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BOBBY HARRISON: GOP leaders could have gotten some kind of income tax cut


Make no mistake about it, House Republicans killed any chance of an income tax cut passing the Mississippi Legislature this session.

On Friday, House Republicans, who hold a majority, could have made a motion to send the tax cut legislation to conference by a simple majority vote.

In that conference committee, an agreement between House and Senate leaders to cut the income tax could have been reached and the legislation could have been sent to the floors of the two chambers for another vote.

Perhaps House Democrats would have blocked passage of that conference report cutting the income tax since it takes a three-fifths majority to send to the governor legislation raising or cutting taxes. But the truth of the matter is we will never know.





Daily Journal
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 7:17 am

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I’m Not Buying the Dan Jones – Butler Snow Conspiracy Theory

But I don’t buy the conspiracy theory. It sounds more like sour grapes. It would be kind of like Burger King telling you why McDonald’s sucks. Consider the source.

Start out with the fact that Gov. Musgrove is also now a private practice attorney who is a competitor of Butler Snow. Assuming that everything he says is true, would he do anything different if this was a Democratic controlled state and he had the influence that Barbour has? Hasn’t Gov. Musgrove used his connections and influence to get business?

That’s what big law firms do. They hire people with influence who they hope will bring business to the firm. Not only is that how things work, there is nothing wrong with it.

Musgrove didn’t have a problem taking a job with Copeland Cook. And I bet he used his contacts and influence to bring in business for that firm and his current firm.


MS Litigation Review
3/27/14

Posted March 27, 2015 - 7:10 am

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to retire


WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who has led his party's troops since 2005, announced Friday he will not seek re-election to a sixth term.



Clarion Ledger
3/27/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 7:01 am

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State Rep. Jim Evans not seeking re-election

Evans said his decision to not seek re-election, although he had qualified to run, is as sudden as it seems. He said he has been thinking about it for sometime.

"It has been a long run," Evans said of his 24 years as a lawmaker.

His decision to withdraw from seeking re-election comes about a week after the Mississippi Democratic Party ruled in his favor over a challenge to his whether he actually live in District 70.


Clarion Ledger
3/27/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 6:53 am

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Cochran: Senate Budget Plan Passed Overnight Would Allow 11,000 New Mississippi Jobs


WASHINGTON, D.C.–More than 11,000 new Mississippi jobs could be created under the budget plan passed overnight by the U.S. Senate, said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). The plan passed 52-46, and is in opposition to the president’s plan, which Cochran said does not balance the budget without tax increases.


The Senate plan also does not immediately balance the budget, but would do so over time.

“The budget resolution is a fiscally responsible set of priorities for Mississippi and our nation. The Senate Republican budget balances without raising taxes, provides a means to replace Obamacare, and protects our vital national security interests in the face of evolving threats,” said Cochran.


NewsMS
3/27/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 5:26 am

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'Voice of the Sun Herald,' editorial writer Tony Biffle ready to 'chill'


At the end of the working day, Biffle will end a 21-year career at the Sun Herald. The award-winning longtime editorial writer has repeatedly said he will have no trouble finding something to replace the hubbub of the newsroom. His first priority, he has said time and again, will be to "chill."


Sunherald
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 5:18 am

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Chancellor Dan Jones reportedly rejects 2-year deal




Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones has rejected the state College Board's offer of a two-year contract extension, The Clarion-Ledger has been told.

Contracts for university heads usually last for four years. Sources close to Jones' side of the continuing negotiations say he would have been required to resign after those two years — an offer he rejected. Other sources have cited a demand that he publicly apologize to the board.

Jones has reportedly counter-offered that he would accept the two-year offer and agree to a full review of his work by the board. If the board still wanted him out at that point, he would willingly resign.


ClarionLedger
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 5:12 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker Offers Amendments to Senate Budget Plan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Budget Committee, has offered several amendments to the budget proposal currently being considered by the Senate.

“The budget process is an opportunity to have a say in federal spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year,” Wicker said. “My amendments would strengthen our defense ties with key allies, safeguard funding for our ports and harbors, seek new funding to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, and protect health-care providers from unnecessary cuts under Obamacare.

“Senate Republicans have provided a forward-thinking plan that balances the budget in 10 years without raising taxes. In addition to reining in out-of-control federal spending, this budget offers Americans real health-care reform, job creation, and a more prosperous future.”

Background on Wicker’s Amendments to S.Con.Res. 11, the Budget Resolution:

Finding a Cure for Alzheimer’s (Wicker Amdt. 614): Supports research to identify the cause of Alzheimer’s, provide early diagnostics tools, and develop therapies to delay the onset or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which would provide cost savings to the federal government.

