted April 16, 2015 - 7:55 am

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EDITORIAL/Unclaimed properties

In a recent press release announcing the publication of unclaimed property in newspapers, Fitch said, "One in five Mississippians has unclaimed property. It is my hope to return as much as possible of the newly reported dollars back to the rightful owners. I've seen unclaimed property holders receive checks for over $100,000, which completely changed their lives... and I can't wait to see people locate their dollars in the new few months."

What about the past three years before she was seeking re-election?

Technically, state law requires the notices to be published every three years. Fitch defiantly skipped her first year.

But now she can't wait to see people locate their money and promote herself over the next few months it seems.

Madison County Journal Editorial

Posted April 16, 2015 - 7:25 am

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Jeb Bush joining Bryant for special needs bill signing

Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Bush is attending to "highlight Gov. Bryant's leadership and commitment to expanding parental choice and opportunities for students with disabilities." She said Bush believes providing such choices to parents allows them to meet their children's unique needs.

Republican Bryant has not endorsed a presidential candidate.

"Many of them have not announced yet, but we have a spectacular team of Republicans that are running for president," Bryant said. "... Most of them are close friends, and I am sticking with my friends."

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 16, 2015 - 5:21 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Power and value of votes

The governor can return the right to vote using the pardon powers. And the legislature can return the right to vote through an individual act for the person in question. Such act typically names the person, describes their crime and states that the Legislature "has been reliably informed" the person is living "as a law-abiding and honorable citizen in a good and lawful manner." The bill must pass both legislative chambers and can become law with or without the governor's signature.

Out of curiosity on whether the political outcry over Governor Haley Barbour's pardons had dampened the will of legislators to return the right to vote to felons, I began tracking restoration of suffrage legislation a few years ago. Over the past 11 years, 90 Mississippians have had their suffrage restored by the legislature.

(Ironically, some of the legislators most vocal over Barbour's pardons had introduced and voted for the restoration of suffrage rights; and some of the individuals pardoned by Barbour had already had their voting rights restored by the legislature.)

In 2004, 37 legislators introduced 48 suffrage restoration acts and 35 were approved. Over the coming years those numbers declined. No bills were approved in 2009 and in 2011, before Barbour issued the pardons that caused the uproar, 9 legislators introduced 10 bills with 6 approved.

In 2012, the year following the pardons, 10 suffrage restoration bills were introduced but none passed. Under Governor Phil Bryant, 1 suffrage restoration was enacted in 2013 and three in 2014: all without his signature. (While Bryant was lieutenant governor, 21 suffrage restoration acts passed the legislature.)

This year, 4 legislators submitted 5 voting restoration bills and 4 of those are pending approval or passive consent from the governor.

Madison County Journal

Posted April 16, 2015 - 4:55 am

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Mississippi Development Authority to lead business development mission to South America

Representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority will lead a delegation of Mississippi companies on a Pacific Alliance business development mission July 13-21, 2015.

The trip is designed to connect Mississippi businesses that want to expand trade and create new business relationships with qualified buyers in Colombia, Peru and Chile. Top U.S. exports to these countries include military equipment, oil and gas machinery and services, medical equipment, mining equipment, construction equipment, and automotive parts and accessories.

“The Pacific Alliance trade mission is a cost-effective opportunity for Mississippi businesses interested in developing or expanding trade in key South American countries to make connections with prospective buyers and generate new investment through international trade,” said Rose Boxx Director of MDA's International Trade Office. “It is a logical gateway for companies looking to make business connections in these markets. I encourage businesses interested in export sales to make plans to join the Mississippi team on this important trip.”

MDA works with qualified potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners from Colombia, Peru and Chile prior to meeting with members of the state delegation. MDA also works with Mississippi firms before, during and after the trip to help them best capitalize on the opportunities realized as a result of participation.


Posted April 16, 2015 - 4:49 am

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Governor’s 2015 Export Summit sets sights on boosting Mississippi exports

Open the door to your business's export opportunities with the Governor's 2015 Export Summit scheduled for May 7, 2015, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Jackson Convention Center in downtown Jackson.

Gov. Phil Bryant will be the keynote luncheon speaker at the event, designed to provide direct access to export and trade-related experts across the industry to Mississippi's small and medium-sized firms. One-on-one, pre-arranged meetings with these export facilitators will provide valuable information on export planning, financing options and assistance, required documentation and regulations, market research, and more.

“Mississippi's exports totaled $11.4 billion in 2014, so it's clear that we compete on a global scale,” Gov. Bryant said. “With more than 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside the United States, we want to continue to be aggressive in growing our international presence through trade. Exporting opens new doors for companies looking to grow their businesses, and it creates jobs here and strengthens our state's economy.”


Posted April 16, 2015 - 4:46 am

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Bryant: No immediate plans for special legislative session

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he has no plans to call a special legislative session anytime soon.

Bryant says Wednesday that good news or bad news could prompt him to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol.

The good news would be an economic development project requiring state financial incentives. The bad news would be response to a natural disaster.


Posted April 16, 2015 - 4:40 am

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MyFoxAL.com - FOX6 WBRC Birmingham, AL


Posted April 16, 2015 - 4:37 am

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BOBBY MOAK: Punishing Children for the Sins of their Legislators

When children grow up they reach a point where something just clicks. Things that were complex suddenly make perfect sense. Toddlers who could barely crawl can run at a dead sprint within a few days. Children who had difficulty reading the simplest picture books will suddenly jump to chapter books.

Sometimes it takes a great teacher to make that connection happen. Sometimes it’s a parent, a friend, or just finding the right book to capture a student’s attention. Usually it’s a combination of all of these factors creating an environment where children motivate themselves to want to learn. If any ingredients are missing, the process slows to a crawl.

This week, the Greenwood school district announced they would lay off 25 teacher’s assistants. This announcement comes at the same time that Mississippi’s classroom overcrowding is getting worse. Personal instruction is even harder to find. The public school classroom has reached a point of crisis, and our legislative leadership has decided to make the problem exponentially worse.

This year, Gov. Phil Bryant pushed for a “3rd Grade Reading Gate.” It is an accountability measure that holds children back a grade if they fail to adequately learn to read. Like a lot of the grand education plans of this administration, it sounds good on paper, but if they took the time to read their own talking points they might figure out it’s going to be a disaster.

Gov. Bryant based this plan on a highly successful 3rd grade reading gate program implemented in Florida. However, there is a stark contrast in the current educational climates of these states: Florida invests more than a billion dollars in a pre-k program that ensures each child has all of the resources necessary to achieve proficient literacy.

Gov. Bryant, on the other hand, opposes funding for a similar program. We spend 3 cents on preschool for every dollar Florida spends. This pays for fewer than 50 literacy coaches to help nearly 40,000 third graders in the state. To make matters worse, Gov. Bryant and the Legislative Leadership refuse to fund MAEP which funds the teacher assistants, (which help pre-k children learn to read) and schools like Greenwood and others have to lay off the very people who help our children learn to read before the 3rdgrade.

Our children have been set up to fail, based largely on lack of funding, a stalwart position of the Bryant administration. To make the problem worse, we will now be holding approximately 7,000 more children in the third grade, but the state budget provides no extra funds to accommodate such a severe logjam of students packing 3rd grade classrooms.

Over the long term, significantly more children will be in K-12 school for 14 years, instead of 13. Schools that have been strapped under years of underfunding will now be forced to stretch budgets even thinner to accommodate an extra year of schooling for about 18% of Mississippi students.

This administration thought this would be a good way to continue their assault on Mississippi educations by “holding teachers accountable.” But it’s our children that must pay the price for the legislature’s hostile relationship with education.

This poorly planned law asks 9-year-old children to fix a problem the Governor and our legislative leadership can’t seem to comprehend. Holding children back and creating an unfunded mandate for public schools in Mississippi isn’t the answer.

Perhaps it is time for the voters of our state to hold the Governor and legislative leadership accountable for creating rules that set our children up to fail. The reading gate for the legislature should start with the writing on the wall: fully fund our schools.