Expediting IRS Whistleblower Awards (Wicker Amdt. 620): Calls for the IRS to speed up the award process for those who come forward with information on tax evasion.

Reinforcing “Magnitsky Act” Sanctions (Wicker Amdt. 617): Allows expedited interagency cooperation to identify foreign nationals subject to sanctions under the “Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.”

Strengthening the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (Wicker Amdt. 615): Ensures that Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund fees are only used to finance expenditures on maintenance dredging, dredged material disposal areas, jetties, and breakwaters.

Examining Truck Size and Weight Limits (Wicker Amdt. 616): Requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a comprehensive truck size and weight limits study by November 2014. DOT has failed to meet the prior reporting deadline and has not yet provided the report to Congress.

Addressing Obamacare Cuts to Hospital Programs (Wicker Amdt. 619): Protects hospitals from cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program under Obamacare.

Aiding Ukraine (Wicker Amdt. 613): Establishes a deficit neutral reserve fund (DNRF) to improve international defense cooperation, which may include expedited interagency approval of lethal arms and munitions to Ukraine.

Increasing Transparency of Arms Control Obligations: (Wicker Amdt. 618): Requires an annual report on nations that are not meeting international arms control treaty obligations.

Improving Defense Cooperation with Taiwan (Wicker Amdt. 629): Enables technology transfers between the U.S. and Taiwan for the construction of diesel submarines.

Repealing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Wicker Amdt. 621): Provides tax and regulatory relief for Americans living abroad.


3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 5:06 am

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RELEASE:


Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary

Week of March 23, 2015

This week, conference members were assigned to bills the Senate and House members did not agree or “concur” on changes that the other chamber made to a bill. Conferees from the House and Senate began meeting to work on bill language, in hopes of reaching an agreement.

The deadline to file conference reports on Appropriations and Revenue bills falls this weekend. Conferees must file reports, or final versions, before 8 p.m. Saturday, March 28. Monday, March 30, is the deadline for adoption of those conference reports filed. With deadlines back-to-back, it is likely members and staff will work through the weekend.

On that note, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC,) led this year by Speaker Philip Gunn, met this week to adopt revisions to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 General Fund Revenue Estimate and the FY2016 General Fund Revenue Estimate. Committee members voted to adopt the revisions to FY2015, which was $101.6 million more than the November revised estimate. Committee members then voted to adopt the changes to FY2016 for a total of $5.66 billion, which is $30 million more than the November estimate.

Late this week, House and Senate members will begin wrapping up their discussions regarding the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget. Both sides must agree on how to spend the approximately $6 billion General Fund budget for FY16. At this stage in the conference process until the Saturday evening deadline is met and reports are adopted, exact numbers may change.

Once both chambers concur with the changes and adopt a conference report, that bill is then sent to the Governor’s desk. So far in the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Bryant has signed 83 House Bills and 44 Senate bills into law. Some of these signed bills originating in the House include:

• House Bill 389 prohibits texting and accessing social media while driving.
• House Bill 739 creates the Property Insurance Clarity Act.
• House Bill 825 revises the Personal Service Contract Review Board
• Senate Bill 2185 requires CPR/AED to be taught as instructional component of physical or health education curriculum.
• SB2389 enacts a Compact for a Balanced Budget.
• Senate Bill 2687 creates the Mississippi Direct Primary Care Act.

Toward the end of the week, a reception was held to honor the 15 members of the House and the five members of the Senate who are retiring after this Session. Rep. Cecil Brown calculated that the retiring members served a total of 321 years—277 in the House, and 44 in the Senate.


3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 5:04 am

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RELEASE:




-----Original Message-----
From: See, Jordan [mailto:Jordan.See@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:28 PM
To: See, Jordan
Subject: SGR

Good afternoon:

Below is Rep. Harper’ statement regarding the passing of H.R. 2, the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.


[http://frontier.ms/images/ghemailsig.jpg]
Jordan See
Communications Director
307 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5031
(202) 225-5797 (fax)



From: Gregg Harper
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 2:25 PM
To: See, Jordan
Subject: SGR

[http://harperforms.house.gov/images/gh_head.jpg]

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jordan See

Thursday March 26, 2015

(202) 225-5031



Washington DC- U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015:

“Every year since 2003, Medicare’s flawed physician payment formula has jeopardized payments to doctors and created uncertainty in seniors’ access to high quality care. With short-term fixes, Congress has for years not met this challenge with a real solution,” said Harper. "This legislation was overwhelmingly adopted because it provides a permanent solution to this flawed formula, and will provide long-term structural changes needed to keep Medicare solvent."


3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 4:56 am

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Twenty lawmakers leaving office

Those leaving this year are:

House: Reps. Bennett Malone, Johnny Stringer, Joe Warren, Bobby Howell, Rita Martinson, Ferr Smith, Mary Coleman, Cecil Brown, Chuck Espy, Brian Aldridge, Clara Burnett, Linda Whittington, Dennis DeBar, Hank Lott and Tommy Taylor

Senate: Sens. Kelvin Butler, Perry Lee, Giles Ward, Haskins Montgomery and Tony Smith.


ClarionLedger
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 4:52 am

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Harris out; Mississippi Supreme Court decides special judge will hear SRHS cases


Chancery Judge Neil Harris must remove himself from presiding over cases filed against Singing River Health System, the Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered.

The court plans to appoint a special judge to hear the cases. SRHS asked for Harris' recusal, maintaining that he could appear to be biased.

Both lawsuits were filed over Singing River Health System's underfunded pension plan, one by retiree Cynthia Almond and another by current SRHS employees. The court ruled 5-1 in favor of recusal, with Justice Jess Dickinson dissenting. Justices Randy Pierce, Mike Randolph and Josiah Coleman did not participate.


Sunherald
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 4:47 am

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Mississippi Gov. Bryant signs $2.5 billion K-12 budget bill


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday signed a $2.5 billion budget for elementary and secondary schools, putting in place one of the biggest pieces of an overall state government spending plan for the coming year.

Bryant signed the bill the same day that members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee met and increased the estimates of how much money the state can spend on a variety of other programs, including prisons, universities and Medicaid.

Committee members added nearly $102 million to the revenue estimate for fiscal 2015, which ends June 30, and $30 million for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1. The state-funded portion of the budget will be more than $6 billion for this year and next.


Mississippi Link
3/26/15

Posted March 27, 2015 - 4:43 am

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Normally, we stand the post to expose ignorance where and when we see it. Chris McDaniel campaign guy Noel Fritsch is a familiar target to that particular effort.

Apparently, he sent a mail piece out on behalf of the MS Assn of Gun Rights trying to scare folks about a "recent" effort to mark ammo. Problem is, the bill he named that was public enemy number one, SB 2030 just happened to be the Common Core bill. #Whoops. The bill he was supposed to be talking about (SB 2219) died a quick an efficient death over a month prior to Fritsch sending the scare letter and never saw the light of day.

Mr. George Whitten of Greenwood does a more than serviceable job slapping the duncecap on Fritsch. The real question is when will the National Association of Gun Rights ever catch on to the abject foolishness they're funding in the Magnolia State?


MS Assn for Gun Rights head Noel Fritsch delivers another facepalm moment



Posted March 26, 2015 - 3:53 pm

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Better Schools Better Jobs Supporter Sues in Hinds County




Shipman Memo 032615





Posted March 26, 2015 - 3:03 pm

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Legislators’ education alternative challenged

Adrian Shipman of Oxford, a mother of two in the Oxford School District, filed the challenge Tuesday, claiming the language recently approved by the Attorney General’s office is not a true reflection of legislative intent.

Shipman claims the legislative alternative “creates significant risks of confusing the electorate.”

Under the state’s initiative law, a person is allowed to challenge the language of any legislative alternative to a citizen-sponsored initiative. And the judge has 10 days to rule on whether the language must be changed. According to James Keith, a Ridgeland attorney representing Shipman, the judge’s decision cannot be appealed.

“This legislative alternative is meant to confuse voters into killing the real school-funding initiative, Number 42,” Keith said in a news release. “Mrs. Shipman appealed its official wording because she believes voters must be able to tell the difference between the real initiative and the decoy initiative.”



Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal
3/26/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 2:30 pm

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'Absurd' folk song becomes protest of Jones decision



Clarion Ledger
3/26/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 12:30 pm

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Former Gov. Winter negotiating with Dan Jones, IHL

Winter said he's hoping that differences between the two can be resolved and that Jones can remain as chancellor.

"I'm hoping for that result and that the board will move forward and Dr. Jones will move forward," he said. "This is not just for the University of Mississippi, but all the universities have a stake in this."

If this is not worked out, "everybody's going to be the loser," he said. "The state of Mississippi is going to be the loser."

Jones is talking Thursday by phone with Institutions of Higher Learning commissioner Jim Borsig.