Rep. Bobby Moak


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:42 pm

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Tomorrow Gov. Jeb Bush will be in attendance as Gov. Phil Bryant signs the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in Jackson, Miss. This measure will allow parents of students with special needs to customize their child's education to his or her needs. Due to the expected crowd, the bill signing event will now be held in Room 113 of the Mississippi State Capitol at 10 a.m. Mississippi legislators and other supporters of the measure will be in attendance, and we hope to see you there.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:34 pm

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On Tuesday, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America condemned Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) for signing SB 2394, a bill legalizing the permitless carry of guns in bags, brief cases, and luggage without a permit.

Moms Demand Action lamented that the law will allow “people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit.” It has not dawned on Moms that criminals already carry hidden, loaded guns in public without a permit, so SB 2394 only levels the playing field.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:31 pm

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Wicker Supports Permanent ‘Doc Fix’ Deal

Miss. Senator Says ‘Bill Is Landmark Bipartisan Achievement’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement regarding his vote in favor of a bipartisan agreement, H.R. 2, to repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR). The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 92-8.

“This bill is a landmark bipartisan achievement that has eluded Congress for nearly 20 years. The permanent fix to the SGR is not perfect, but it provides much-needed certainty for Americans who depend on Medicare.”

Wicker also voted in favor of an amendment to H.R. 2 that would repeal the individual mandate under Obamacare as a way to offset the cost of the measure. Ultimately, the provision was blocked by Senate Democrats when it failed to meet the 60-vote threshold required to overcome their opposition.

The bill also extends funding over the next two years for the nation’s Community Health Centers, as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

On March 26, the House passed H.R. 2 by a vote of 392 to 37. The legislation now awaits President Obama’s signature to become law.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:26 pm

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Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Bill Would Make Federal Deduction Permanent, Available to Farmers, Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has cosponsored legislation to make permanent and expand a tax deduction for all businesses, including farmers and food manufacturers that donate food products to food banks, homeless shelters and other hunger-relief organizations.

Cochran is an original cosponsor of the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act of 2015 (S.930), which was introduced Tuesday by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The legislation would permanently extend the same tax incentives to donate food that are now available to corporations to all businesses, including farmers, ranchers, small businesses and restaurant owners.

“Surplus food too often goes to waste when it could be used to help those in need. Expanding the surplus food deduction to farmers, restaurants and small businesses could help ease the consistent pressures placed on food banks and charitable organizations in Mississippi and around the country,” said Cochran, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

The measure would allow all businesses to receive tax deductions worth the full, fair-market value of the donated food products. Extending the tax deduction to farmers is intended to increase the amount of fresh foods offered to food banks.

As much as 40 percent of the food produced, grown and transported in the United States is discarded because some businesses find it too costly to donate the excess food. After a recent extension of this tax provision, restaurants accounted for a 137 percent increase in the pounds of food donated.

Cochran cosponsored a similar bill in the 113th Congress that enjoyed the support of the Mississippi Food Network Feeding America, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association and others.

S.930 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. In addition to Cochran, the bipartisan measure is also cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:24 pm

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Bryant unsure on new group to recommend school standards

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he's still deciding whether to sign a bill that would create a group to recommend whether Mississippi should ditch Common Core academic standards.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 2:00 pm

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Mississippi Association of REALTORS® Endorses Phil Bryant for Governor

Mississippi REALTORS® (MAR) announced the Association’s endorsement of Phil Bryant in the race for Governor today.

Mississippi REALTORS® is the largest business trade organization in the state representing over 5,500 real estate professionals.

MAR President, Andrea Inman Detrick, announced the endorsement on behalf of the Association. “Gov. Bryant has always been someone who understands the American dream of homeownership and the role that REALTORS® play in achieving that dream,” said Detrick. “We are proud to continue our support for Gov. Bryant in his reelection.”

Thanks to Gov. Bryant’s leadership, Mississippi has:

• Balanced the budget every year
• Filled Mississippi’s Rainy Day savings fund for emergencies
• Cut taxes over 40 times
• Governed over the creation of 17,000 new jobs
• Reduced the unemployment rate from nearly 10% in 2011 to 7.1% today

“If Mississippi’s economy is going to continue to grow, which means more Mississippians buying homes, we need Gov. Bryant to continue to serve as Governor,” said Lynette Praytor, Chair of the Mississippi REALTORS® Political Action Committee (MARPAC). “His support of public policies that advance the real estate industry and protect private property rights has been tremendous.”

"I am honored to have the endorsement of the Mississippi REALTORS®," said Gov. Phil Bryant. "I hope to continue working with business leaders like Mississippi's REALTORS® in order to keep Mississippi's economy moving in the right direction."

MAR Press Release

Posted April 15, 2015 - 1:47 pm

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Posted April 15, 2015 - 9:06 am

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Order requiring MS AG Jim Hood to produce docs for Google by 041515 by yallpolitics

Posted April 15, 2015 - 7:41 am

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Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant will sign the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in a bill signing ceremony tomorrow (Thursday, April 16) at 10am at the Old Capitol Museum.

Bryant will be joined at the signing by former Florida governor and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, along with supporters of the bill and legislators.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 6:37 am

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The Clarion-Ledger challenges Dept. of Ed records denial

The Clarion-Ledger on Tuesday filed a complaint against the Mississippi Department of Education for refusing to disclose which vendors responded to the agency's request for proposals on a multi-million-dollar contract.

The newspaper is challenging MDE's reasons for withholding the names, because MDE cannot cite any legally allowed exemption to the Mississippi Public Records Act...

...The Clarion-Ledger on March 17th requested the names of vendors vying for a multi-year contract to administer statewide assessments to tens of thousands of elementary and secondary public school students in Mississippi.

MDE plans to announce its preferred vendor to the state Board of Education on Thursday – one month after receiving the proposals and three weeks after denying the newspaper's public records request.

The deal is worth an estimated $8.4 million per year, based on the amount of the current one-year contract, which MDE awarded under emergency provisions to Pearson in September.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 5:15 am

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Miss. Education Cheating Law


Posted April 15, 2015 - 5:00 am

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SUN HERALD | Editorial: SRHS retirees have one voice left, their vote

So the Jackson County supervisors are tired of hearing from their constituents.

Come to us privately with questions, they say. Write them down, they say. But don't ask us in public.

The public should be even more tired of the supervisors....

...Supervisors, if they are as sympathetic to the retirees' plight as they claim they are, should allow the retirees and others to openly ask questions, and give complete and honest answers. To do otherwise is disrespectful.

Time after time supervisors claim to be on the retirees' side.

But their actions, once again, say otherwise.

Of course, as the supervisors say, talking to the people isn't required by law.

But that leaves retirees and employees no other option than to speak loudly later this year at the ballot box. No answer from the supervisors would be required there either.


Posted April 15, 2015 - 4:49 am

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Blount, Gipson; point, counterpoint

State Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, and Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, gave a polite point-counterpoint on the 2015 legislative session on Tuesday at the Stennis Institute of Government's Capitol press corps lunch.

Much of the forum centered on the Initiative 42 ballot drive to change the state constitution to force full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula, and the Initiative 42-A alternative passed by the GOP majority Legislature this session...

...Blount supports the full-funding initiative, and says the legislative alternative is a "disingenuous" attempt to split the vote and prevent its passage in November.

Gipson says Initiative 42 is "probably the most dangerous thing on the ballot for voters in November" and would wrest school funding control from the elected Legislature and give it to the Hinds County Chancery Court.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 15, 2015 - 4:39 am

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Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Officials from USM to Announce Plans for New Autism Treatment Degree Program

JACKSON—Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and officials from the University of Southern Mississippi will host a press conference at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in the first floor rotunda of the Mississippi State Capitol to discuss House Bill 885 and USM’s plans to launch a degree program to train people who specialize in autism therapy. House Bill 885, signed into law by Gov. Bryant on March 26, requires insurance coverage for autism.

Who: Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, officials from the University of Southern Mississippi, members of the Legislature and other supporters

What: Discussion of House Bill 885 and USM’s plans to launch a degree program to train people who specialize in autism therapy.