The two met in Oxford Wednesday afternoon, in an attempt to reach a settlement that would renew Jones' contract beyond September. The state College Board voted last week for Jones to begin preparations to search for his successor, essentially not renewing his deal.


Clarion Ledger
3/26/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 12:22 pm

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Posted March 26, 2015 - 12:00 pm

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Bill to Provide Help to Special Needs Students Heads to Governor

During his January 2015 State of the State Address, Gov. Phil Bryant called on the Mississippi Legislature to pass the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act (Senate Bill 2695), a measure that creates a pilot program to provide special needs students with scholarships to pay for educational expenses. The Mississippi Senate today concurred with the Mississippi House to send the bill to Gov. Bryant for signature.

The graduation rate for students with special needs in Mississippi public schools is 22.5 percent. The graduation rate for students without special needs is 74.5 percent.

“Today is a good day for parents in Mississippi,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “Special needs students deserve the opportunity to succeed, and this bill gives parents the power to provide additional resources to help their children obtain the education and support they need. I thank the Legislature for sending me this bill.”

The measure will provide a $6,500 scholarship to participating students. The funds can be used for expenses like educational therapies, tutoring and tuition at a private school when the public school in which the student is enrolled is not meeting his or her needs.

Schools, tutors and other educational service providers that receive scholarship funds must meet appropriate licensing and accreditation standards.

The program is open to 500 public school students beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. To qualify, students must have had an active Individualized Education Program within 18 months from the date of enrollment in the pilot. The first 250 slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The remaining 250 slots will be filled by a lottery.

Excerpt from Governor Bryant’s 2015 State of the State Address, delivered to the Mississippi Legislature on Jan. 21, 2015
“This year, we must also do all in our power to help children with special needs. The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act will empower parents with educational choice to get their children the services they need. When only 22.5 percent of special needs children graduate from high school, something is terribly wrong. I call on you to send this bill to my desk. Mississippi children with special needs, and their parents, deserve nothing less.”

Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release
3/26/15


Posted March 26, 2015 - 11:23 am

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SCHOOL CHOICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES HEADS TO GOVERNOR’S DESK

Legislation providing more educational opportunity for students with special needs passed the Senate today, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.

Senate Bill 2695 allows scholarships for students with disabilities to attend any school that best fits their needs. The bill is part of Lt. Gov. Reeves’ legislative agenda.

“Today, Mississippi became the third state in the nation to empower the parents of students with special needs, providing them with a broad array of educational choices,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “For two years, we fought to give these students an opportunity at an education that best fits their needs. I congratulate the parents and students who worked so hard to pass this important next step in Mississippi’s education reform efforts.”

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, would allow parents to use state funds as a scholarship to attend a school that best addresses their child’s needs. Many Mississippi schools have struggled to meet the academic needs of students with disabilities. Currently, slightly more than 20 percent of special needs students graduate from high school.

“Too many students with disabilities are trapped in schools that are not meeting their needs,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Their parents deserve the chance to customize education to their child when their school is not working for them.”

Tate Reeves Press Release
3/26/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 11:20 am

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BRIAN PERRY/Ole Miss is bigger than Dan Jones


Last Friday, the Institutes of Higher Learning Board of Trustees (College Board) voted 9-2 not to renew the contract of Dan Jones, Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. The resulting uproar has been immensely entertaining.

I don't suggest it is a trivial issue. Chancellor Jones is essentially the chief executive of an institution with more than 20,000 students and a budget of $2 billion. Ole Miss in Oxford, as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, are vital components of their communities, economic development generators, job creators and provide important and - with UMMC - lifesaving services to Mississippians.

But the emotional outrage of those who opposed the decision seemed to overpower rationality.

The anger was first directed at Gov. Phil Bryant, who does not have authority over the College Board or their decisions, although the Board members are appointed by governors and confirmed by the state Senate.


Madison County Journal
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 6:01 am

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Rick Looser: Anatomy of a PR disaster for College Board


Research. Planning. Execution. Evaluation. The tried and true, "Four Step PR Process." Every college student in a communications program has been taught this process for the past 50 years … and it still works today. The PR process used in the recent Dan Jones PR debacle can best be described as, "Fire, Ready, Aim."...


...In today's wind-and-grind news cycle, both the media and the public are guilty of paying more attention to the seriousness of the accusations and less about the facts. In this crisis, the state College Board took the nuclear option of firing a popular public figure, but in the hours after the announcement couldn't give an easy-to-understand answer of why he was fired.

As the public sees it, Jones showed up for work (even as he battled cancer), didn't steal from or embarrass his employer, and left Ole Miss better than he found it.


Clarion Ledger
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:52 am

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Crowded field for open Miss. House seat



In the special election contest to replace the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi Republicans are hoping to avoid the nasty, divisive GOP primary that roiled the 2014 Senate race....



...“For a congressional race, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mississippi Republican strategist Austin Barbour, nephew of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. “Maybe it’s happened before at some local race or mayoral race, but for a House seat, this is just a crazy number of people.”

So far, 12 Republicans have officially entered the race to replace Nunnelee, who died of cancer in February. In addition to the confirmed candidates, another half-dozen are rumored to be considering entering the race before the qualifying deadline on Friday....


...Republicans want to avoid a repeat of the nastiest and most divisive contest of 2014, in which incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran narrowly defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite, in a primary marred by legal challenges, racial accusations, spousal spying and even a suicide. McDaniel famously refused to concede to Cochran and blamed crossover Democratic voting for the runoff upset.

Now, the Tea Party favorite might try to wield his influence in the special election. Earlier this year, McDaniel launched the United Conservatives Fund (UCF), a super-PAC, to aid social and fiscal conservatives in the Magnolia State.

The group has been interviewing candidates and is in the process of deciding whether it will back a candidate.

“We want to find a principled conservative champion who will fight for conservative beliefs,” McDaniel told The Hill.

But while the huge group of contenders might seem primed for a bruising repeat of 2014, Republicans in the state seem at peace, believing that a candidate with cross-party appeal and solid conservative bona fides will emerge from the field of accomplished public officials and businessmen and women in the race.





The Hill
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:45 am

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RELEASE:


Palazzo Supports Balanced Budget

Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) released the following statement today after the House passed H.R. 1527, a Balanced Budget for a Stronger America:

“Today the House passed a balanced budget. This is something the president has never done, despite the fact that our country is $18 trillion dollars in debt and growing. It’s hard-working Americans that are bearing the effects of the federal government’s out of control spending problem and we can’t continue down this detrimental path.

“The budget we passed today proves that we can make robust, responsible spending cuts, while creating jobs and providing for the common defense of our nation. It’s time for the federal government to live within its means. If the president won’t balance the books, then we will.”

H.R. 1527 balances the budget in less than ten years and cuts $5.5 trillion in spending. It also calls for the full repeal of Obamacare and promotes patient-centered healthcare solutions. The bill gives more authority and flexibility to the states on a number of programs including education. H.R. 1527 also restores defense funding to ensure our men and women in uniform always have the tools and resources they need to do their job.


3/25/15




Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:38 am

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AG Jim Hood may take lead in Hancock DHS investigation, officials say


HANCOCK COUNTY -- Attorney General Jim Hood could take over the Hancock County Sheriff's Office's investigation into allegations of forged or falsified documents used in Department of Human Services child-custody cases, a notion that doesn't sit well with county officials.

The probe into Hancock County DHS has led to recent discussions between Hood and prosecutors from the 2nd Circuit District Attorney's Office that focused on the attorney general taking over the lead, officials said. A meeting on the matter is expected next week.

Officials allege DHS employees used forged or falsified documents in child-custody cases, some of which resulted in children taken from parents and placed in homes as far away as Michigan.



Sunherald
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:35 am

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Senate OK sought for revamped cosmetology board


Three new members have been appointed to the beleaguered state Board of Cosmetology, and the executive director has resigned.

Only two current members will remain on the board. They are Dot Ennis of Summit and Waylon Garrett of Pearl.

The three new members of the five-member board, if confirmed by the state Senate, will be Glenda Honeycutt of Aberdeen, Bertha “Bert” Johnson of Jackson and Darlene Smith of Grenada.

On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee recommended the reappointment of Ennis and the confirmation of the three new members. Garrett already had been recommended for reappointment. All five nominations must go before the Public Health and Welfare Committee and if approved would then go to the full Senate. Their terms would begin Sunday and go to March 28, 2019.



Clarion Ledger
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:32 am

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University of Mississippi Chancellor's Firing Breeds Anger, Questions


Students and faculty held a rally Wednesday outside the school's oldest building, and police estimated that more than 2,500 people attended....


...Now, legislation has been introduced that would dissolve the board and have individual governing bodies for each school in the state.

The one faction that seems happy with Jones' firing is made up of those who want the school to reinstate traditions that have been phased out in an effort to promote inclusion. From the outside, the changes the university has undergone in the last few years may look small. After all, the school still has academic buildings named after white supremacists. But it no longer has a street called Confederate Drive. Students no longer chant "the South will rise again." Its mascot is no longer Colonel Reb. And Confederate flags no longer fly at football games. Some fear that Jones’s departure could reverse those hard-won changes, some of which—the street name and the chant—happened under Jones.