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: First Floor Rotunda, Mississippi State Capitol, 400 High St., Jackson, Miss.

Resource: House Bill 885, as signed by the Governor http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2015/pdf/HB/0800-0899/HB0885SG.pdf


Posted April 15, 2015 - 4:37 am

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Land Sale a Success for City of Hattiesburg

Jackson, Miss.—All 76 tax forfeited properties placed for public auction in the City of Hattiesburg received at least one bid into the Secretary of State’s office.

“This was a major success for both Hattiesburg and the State of Mississippi,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “With so many of these properties back in private ownership, more tax revenue will come back to the City of Hattiesburg and Forrest County. That means more money for our schools, our roads, and our infrastructure.”

The total amount offered for the winning bids was $81,882. Some of the properties had been off the tax rolls for over 20 years.

“We are proud of the outcome of this venture and it sets the tone for future land sales between the City of Hattiesburg and the Secretary of State’s Office,” says Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. “There are still over 300 state-owned properties that are maintained by the City of Hattiesburg and any assistance we can give to relieve the burden from the Hattiesburg taxpayer is welcomed.”

“In the past, these properties have laid dormant with no revenue. We are so thankful to Secretary Hosemann and his staff for getting these properties back on the tax rolls and making a positive economic impact on the community,” David Hogan, President, Forrest County Board of Supervisors.

The Hattiesburg auction lasted from March 18-April 8, 2015. The public bid opening was held April 9th. The highest bidders will be notified via mail.

Currently, the Secretary of State’s Office holds over $75-Million worth of property forfeited to the State for non-payment of ad valorem taxes.

To learn more on obtaining tax forfeited properties, please visit the Secretary of State’s website at: http://www.sos.ms.gov/Applications/Pages/Tax-Forfeited-Lands.aspx.


Posted April 14, 2015 - 9:52 am

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U.S. Air Force Abandons Attempt to Deactivate 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Relocate C-130J Aircraft

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following more than three years of working with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today celebrated an Air Force decision to abandon plans to deactivate the 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, which would have transferred the squadron’s 10 C-130J transport aircraft to another state.

Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III has informed the lawmakers that the squadron and its C-130 “Flying Jennies” would remain based in South Mississippi. The decision, submitted formally to defense committees in Congress on Tuesday, culminates a more than three-year effort by Cochran, Wicker, Palazzo, the State of Mississippi, and community leaders to retain the military assets in Mississippi after the Air Force in February 2012 proposed relocating the aircraft.

“The Air Force proposal to relocate aircraft from South Mississippi never made sense from an operational or taxpayer perspective, two points that we’ve stressed from the beginning. The reexamination and rejection of that plan is the right decision, and I look forward to additional conversations with the Air Force to ensure the manpower and mission of the 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron are fully restored,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense. “I am pleased to have worked with Senator Wicker, Congressman Palazzo and others to show that Keesler Air Force Base is the correct home for the Flying Jennies.”

“Today’s announcement is a major win for the future stability of Keesler Air Force Base, as well as the many communities and businesses that depend on it,” said Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and its Subcommittee on Airland. “We successfully made the case that the transfer of the planes would not achieve the savings the Air Force seemed to suggest. This was not an easy fight, but it was one that needed to be fought. I am grateful to Secretary James and General Welsh for working with us, and for recognizing the value that Keesler provides to the Air Force and the Gulf Coast.”

“Today marks a great victory for South Mississippi. For more than three years we have demanded the Air Force provide adequate justification for moving our C-130Js. With today’s confirmation that Keesler’s planes will stay where they belong, we can finally put this issue to bed,” said Palazzo, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

Throughout a process that included meetings, hearings, briefings and legislative actions, the Mississippi lawmakers pressed the Air Force to produce a thorough cost analysis and justification for deactivating the 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron, and remove its C-130J “Flying Jennies” from Keesler.

The lawmakers successfully supported restrictions in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act that prohibited any movement of the Keesler aircraft until 60 days after the Air Force provides detailed written reports to Congress. Additionally, the law directed the Air Force Comptroller General to send a separate report to the Air Force on cost assessment 45 days after the original reports are received.

Last July, the lawmakers also welcomed an Air Force decision to withdraw a provision in its November 2013 deactivation notice that prohibited replacing personnel for the 815th Airlift Squadron. Dropping that provision allowed the unit to maintain its current strength at Keesler while the delegation worked to retain the squadron and the Flying Jennies in South Mississippi.


Posted April 14, 2015 - 8:10 am

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Hinds County Judge LaRita Cooper Stokes Hospitalized in Houston

HINDS COUNTY - Hinds County Judge LaRita Cooper Stokes is being treated for an erratic heart beat at a hospital in Houston, TX. The former councilwoman and current judge did not suffer a heart attack or a stroke, but will remain in the hospital until her condition improves.


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:41 am

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Snowden Talks Education Funding at Council of Government's Meeting


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:31 am

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Jackson Co. supervisors clash with SRHS retirees over public comment crackdown

Tempers flared at the Jackson County Supervisors meeting Monday after the board president limited the comment period and refused to answer questions from Singing River Health System retirees.

"Come election time, I hope every damn one of you is fired," said one retiree.


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:27 am

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Chief Anderson Announces Bid for Re-election


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:24 am

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Issues stacking up for potential special session

Gov. Phil Bryant before the 2015 legislative session ended April 2 dropped hints he might at some point call lawmakers back into special session to reconsider his workforce training proposal that died.

Since then, the list of issues state leaders, lawmakers and others want added to any special call has grown. Common Core, tax cuts and credits, police body cameras, joining an "SEC presidential primary" – if Bryant were to call a session and put all requested items on the agenda, such a session could last for weeks. This probably wouldn't be popular with many lawmakers who are busy campaigning for re-election this year.

Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb on Monday said the governor is "judicious" in considering special sessions and has made no decision.

"Any potential topic must stand on its own merit," Webb said. "Things like response to a natural disaster or support for a major economic development project would certainly be priorities."

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:20 am

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Chris McDaniel: Cruz, Paul and extremism

Those of us who follow the tenets of conservatism know the tired, worn-out campaign catchwords and phrases well: extremist, radical, fanatic, zealot, racist, arsonist.

And the sad part is that most of these insults originate not from Democrats but from our fellow Republicans, who engender despicable primary disputes, making the left’s job much easier in general elections.

This is precisely why Ronald Reagan crafted his famous 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Reagan, however, was not implying that we should never criticize or even challenge other Republicans, as he himself challenged a sitting GOP president in 1976, only that we should refrain from the kind of harsh and vile attack lines that Democrats utilize against us.

Although the 2016 presidential race is more than a year away, anti-conservative mudslinging is already in full swing. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign was minutes old when the establishment piled on him with full force and vigor, with the essence of their assaults being that he was too extreme to win the nomination or the general election. And when Sen. Rand Paul announced his candidacy, he, too, was immediately ridiculed.

Unfortunately, I am familiar with such tactics. In my 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate, I did not denigrate Thad Cochran with attack words. I respected him and showed him the courtesy he deserved. But in his few public remarks, Cochran used harsh rhetoric, calling me an “extremist” who was too “dangerous” to serve in Washington, an attack promoted by the Huffington Post.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:15 am

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New HIV testing law addresses exposure uncertainty at UMMC's Child

The testing is not only good for the child, but good for the perpetrator, Mansell said. “Not only are we helping children in terrible situations, but if someone in the prison is tested and found to be HIV positive, treatment can sometimes keep that person from developing full blown AIDS and keep the prison population healthier.”

Mansell admits she wasn't very optimistic the testing measure would gain momentum with the Legislature already under way. “We had to add it onto an already filed DNA bill,” she said.

But with major support from state representatives Mark Formby and Andy Gipson and state senators Hob Bryan and Brice Wiggins, Mansell said, the bill received unanimous backing. “Dr. Gay said that before she retired, she wanted this to happen, and with our legislators' help, it did,” Mansell said.