The Facebook group for the Colonel Reb Foundation, which wants the school to bring back its defunct Confederate mascot, had a long list of celebratory comments on a post about Jones’s firing. Howie Morgan, the foundation’s co-founder, told the student-run radio station in a statement that Jones “felt that whatever he thought was right and didn’t want to listen to dissenting opinions” and that the IHL may have wanted “more congenial leadership at Ole Miss.”


Bloomberg
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:27 am

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Mississippi treasurer has millions of unclaimed dollars awaiting residents


State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has millions of dollars in unclaimed property and is trying to find who it belongs to in Mississippi.

The week of April 12, the Sun Herald will publish the list of people who are owed money. Fitch said the money comes from insurance companies who can't find beneficiaries, utility companies who want to return deposits, banks that have proceeds from closed accounts and other businesses and government agencies that have money for residents.

"By law, they have to turn it over to the Treasury Department after five years," she said. Fitch, who became the state treasurer three years ago, said, "Since I've been in office I've returned over $38 million."



Sunherald
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:23 am

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Black leaders say Bryant appointments lack diversity


The state Legislative Black Caucus and Coalition on Black Higher Education are criticizing Gov. Phil Bryant's appointments to the state College Board saying they lack diversity and representation of historically black universities.

The groups, including alumni association leaders, plan a Thursday press conference at the Capitol to address their concerns.

Black Caucus Chairman Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, in a statement said "the governor has lacked diversity in his appointments of minorities, including women."

Bryant has appointed four members to the 12-member College Board, and has four appointments pending who will start in May. Those eight include one woman and two African Americans, none graduates of Mississippi's historically black public universities.


Clarion Ledger
3/25/15

Posted March 26, 2015 - 5:17 am

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RELEASE:


STATE REVENUE ESTIMATE RISES

Public schools will see 73 percent of revenue growth

JACKSON – Public schools will see most of the anticipated revenue growth as legislators expect to collect $157 million more in recurring funds over the current budget, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said today.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee raised the revenue estimate for the next budget year after economic trends showed slight growth. The new revenue estimate will be used this weekend as legislators finalize a $6 billion state general fund budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“Of the $157 million in anticipated recurring revenue growth, K-12 public schools will see 73 percent of those funds,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Fortunately, the Legislature made education a priority and approved record funding for public schools last week. I expect the lion’s share of the remaining revenue growth to go toward universities and community colleges.”

Public education funding will be $2.52 billion in Fiscal Year 2016, which is $110 million more than educators spent this year. Over the past four years, education funding has increased by $285 million in programs that directly impact classrooms. The Legislature has increased support for teacher pay raises, reading coaches, prekindergarten, National Board Certified Teachers, teacher supply funds, school safety programs and vocational education.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee also raised revenue expectations for the current budget year by $101.6 million. Much of those funds will be spent on an almost $100 million Medicaid deficit.




3/25/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 4:43 pm

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Trial of blogger charged in Cochran photo case delayed

The trial of a Pearl political blogger who made national news for photographing U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home room last year has been delayed at his request.

Clayton Kelly's trial in Madison County Circuit Court had been scheduled to begin Monday.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said Tuesday night that the trial has been rescheduled for June 8, Guest said the trial was continued at Kelly's request.


Clarion Ledger
3/25/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 12:46 pm

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Senators Call for Reauthorization of Appalachian Regional Commission
Bipartisan Effort Underway to Renew ARC, Improve Rural Broadband Service

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., today introduced legislation to reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The legislation, S. 863, would authorize $100 million annually over the next five years, including $10 million a year to improve rural broadband services.

“Over the past 50 years, ARC has made critical, job-creating investments in many parts of Mississippi, from our highways and industrial development to tourism and health care,” Sen. Wicker said. “This proposal would ensure that the agency can continue to fulfill its mandate while also providing additional resources for expanding access to broadband. Improvements to high-speed Internet would have an enormous impact on economic development throughout Appalachia. I am hopeful that this bipartisan measure will receive prompt consideration by the Senate.”

“ARC grants have made a real difference in the lives of rural Marylanders by connecting communities and training workers to be more competitive for today’s global economy,” said Sen. Cardin. “We need to ensure that the Appalachian Regional Commission continues to make needed investments in infrastructure and be a true partner in expanding opportunities across this important region.”
“As the only state that is entirely within the Appalachian region, West Virginia has benefitted from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s development assistance in rural areas,” said Sen. Capito. “This reauthorization bill will continue the commission for five years and establish a new High-Speed Broadband Development Initiative that will help improve broadband service in West Virginia. In order to capitalize on all the potential opportunities that broadband can offer rural America, including economic growth, we must first ensure that these communities have access to the services they need.”

“The Appalachian Regional Commission has made numerous investments in Upstate New York’s economy that have strengthened our communities and helped businesses throughout the state grow and create new jobs,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “This bill enables the commission to continue its critical economic investments for five years and provides additional funding to improve rural broadband services so that business have the resources they need to compete in the global economy, expand and create new jobs.“

Background

ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local governments. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the President. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.

ARC funds projects that would:

• Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation;
• Strengthen the capacity of the people of Appalachia to compete in the global economy;
• Develop and improve Appalachia's infrastructure to make the region economically competitive; and
• Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia's isolation.

Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.

US Senator Roger Wicker Press Release
3/25/15


Posted March 25, 2015 - 12:43 pm

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1st District election voter deadlines set

Candidates will run together in a nonpartisan election, and the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff if no one obtains a majority vote. The runoff is slated for June 2.

Voter deadlines include:

• The deadline to register to vote in the May 12 special election is Saturday, April 11. Voter registration applications must be postmarked by April 11 for the voter to cast a ballot in the special election.

• Absentee voting begins Saturday.

• Circuit clerk’s offices will be open until noon on Saturday, May 2 and 9 for in-person absentee voting. The last day to absentee vote in person at the circuit clerk’s office is Saturday, May 9.



NEMS Daily Journal
3/25/15







Posted March 25, 2015 - 9:23 am

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UMMC officials push back against College Board


University of Mississippi Medical Center officials on Tuesday defended it from criticism by state College Board officials, who cited problems with UMMC in their decision not to renew the contract of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones.

"I'm proud of the medical center," said Dr. James Keeton, the former vice chancellor. "We're very transparent about what we do."

UMMC informs the board as well as the legislative and executive branches, he said....


...In a letter Tuesday, all 22 chairs at UMMC's medical school called on the state College Board to reverse its decision, saying the medical center is "in very strong financial shape and reinvests all of its excess revenue in improving the health of the citizens of Mississippi."


Clarion Ledger
3/24/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 9:15 am

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Legislators' education alternative challenged in court


An Oxford school patron is asking a Hinds County judge to remove from the November ballot an alternative proposed by the Legislature to a citizen-sponsored education funding initiative.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in circuit court by Adrian Shipman of Oxford, a mother of two in the Oxford School District.

Shipman argues in court documents that the language recently approved by the attorney general's office is not a true reflection of legislative intent.

Shipman argues the legislative alternative "creates significant risks of confusing the electorate."


Clarion Ledger
3/25/15


Posted March 25, 2015 - 9:11 am

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SUN HERALD | Editorial: Legislators' commitment to constituents is crumbling



Indeed, the 90-day legislative session itself is scheduled to end April 5.

If that date passes with no comprehensive reform of the operation of public hospitals being passed, then those who opposed or abandoned this effort should not be given another opportunity to betray their constituents.

If lawmakers will not vote to safeguard the public and public revenue, then their constituents should not vote for them.

This tired old game of spreading the blame between the different chambers of the Legislature must no longer be permitted to dupe the public.




Sunherald
3/25/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 8:42 am

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RELEASE:

Palazzo Appointed to Three Appropriations Subcommittees


Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) today was appointed to the House Appropriations subcommittees on Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Legislative Branch. Congressman Palazzo released the following statement regarding the announcement:

“With our nation’s debt at $18 trillion and growing, there is no better place in Congress to cut spending responsibly while protecting our men and women in uniform than the House Appropriations Committee. These subcommittees are not only extremely important to the State of Mississippi, but they are important to our nation as well.”


3/25/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 7:36 am

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Keeping You Safe: Trooper School to Graduate 49 Thursday

PEARL, Miss.–The Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper school will turn out 49 new state troopers Thursday in a graduation exercise at the Hinds Community College Pearl campus. The school, which cost the state $7 million, was approved last year after legislators addressed a critical shortage in patrolmen and women.


NewsMS
3/25/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 5:12 am

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Has Union Become a Two-Party County?

A record number of candidates in 2015’s Union County elections have filed to run as Republicans.

Seventeen of the 54 candidates (over 30 percent ) seeking Union County offices this year are flying the GOP flag. However, it is hard to find a single candidate, Democrat or Republican, who is flying either party’s banner very high or with any pride. Seven of this year’s 17 Republican candidates addressed the Union County Republican Executive Committee Thursday night, March 19, but only one declared himself a devoted Republican. Most made it a point to say there were “some things” (but none specified) they did not like about the National Republican Party.