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:10 am

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Absentee voting light

If absentee voting is any indication, voter turnout in the special election to fill the vacancy of U.S. Representative in the 1st Congressional District could be underwhelming, to say the least.

The May 12 special election will select the individual to fill the seat held by the late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, the veteran lawmaker who died of brain cancer in early February.

"It's been kind of light but it will probably pick up during the next few weeks," said Marla Treadway, Deputy Circuit Clerk for Elections.

Treadway said so far, only 15 people have actually voted absentee in advance of the special election. Treadway said the Circuit Clerk has mailed out between 85 and 90 absentee ballots to soldiers serving overseas, disabled individuals and people who will not be physically inside the county on election day due to work, traveling, etc.

Absentee voting began March 23 and will end May 9 at noon.

DeSoto Times

Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:05 am

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Crackdown on illegal gambling starts in Biloxi

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, chairman of the NAAG, said illegal gambling is something his department is studying, Internet cafes aren't the issue in Mississippi that they are in other states, he said, but he is meeting with the AGA about establishing a NAAG Committee on Illegal Gambling to share resources.

The NAAG conference also is looking at intellectual property, cyber security, 3-D printing and the problems for law enforcement.

"I think it will have as great an impact on us as the Internet," he said of 3-D printing that can or will one day create drugs, body organs and counterfeit products, and he said the attorneys general are looking at "the mischief it's going to bring."


Posted April 14, 2015 - 5:02 am

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Posted April 13, 2015 - 2:59 pm

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Posted April 13, 2015 - 9:33 am

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Excerpt from email sent by Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole:

Subject: The White House is ours

Yesterday we heard some exciting news - Hillary Clinton's in the race for President of the United States in 2016! We'd like to welcome her as the first official Democratic candidate, and we look forward to an exciting race.

Even though it's just the beginning of the race to the White House, we must start preparing now.

While we expect a competitive primary for the Democratic nomination, one thing is for certain - next November, Mississippians will face a choice. Voters will either choose to continue building on the middle class economic success of President Obama or to bring back the failed trickle-down economics of the past with a Republican candidate.

We need a President who will fight for the middle class, for education, for labor, and for a stronger economy. We need a President who will protect the progress we've already made. We need a Democrat in the White House....

...Your friend -



Posted April 13, 2015 - 9:13 am

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Order requiring MS AG Jim Hood to produce docs for Google by 041515

Posted April 13, 2015 - 7:15 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: Bryant confronts tale of two Mississippis

If these and other trends hold, it won’t be long before needy Mississippians outnumber comfy Mississippians. Not only does that bode ill for the state, it portends big problems for Republican politicians.

While it may be popular to cater to the comfy crowd, Republicans should realize their need to provide opportunities for more needy Mississippians to rise to a higher standard of living. Only Gov. Phil Bryant among Republican leaders seems to grasp this.

Bryant’s “Education Works” agenda called for more emphasis and new spending on early childhood education. It also established a “third grade gate,” modeled on a successful Florida initiative, that halts social promotion of third graders unable to read at grade level. Two promising initiatives, both greatly underfunded by the Republican controlled legislature.


Posted April 13, 2015 - 6:55 am

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Senate Elections: where bills go to die

In the Mississippi Senate, elections bills aren't sent to the Senate Elections Committee for debate and passage. They're sent there to die.

Senate Elections didn't even hold a meeting this legislative session....

...Reeves after he was elected in 2011 appointed McDaniel chairman of Elections.

Last week he said: "Clearly when I made the selection in 2011 I could not have foreseen everything that has transpired over a four-year period. If I am fortunate enough to get re-elected in 2015, then I will have another shot at the apple in terms of naming committee chairmen who are interested in passing good public policy."

As for other measures being killed in the Senate under his leadership, Reeves says he takes a minimalist approach to legislation.

"There are a couple of thousand bills that didn't make it out of committee," Reeves said. "The House tends to pass more than the Senate does … The approach I take to legislation a lot of times is that Mississippi has been a state for 198 years, and if we have made it this long without a particular law being on the books, we can probably make it another year without it."

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 13, 2015 - 6:48 am

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Palazzo: Clinton has "questions to answer" if she enters presidential race

Congressman Steven Palazzo says if Clinton does run, she'll need to clear up a lot of details about her past.

"She's got a lot of questions to answer to the American people," he said...

..."She talks about like she's putting millions of miles on her private jet when she was Secretary of State, but what has she accomplished when she was traveling around the world basically on taxpayer vacations," said Palazzo. "It doesn't look like she's improved or strengthened any relationships. In fact, our friends don't trust us. We've lost a lot of credibility in this nation under (John) Kerry's leadership as Secretary of State, under Clinton's leadership and especially (President Obama) and his administration," he said.


Posted April 13, 2015 - 6:42 am

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Snowden talks tax cuts, legislative session

Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden (R-Meridian) said the Legislature's recent term was productive but lamented the fact that no tax cut legislation made it to Gov. Phil Bryant's desk.

"Republicans in the House and Senate had presented separate tax cut proposals, but agreed in March on a single compromise plan which was defeated by House Democrats," Snowden said.

Meridian Star

Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:41 am

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Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:39 am

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What happened to the 'SEC Primary?'

Hosemann said he met last year with the governor, Reeves and Gunn, and all appeared onboard. Late last year, he reported that state Democratic, Republican and legislative leaders were in accord.

Hosemann said he doesn't know if election-year or other politics played a role in Reeves killing the bill.

"But I can tell you this, I can't understand why the bill didn't pass," Hosemann said. "It doesn't make any political sense for Mississippi, and it doesn't make any economic sense."

Reeves disagrees and says his opposition was not personal or political. Reeves said he consulted with presidential election and campaign experts and determined it was a bad idea. For starters, he said, Florida and Louisiana are not joining, and other states have not yet decided.

Reeves said Mississippi joining would have opposite the desired effect: Mississippi would be ignored in favor of the larger states.

"Texas has more electoral votes in the San Antonio media market than we do in our entire state," Reeves said. "That's not including Dallas, Houston … same thing with Atlanta. Where do you think a candidate is going to go … if they have to choose between Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta or Hattiesburg?"

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:31 am

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Borsig's exit worsens College Board's position

It goes from bad to worse for the College Board.

Jim Borsig's decision that he'd rather be president of the Mississippi University for Women, instead of the state's higher education commissioner, robs the board of a stabilizing figure.

And some stability, in the wake of the board's refusal to renew Dan Jones' contract as chancellor of the University of Mississippi, is what the governing body for Mississippi's eight public universities needs most.

It seems likely that some lawmakers will try to radically restructure the 12-member board in 2016 in reaction to the Jones mess. At first glance, there seems to be a good chance that those who back a restructuring plan could have the chance of reaching the two-thirds supermajority needed to send an amendment to the state Constitution to voters. That's especially true for any plan creating individual boards for each university. Supporters of the state's three historically black public universities, as well as backers of the University of Southern Mississippi, have long chafed at what they see as the dominance of the current board by supporters of Ole Miss and Mississippi State University. If Ole Miss forces also now want their own board, that could be a winning combination in the Legislature.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:28 am

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Judge rules against Jim Hood over Google

A federal judge has ruled against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in his effort to keep Google from getting its hands on correspondence between Hood and lobbyists for the movie industry.

It's the latest defeat for Hood in his effort to investigate the Internet search giant, after the same judge wrote a stinging opinion in March suggesting that Hood sent a 79-page subpoena to Google as retaliation for the company's refusal to buckle under to Hood's objections about what it posts online. The Democratic attorney general, though, may have the chance to launch a counteroffensive next week, as he hosts a conference of attorneys general in Biloxi examining online crime issues.

After U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate ruled blocking Hood's investigation of Google in March, the Mountain View, California, company pressed its attempt to obtain copies of Hood's correspondence with the Motion Picture Association of America. The Internet giant says Hood is part of a covert campaign by movie studios to use legal action to achieve enhanced piracy protection that Congress has rejected. The company and others say that the association may have had input into the subpoena Hood sent Google, point to a Hood letter that the group apparently did draft, and note that former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore was hired by the Digital Citizens Alliance, a nonprofit group funded by movie studios and other companies.


Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:24 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:22 am

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Community calendar for April 13

April 25...

•Meeting: Lamar County Democrats, 10 a.m.-noon, Purvis Voting Precinct/Community Center, 112 Shelby Speights Dr. Mississippi Democratic Chairman Rickey Cole will discuss how to get out the vote. Refreshments. Details: 268-6605.

Hattiesburg American

Posted April 13, 2015 - 5:04 am

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Mississippi's First Congressional District Race has Drawn a Crowd
by Grant Fox

A special election set for May 12, 2015, in Mississippi's First Congressional District has drawn a crowd following Congressman Alan Nunnelee's death on February 6, 2015, due to brain cancer. The district stretches from the GOP vote rich Memphis suburbs in Desoto County, across the Tennessee/Mississippi border, down to Tupelo and on to Columbus in the Golden Triangle. Congressman Jamie Whitten represented the district from 1941-1995 and was the longest serving member of congress upon his retirement. Whitten a Democrat as House Appropriations Chairman brought billions of dollars in federal funding to the district for projects like the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Two decades after Whitten's retirement, the district is now solidly republican and that is reflected in the field of candidates who have qualified.

Here are the candidates who garnered the 1,000 signatures and qualified with the Mississippi Secretary of State:

Boyce Adams, Sam Adcock, Nancy Collins, Edward Holliday, Starner Jones, Trent Kelly, Chip Mills, Greg Pirkle, Henry Ross, Daniel Sparks, Mike Tagert, Quentin Whitwell and Walter Zinn. Please note that a candidate must live in the state of Mississippi, but not in the district. There are no party labels in the special election. Everyone runs in a herd, with the top two vote getters making the runoff.

All of the candidates but for Zinn are Republicans. Most insiders predict a runoff between Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert and District Attorney Trent Kelly, with Senator Nancy Collins coming in third place. Collins has been polling very well in early samples that have been conducted. In fact, all early polling shows Collins, Kelly and Tagert as the top three in different orders.

Tagert, a Millsaps graduate and former Marine, has represented the entire district as highway commissioner but resides about four miles outside of the district and favors the raising of Mississippi's gas tax. Advocating for an increased gas tax and living outside of the first congressional district will be high hurdles to overcome, but many establishment GOP donors have already joined Tagert's team, and he is said to have a significant fundraising edge over Kelly and Collins. Tagert has the support of many alums of Mississippi State University, which is in the third congressional district, as he lives in Starkville and holds two master's degrees from MSU. His grass roots organization throughout the district is perhaps the strongest due to his current office and existing district. Bully Bloc, the political action committee of MSU alums, has endorsed Tagert; its members are pouring money into Tagert's campaign coffers.

Kelly has longtime GOP consultant Morgan Baldwin of Tupelo in the driver's seat as his campaign manager. Baldwin managed the successful bid of State Senator Alan Nunnelee over Congressman Travis Childers in 2010 and has a proven track record in the district having managed numerous races for justices on the Mississippi Supreme Court. His role in the Kelly campaign gave it instant credibility. Kelly has done something other candidates in the race haven't done: he defeated 36 year entrenched Democrat District Attorney Johnny Young in 2011 and represents about one third of the voters in the congressional district within his circuit court DA district. Kelly, of Saltillo, is a Colonel in the National Guard and served two tours in Iraq. He has received several endorsements from veterans groups and will have broad support from law enforcement as well. A question mark for Kelly is fundraising; insiders wonder if he can raise the dollars he needs with four candidates in the race from Lee County.

Nationally known opposition researcher Gary Maloney has reportedly been in the field working the CD1 race. Maloney is known to GOP insiders by the moniker "The Warden." His clients include former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as well Steve Forbes, Mike Huckabee, Mel Martinez, Rudy Giuliani, all four Republican national committees, and several state parties. Maloney is retained to research his own client as well as opponents in any given race. He isn't really looking for rumors and scandalous tales; his research will focus on residency "carpetbagger" issues, tax liens, criminal records and charges and any information contained in public records. As always, it will be noteworthy to see what Maloney uncovers and if any of his research makes its way in to the public domain.

Columbus businessman Boyce Adams at age 29 is self-funding his campaign and has hired Frontier Strategies, the firm that handles political consultanting for Governor Phil Bryant. Adams is a graduate of Vanderbilt and is well connected in GOP circles. Columbus and part of the Golden Triangle were added to the first congressional district in the 2001 redistricting plan ordered by a federal court three judge panel sitting in Jackson, Mississippi. Adams, Tagert, and Adcock all hail from the Golden Triangle. Many political experts don't think a candidate from this area will win the race as it would be unprecedented; they base this opinion solely on the population centers lying in Lee and Desoto Counties.

Collins, the only woman in the race, is doing well on the campaign trail. She is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women and a favorite of W alums. She also has deep connections to the medical community as a registered nurse with a daughter who is a physician as well as a son in law who is a respected cardiologist. Political historians recall that Collins father was a highway commissioner. She is a very loved member of the Tupelo community due to her work with the Sanctuary Hospice House and other community organizations. No one should be surprised if she makes the June 2nd runoff. Two legislative issues will follow Collins on the campaign trail, for better or worse: her efforts to reform Public Employees Retirement System and what is commonly called the "13th check" and her authoring the landmark special needs children's legislation that passed in the 2015 legislative session. Both issues created either constituencies or opponents for her, as is the case with any controversial legislation. Collins is battling history as Mississippi has never elected a woman to congress.

Attorneys Greg Pirkle of Tupelo and Daniel Sparks of Belmont have impressed observers with their speaking skills on the campaign trial. They are both respected members of the bar but relatively unknown. Quentin Whitwell of Oxford, another attorney, is said to have made some serious inroads in Desoto County where he lived as a child. All 12 republican candidates will work hard in Desoto County as a huge block of GOP voters is up for grabs there and none of the candidates is a Desoto County resident. Henry Ross of Eupora and Ed Holliday, a dentist from Tupelo, will both try to capitalize on tea party voters in Desoto County. Chip Mills of Fulton, son of US District Court Judge Michael Mills, is using the same strategy; he hopes to win in the west as his father did when he was elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court in the mid 1990s. Starner Jones, an emergency room physician, Sewanee graduate and Pontotoc native, has worked primarily in the Memphis area and will be courting Desoto County voters as well.

Alumni of the University of Mississippi located in Oxford, which is in the first congressional district, will no doubt want an Ole Miss congressman, and there are plenty of Ole Miss grads in the field to pick from on election day. Of course, the ages of the candidates vary greatly from 29 to 67 years of age. Mississippians normally select younger congressman and senators as southerners tend to rely heavily on seniority in the congress. This prevailing attitude of Mississippi voters concerning age is another factor in the minds of those predicting a Kelly/Tagert runoff. Both men are in their 40s.

Collins, Kelly and Tagert are all running for reelection for their respective offices in the GOP primary in August in additional to running for congress in the special election. Each has a "placeholder" in the August race in the event that he or she is elected to congress. In the event of Collins, Kelly or Tagert not winning the congressional race, the placeholder would withdraw allowing the incumbent to be reelected to his or her current office. This is another issue that could be a factor as many voters don't think candidates should run for two offices in the same year.

Adcock, a former staffer to US Senator Trent Lott, is running a clever TV ad called "The Interview" produced by the Cirlot Agency that has gotten some buzz and given his campaign a boost. Whitwell and Adams have also run early TV ads trying to break out of the pack. The race is a short sprint which means anything is possible. On the June 2nd runoff, many Mississippians will be on the beaches of Alabama and Florida for Memorial Day, unconcerned about politics, but someone will be elected to congress in the rolling hills of North Mississippi.

Grant Fox is a native of Chickasaw County and ran for the CD1 seat in 1994. He lived in the district for over three decades. Fox is admitted to practice law in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He also works as a contract lobbyist at the Mississippi Capitol. He and his family live in Rankin County. He may be reached at grant@grantfox.com.

Posted April 13, 2015 - 4:57 am

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Governor Bryant Signs Gun Rights Measures into Law

JACKSON—Governor Phil Bryant has signed two gun rights measures into law. Senate Bill 2394 allows Mississippians the option of carrying a pistol or revolver in a purse, briefcase or other fully enclosed case without a concealed carry permit. Senate Bill 2619, which is effective immediately, allows active duty military, veterans and honorably retired law enforcement officers to count firearms training toward the requirements for an enhanced concealed carry permit and protects Mississippians from federal overregulation of ammunition.

“The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to America and to Mississippi,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I have always been a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and I am proud to sign these bills into law. I thank the National Rifle Association for their support of these measures and thank Rep. Andy Gibson for his continued leadership on behalf of gun owners in Mississippi.”

Senate Bill 2394, which is effective July 1, 2015, also:

reduces the fee for concealed carry permits from $100 to $80;
reduces permit renewal fees;
exempts active duty military from paying the concealed carry fee, and
beginning Jan. 1, 2016, allows the Department of Public Safety to include the designation “retired law enforcement officer” on driver licenses for honorably retired law enforcement and correctional officers.

“The NRA's five million dues-paying members appreciate the leadership of Governor Phil Bryant on Second Amendment issues. The legislation he signed into law will provide key reforms and strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Mississippians,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA-ILA.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 10:29 am

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Louisville mayor honored for disaster response

The mayor of Louisville will be honored later this year for his efforts to help the city recover from a devastating tornado last year.

Will Hill was seleced by the Small Business Administration to receive the Phoenix Award-Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery for the state of Mississippi.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 9:44 am

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State Fire Marshal Arrests Unlicensed Jefferson Davis County Based Alarm Salesman

Jackson, MS – A Deputy Fire Marshal from the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office has made the first arrest of an unlicensed alarm salesman under authority given to him by the Mississippi Electronic Protection Act.

Brandon Black, owner of Black Opts Tech Solutions in Prentiss, MS was arrested and has been charged with a total of 10 Class III misdemeanor charges stemming from activities in the city of Columbia (Marion County) and in Jefferson Davis county.

Black faces multiple charges of engaging in alarm contracting without a license and engaging in false, misleading or deceptive acts or practices. With each charge he could be fined up to $1,000 and/or be imprisoned for not more than one year per each charge.

“I want to commend the Deputy Fire Marshal who led this investigation and made this arrest, he has protected the consumers of Mississippi by stopping an individual trying to circumvent the law” Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.

It should be noted that this individual is not part of the group of unauthorized individuals selling alarm systems that is reported to return to the area this time every year. That group was the subject of an alert sent out by the State Fire Marshal last month.

The sale, installation and monitoring of all residential alarm systems in Mississippi are regulated by the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office, per the

Mississippi Electronic Protection Licensing Act passed by the state legislature in 2006.

An important part of the licensing process includes criminal background checks on those who sell and install these systems as well as requiring these individuals to have the proper training to ensure competency.

“If someone comes to your door trying to sell an alarm system, they must have a license and photo ID issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Ask them to show you these credentials,” Chaney said.

Chaney added that if the individual is unable to produce such an ID, that person may not be licensed or authorized to operate in the state and should be reported to the State Fire Marshal at 1-888-648-0877 or 601-359-1061. If the individual acts in a suspicious manner, you should contact local law enforcement authorities. If the individual is in a vehicle, write down and report the license tag number.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 9:33 am

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Press Statement by Jim Hood, NAAG President and Mississippi Attorney General

Press Statement by Jim Hood, NAAG President and Mississippi Attorney General on Protecting Consumers and Businesses from Online Criminals

“Each president of the National Association of Attorneys General has a presidential initiative and summit, which concentrates on pressing law enforcement issues. My presidential initiative is focusing on protecting our consumers and businesses from online criminals using new technologies. The initiative is called, Protecting Our Digital Lives: New Challenges for Attorneys General.

“Crime is moving to the Internet and law enforcement must be ready. Almost every crime we investigate today involves a cell phone or other digital evidence. The cyber challenges to attorneys general range from cyber bullying, to child porn, to human trafficking, to hackers and data miners stealing our private information, to the impact on intellectual property theft by the advent of 3D printers, and to hackers of our defense systems. It is scary that our children can go online and engage in all kinds of illegal activity. Young children may not be able to get into a movie theater to watch an R movie, but they can watch it online while their parents are not watching.

“Over the last year, our nation has had multiple, huge data breaches in retail stores where personal information was taken. It is my hope that we attorneys general can use these recent cases to see what practical safeguards can be put in place to help better protect our nation’s consumers.

“Hackers compromise systems and threaten to delete all data therein if people refuse to pay a ransom. Unfortunately, victims of this extortion crime are individuals, small businesses and municipalities who can’t afford not to pay. Counterfeiting and piracy of U.S. products occurring on rogue websites is a serious issue. Of particular concern to me is the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other such dangerous goods. Counterfeit drugs may be loaded with dangerous or ineffective substances, either of which can be deadly. These types of crimes hurt our people and they hurt our nation.

We attorneys general will continue to protect our states from the piracy of our intellectual property.

“The highlight of this initiative will be attorneys general and others joining me for the NAAG Presidential Initiative Summit in Biloxi, Miss., April 12-14, with an agenda dedicated to these issues.

“We attorneys general are on the frontline of the war against digital crime. I hope to add strength to our nation’s fight through the knowledge gained in this initiative.”

Posted April 10, 2015 - 9:29 am

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Posted April 10, 2015 - 6:30 am

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Legislators remark on '15 session

Rep. Rita Martinson, R-Madison, said she was disappointed that during an election year officials did more playing politics than legislating.

With regards to tax cuts proposed by both chambers and the governor's office, she said none passed because it was just politics. ...

...Martinson was also upset that an entertainment package she spent all summer working on could never get traction in the senate.

"I feel terribly distressed we didn't get any kind of discussion at all," she said. "The lieutenant governor does not believe in incentives, although there's plenty of proof it works."...

...Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, said he was glad to see more education funding and the elimination of inspection stickers.

He said he was not surprised when the sides could not agree on tax cut reform for the public, too.

"The tax cut was big legislation," he said. "This was an election year. The House and the Senate put them out there and they ended up where they ended up."

Madison County Journal

Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:42 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Mathis unopposed

In 2007 and 2011, Republican Jay Mathis of Carthage sought to unseat Democrat Bennett Malone in House District 45 (Leake, Neshoba, Rankin and Scott counties). Malone fended off the first challenge with 56 percent of the vote, but squeaked in a victory in the rematch with 50.6 percent of the vote, a 78 votes lead out of 6246 votes cast. Four years later, Mathis will finally fill Malone's seat.

Malone, who has been in ill health, resigned his seat in February after missing most of the session, bringing an end to more than three decades in the House of Representatives. Following his resignation, Governor Phil Bryant called a special election to fill his seat. Mathis was the only candidate to qualify before the deadline so he wins the seat without opposition.

I spoke to Mathis by phone on Tuesday. He and his family were at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville where his father-in-law was undergoing an emergency quadruple bypass. He got the news about his father-in-law about the same time he learned he was unopposed in the special election.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve, I'm not sure what all I can do but I hope I'll be able to help some people in my district in the time I have there," Mathis said.

Madison County Journal

Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:39 am

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Bryant requested to call special session for officer body cameras

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- A Mississippi representative is calling on Gov. Phil Bryant to require officers to wear body cameras following several officer-involved shootings reported throughout the nation.

Representative Chuck Espy is requesting for Bryant to call or add to his workforce development special session that it is mandatory for law enforcement officers in the field to wear the body cameras.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:29 am

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Super PACs move to forefront of 2016 campaigns

"It will be difficult to compete in a crowded field" without a super PAC, said Austin Barbour, a Mississippi-based operative and lobbyist who is overseeing a super PAC supporting former Texas governor Rick Perry. "Anybody who is thinking about running for president has got to have a group of donors out there aggressively backing them."


Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:26 am

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Imagine if you were boarding an airplane and the captain said that only 75 percent of the passengers would arrive safely. As for the poor travelers, that number would drop to 50 percent. And if you had a disability, you would board a different, poorly maintained plane, and not even a quarter of those passengers would arrive safely.

If this was the status quo for air travel, we would demand change. Yet sadly, this has been the education status quo in Mississippi for decades. And yet, until recently, critically-needed, student-centered reforms were stalled. Even under the strong leadership of then Governor Haley Barbour and then Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, education reforms were regularly killed in the House under then Speaker Billy McCoy. But all this changed in 2011 when Republicans won control of the House for the first time since Reconstruction, while maintaining the Governor’s Mansion and the Senate, Finally, Republicans had near total control of the policymaking levers of state government.

These last four years, under the leadership of Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, Mississippi has enacted a wide array of strong, student-centered education reform measures that rival what any other state in the nation has done during the same time. The legislative battles for these reforms has not been easy. Too many people and organizations have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. But courageous legislators like Senators Gray Tollison, Nancy Collins, and Michael Watson, and Representatives John Moore, Carolyn Crawford, Charles Busby, Brad Mayo and others have championed legislation that empowers parents and works to ensure that every child in Mississippi has access to quality education options.

Great Progress

Here is a look at a few of the transformational education reforms passed during the past four years:

A-F Grading: In 2012, the legislature infused our system of grading schools and school districts with a new level of transparency and accountability. A-F labels were a critical first step in giving parents a better understanding of their schools’ academic performance. Under the old system, parents had to decipher whether “Academic Watch” or “Low Performing” was worse or whether “Star” or “High Performing” was better. The new A-F system is easily understood: we all know that an “A” is good and an “F” is bad.

The A-F system is about both transparency of student outcomes, as well as transparency of student growth. And we should be proud that Mississippi now has one of the most transparent systems of measuring and reporting on student outcomes in the entire country.

High academic standards are critical for the success of our students and to ensure we prepare them to compete in a global marketplace. Time and time again, students demonstrate that they have a remarkable ability to succeed (and exceed expectations) when we set the bar high. With Common Core hopefully on the way out, we look for the state to adopt even higher standards, and those standards should clearly have Mississippi’s priorities intact.

Third Grade Reading Gate: In 2013, the legislature adopted the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, or more commonly referred to as the “Third Grade Reading Gate,” to end the practice of social promotion to the fourth grade for students who cannot read. In actuality, despite the label, the goal of the policy is to create multiple avenues to ensure that children do read on grade level by the fourth grade, the time in education when students transition from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. Mississippi’s law does exactly that, but it also provides accountability for the small number of students who still cannot read on grade-level before fourth grade.

This legislation, which passed with overwhelming bi-partisan majorities at the time, was based upon the sound evidence that children who cannot read on grade level by fourth grade begin a cycle of falling behind and are much more likely to drop out of high school, and experience a spiraling set of consequences that often lead to unemployment and incarceration.

This was modeled after legislation in Florida, which had been adopted a decade earlier. During this time period, Florida students, particularly African American, Hispanic, and students with disabilities, have seen considerable gains as the number of students scoring at the lowest achievement level on the statewide reading assessment dropped dramatically.

This law has two critical components: the gate; students don’t proceed to the fourth grade if they can’t read, and intervention; students who are struggling with learning to read receive intensive intervention to help them strength their reading skills and prepare for the fourth grade. One component without the other wouldn’t work. But when combined, these two components help children get the support they need before being passed on to the next grade.

Charter Schools: Charter schools are public schools that receive government funding, but are freed from some of the red tape and restrictions placed on traditional public schools. In exchange for that freedom, these schools are held to a higher academic standard.

Passing a law to allow local communities to create charter schools was one of the highest priorities for the new Republican majority in 2012. Previously, Charter school legislation had repeatedly passed the Senate, but was always killed by Speaker McCoy in the House. Most observers assumed charter schools would pass in 2012 since it was so important to the republican leadership. But a group of house Republicans, led by the Desoto County delegation, teamed up with Democrats to kill this legislation and deny communities across the state the ability to provide their children with this much-needed education option.

Supporters regrouped after the defeat in 2012 and early in the 2013 session, legislation allowing for the creation of charter schools passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant. This law creates a rigorous and accountable process to ensure that only the highest quality charter schools will be authorized. This fall, the first two charter schools are starting in Jackson, one in South Jackson and one in Midtown. We are enthusiastic about both efforts and anticipate life-changing results from both of these schools.

Special Needs ESA: Mississippi was late to the game in enacting charter schools (40 states already had charter schools), but we are the third state in the nation to implement Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs). The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act passed during the 2015 session and will provide parents who have a child with special needs with an ESA of $6,500 to help pay for expenses outside the traditional public schools. These funds can be used to cover expenses such as private school tuition, therapy, or tutoring. Governor Bryant has been an outspoken advocate for this bill and has committed to sign the bill soon.

Similar to the legislative fight for charters, this bill was not passed the first year it was introduced. A special needs ESA bill was introduced in 2014, but a coalition of House members, including many of the same members who teamed up to kill charter schools legislation, joined together to defeat this measure on the last day of the 2014 legislative session. We are disappointed that it took an extra year, but we applaud policymakers for this strong piece of legislation that will be a lifeline to children who have special needs and are floundering in public schools that don’t meet their unique educational needs.

This program is a gigantic leap forward for Mississippi. It treats students as individuals, with unique needs, and equips parents with the tools to help them meet those needs. No one knows a child better than their parents, so this program empowers parents of students with special needs with the ability to customize an education that they determine is right for their child.

Going Forward

Much has been accomplished to reform our last in the nation education system, but there is still much to do. Our work isn’t done until every parent in Mississippi has a range of high-quality education options and the ability to choose an education that they determine is right for their child, whether at a traditional public school, charter school, or private school. So what’s next?

Tax Credit Scholarships: Tax Credit Scholarship programs create new pools of funding so that children can receive scholarships to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice. Corporations and individuals make private donations to nonprofit organizations that provide these scholarships to eligible children from low-income families. In return, the corporations and individuals receive a state income tax credit. Similar laws in other states have proven to yield multiple benefits, including better educational outcomes for the students who accept the scholarships, better outcomes for those students who opted to stay in traditional public schools, and significant savings to taxpayers.

Charter School Expansion: We expect to see great things from the charter schools opening in Jackson this fall. We support expanding the current law to provide more students with the same great opportunity.

Currently, students who wish to enroll in a charter school are prohibited from crossing district lines. This is not a significant issue in a large district like the Jackson Public School District, but this is a significant challenge for those communities in lesser populated areas who want to create a charter school. This is particularly true in the Delta where the population is low and individual counties already have multiple school districts. Restricting charters from recruiting students from across district lines has effectively eliminated the possibility of communities creating charters in most other parts of the state.

KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), who runs 162 highly successful charter schools around the country, including the Arkansas Delta, was interested in helping Clarksdale, Mississippi create a charter school. But they chose not to come to Mississippi because of the limited pool of students that would be available without crossing district lines. This restriction hurts the students in those areas where it is needed the most.

Additionally, the 2013 charter schools law effectively restricts the creation of charters to only those districts rated D or F. We support allowing for the creation of charter schools in “C” districts because students deserve better than a mediocre education. If a local community wants to create a charter and charters are able to provide better academic results, why should we keep them out of “C” districts?

Appointed Superintendents: Of the more than 14,000 school districts in the United States, only around 150 have elected superintendents. And about 60 of those are in Mississippi.

On multiple occasions, the legislature has tried to pass legislation that would create a unified system where all school board members are elected and all superintendents are appointed. During the past four years, this legislation repeatedly passed the Senate, but was killed in the House, again, thanks to the same coalition that has defeated or delayed many much-needed reforms.

Superintendents should be focused on their students, not campaigning. A switch to elected school boards and appointed superintendents would increase accountability and have a positive impact on the classroom, especially in our more rural areas where the need is greatest and the talent pool of qualified candidates is the smallest.

This Year

Elections provide an opportunity to reflect on the past and consider progress that still needs to be made. For the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker, and the legislators who championed these student-centered education reforms, they have a remarkable record to run on. For the legislators who worked to defeat these measures and deny families access to quality education options, they too have a record, and a day of reckoning with the voters is coming.

When we released our education choice scorecard in October our goal was to provide a tool for citizens to evaluate their legislators’ voting record on these critical reforms. Now it’s never been easier to determine whether your legislators stand with students and families or whether they support the status quo and superintendents.

This year we created Empower PAC to support legislators who have consistently and courageously supported these student-centered reforms, many in the face of strong political threats. If you’re a legislator who has consistently stood up for children, then you can be assured, we’ve got your back. At the same time, we look forward to supporting candidates who are running against those that stood in the way of these reforms. The voters of Mississippi will ultimately set the direction for the future.

The future of our state is a lot brighter than it was four years ago. Now let’s work together through this year’s elections and the next four years to push even further, to ensure that every child in Mississippi has the opportunity to choose a quality education.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:23 am

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Minor: New additions add little to Mississippi’s luster

Mississippi seems to have added two distinctions to its resumé, neither of which is likely to add any luster to its national reputation.

■Now Mississippi can be called the “pistol-packing mama” state, borrowing from a popular World War II era song. In the final days of their 2015 session lawmakers voted to allow women to carry a concealed handgun in their purse. Gov. Phil Bryant triumphantly signed the bill into law.

•We now can boast of being first to erect a 110-foot-tall white cross overlooking a fried catfish eatery on U.S. 49 in the town of Florence owned by Carroll Berry and his wife. The Florence cross was dedicated on Good Friday, the holy day when millions of Christians worldwide mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on a rough-hewn wooden cross 2,000 years ago.

While Christian observances are conducted by religious leaders mostly in silence, in contrast, at Florence, virtual blessings came from the state’s two highest political officials, amid a campaign rally atmosphere. (After all, this is election year.)


Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:11 am

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Borsig to leave IHL post, return to the W

Incoming commissioner of higher education Jim Borsig announced Thursday his intention to remain as president of Mississippi University for Women.

Borsig was scheduled to officially succeed former commissioner Hank Bounds, who left to become the president of the University of Nebraska, April 15. His return to the W will have to be formally approved by the state College Board. Borsig will serve as commissioner during the transition, a Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning press release said.


Posted April 10, 2015 - 5:07 am

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‘Anger, Tantrums’ on Both Sides in Jones Case Dismays Scruggs, Likens to Prison Life

Now prison is not where you want to go. The beds are little more than steel racks, the food’s inedible, and the medical and dental care are better in Haiti. Yet perversely, folks seemed happier than out in the civilized world. They found ways to get along. The shared misery of incarceration somehow spawned tolerance and cooperation.

A good example of the anger I’m talking about was triggered during the recent controversy over the IHL’s decision to let Dan Jones go as our Chancellor. I think it stinks and am on record to that effect. But I don’t think that the individual Board members are stinkers, and I am dismayed by the tantrums that some of Dan’s supporters have displayed toward others in our community who participated in or supported the Board’s action. It is done. There’s nothing more to do than lower our voices and rationally cooperate in attracting and welcoming a new Chancellor.

No, I don’t want to go back to prison where life was harsh but simple. I do think, however, that I learned something about getting along, taking a deep breath and facing the next day. I think that Dan Jones would want that, and I’m sure that the future of our great institution requires it.

Hotty Toddy

Posted April 9, 2015 - 3:51 pm

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MS State Auditor Stacey Pickering releases prosecutorial timeline on Ashley Palmertree

Posted April 9, 2015 - 12:52 pm

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Solar power coming to Entergy Mississippi

By the end of August, solar power should be part of Entergy Mississippi's electricity-generation repertoire.

The utility broke ground Tuesday on one of three solar projects it plans in Jackson, Senatobia and Brookhaven as part of its $4.5 million Bright Future Plan.

Between now and when they start producing electricity, Entergy will install 3,744 solar panels made at Stion Corp.'s facility in Hattiesburg. The panels will occupy a field adjacent to Entergy's Hinds Generating Facility in Jackson.

Clarion Ledger

Posted April 9, 2015 - 11:25 am

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Posted April 9, 2015 - 10:10 am

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Posted April 9, 2015 - 8:37 am

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The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) announces that the following Main Street programs in Mississippi have been designated as accredited National Main Street Programs for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Aberdeen Main Street, Amory Main Street, Baldwyn Main Street Chamber, Batesville Main Street Association, Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation, Biloxi Main Street, Booneville & Prentiss County Main Street Association, Canton Chamber of Commerce/Main Street, Carthage Main Street, Team Cleveland Main Street, Clinton Main Street, Columbus Main Street, Main Street Corinth, Main Street Crystal Springs, Main Street Greenville, Main Street Greenwood Inc., Gulfport Main Street, Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association, Hernando Main Street Chamber, Indianola Main Street, Inc., Kosciusko Main Street, Laurel Main Street, Louisville/Noxapater Main Street, Main Street Macon, Meridian Main Street, New Albany Main Street Association, Ocean Springs Chamber-Main Street-Tourism Bureau, Okolona Main Street, Olive Branch Old Towne Association, Pascagoula Main Street/City Hall, Pass Christian Main Street, Philadelphia Main Street, Picayune Main Street, Pontotoc County Main Street Chamber, Ripley Main Street Association, Senatobia Main Street, Small Town Mississippi, Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Tunica Main Street, Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, Vicksburg Main Street, Water Valley Main Street, West Point Main Street and Woodville Main Street.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®.

“We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for their outstanding accomplishment in meeting the National Main Street Center’s 10 Standards of Performance,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “As the National Main Street Center celebrates its 35th Anniversary, it is also important to celebrate the achievements of the local Main Street programs across the country, some of which have been around since the beginning. These local programs work hard every day to make their communities great places to work, live, play and visit while still preserving their historic character.”

The Main Street organizations are evaluated annually by the Mississippi Main Street Association, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization.

Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

"Receiving National Main Street accreditation is a prestigious designation and we congratulate each of these programs in Mississippi for this achievement," said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. "Main Street programs play a strategic role in stimulating economic development in our local communities, our state and the entire nation."

Accredited programs will be recognized on June 18 at the Mississippi Main Street Annual Awards Luncheon at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.
Since 1993, Mississippi Main Street Association has generated nearly $4.7 billion in private and public investment (which includes more than $1 billion in public investment).

In 2014, Mississippi Main Street cities generated 292 net new businesses, 76 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,173 net new jobs, 92 façade rehabilitations and 127 upper floor housing units. More than 65,117 volunteer hours were recorded.
Main Street programs in Mississippi leverage an average of $485 for every public/private dollar invested.

Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts.
Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,000 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 35 years, the Main Street program has leveraged more than $61.7 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created 528,557 net new jobs and 120,510 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 251,838 buildings, leveraging an average of $26.52 in new investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.

MS Main Street Assn Release

Posted April 9, 2015 - 8:12 am

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Posted April 9, 2015 - 5:10 am

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Biloxi's mayor race moves forward with 10 candidates


Posted April 9, 2015 - 5:06 am

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Rep. Andy Gipson: 2015 Legislature tackles public safety issues

As the 2015 regular session of the Legislature is now officially closed and in the rearview mirror, the focus for many people seems to have been on a couple of bills: eliminating inspection stickers and enacting penalties for texting and driving. In fact, the 2015 Legislature took action on a number of major policy issues. As is the case every year, most bills introduced did not survive the grueling session. But the 2015 legislative process yielded a number of meaningful pieces of legislation that should further enhance public safety in Mississippi.


Posted April 9, 2015 - 5:02 am

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Gov. Bryant to appoint vacated judge seat

Governor Phil Bryant will appoint someone to fill the remaining term of the late Judge Dan Fairly, his office confirmed Tuesday. A timetable for the appointment has not yet been announced, according to Knox Graham, Deputy Communications Director for Gov. Bryant.


Posted April 9, 2015 - 5:00 am

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