The national Democratic party fares no better. Most Democratic candidates for local offices in Mississippi are quick to deny any admiration for President Barak Obama and to disavow any loyalty to the perceived principles of the national Democratic party. Many candidly admit they run as Democrats only because Mississippians still tend to vote for Democrats in local elections, a practice apparently driven more by habit than belief.


NANewsWeb
3/20/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 5:05 am

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Senator Proposes Separate Boards for Each College




Republican Sen. Gray Tollison of Oxford took steps Tuesday to introduce a bill that would create individual boards of trustees for each of the eight universities, with the power to hire and fire presidents. The current 12-member College Board would retain a coordinating role.

Tollison acknowledges the proposal is unlikely to pass with only a few days left in the legislative session, but says he wants to spark discussion. The move comes as critics of the Jones decision continue to speak in his support.



WTOK
3/24/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 4:59 am

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Governor Bryant says he will sign inspection sticker bill


Governor Phil Bryant said the $5 sticker in the state will soon be eliminated. He said the bill is making its way to his desk, but once it gets there he will sign it into law.

“It's not something that I champion, I understand the will of the legislature to do away with it,” said Governor Bryant. “I am concerned that there are some other automobiles, older ones in particular, and I hope we find a way in the future to be able to determine what automobiles are safe and which ones are not to be on the road again, but a $5 sticker is probably not the best way to do it.”



WDAM
3/24/15

Posted March 25, 2015 - 4:53 am

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RELEASE:


Tyner cites party unity in withdrawing from PSC Race.


Jackson, MS

Yesterday, candidate Mitch Tyner, sent a request to Republican Chairman Joe Nosef requesting that his name be removed from consideration in the upcoming Republican primary for Public Service Commissioner.

Tyner had been approached to enter the race last fall when it appeared that Republican Commissioner Lynn Posey might not seek reelection. Democrat Cecil Brown entered the race last year and Tyner’s supporters did not want to see this seat controlled by the democrats.

Only two days before the qualifying deadline, Republican Supervisor Tony Greer withdrew his re-election bid for Hinds County Supervisor and qualified to run for the Public Service Commission. Rather than divide the Republican Party and put this seat at risk to the Democrats, Tyner has elected to withdraw from the race.

Tyner said; “Last year the party had a very divisive U.S. Senate race. The party cannot remain divided and continue to win elections, especially in districts so evenly split like Mississippi’s Central District. I’ve known Tony Greer since college. He has served several terms as a Clinton alderman as well as the unexpired term of Mayor Fisher’s supervisor seat. I want to do my part in restoring party unity and electing good conservative candidates.”

Addressing rumors that Haley Barbour played a role in Tyner’s decision, Tyner states; “Governor Barbour and I did not discuss the PSC race but we have both expressed an interest in party unity all the way down the ticket.”


3/24/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 6:48 pm

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Bless your hearts and hide your crazy
The Dan Jones Affair
by Alan Lange
I really try to stay away from commenting on things that aren’t pretty purely political in nature, but this Dan Jones thing has gotten to that point . . . for, it seems, the wrong reasons.

Lots has been made over the weekend about the College Board’s dismissal of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones. Since I’m not an Ole Miss graduate, I would say that I’m just an interested observer, but don’t really have a stake in the discussion. I don’t know Dan Jones, but he certainly didn’t leave me with the impression that he was doing a bad job.

But if there’s a good crisis in Mississippi, you can bet there will be shrill conspiracy theories to try and take advantage of it if for no other reason to curry attention or pity.

First, let’s state the obvious. From a PR perspective, IHL mangled this deal with Jones badly. Committees of appointees can act that way sometimes. A Friday night announcement with no real set up or rationale offered added to ultimately a justification that just doesn’t pass the public smell test. I’m not saying that IHL wasn’t justified. I am saying that there doesn’t appear to be anything in the public at this point that would appear that they were. They just haven't made a coherent case.

Shortly after, Ole Miss stalwarts like Jim Barksdale, Robert Khayat, John Grisham and Archie Manning piled on. Usually, for an institutional-changing decision, those are the sorts of people you want to touch prior to a move like this. You also have 8-figure donors talking about holding gifts if Jones is not reinstated. If all of them are mad about something, you can bet they’ll move the needle.

But then, the crazies started coming out thinking that they could land political points laying this decision on Republicans. In so doing, they run the real risk of turning the tide on what seems to be a wave of public support for Jones.

David Dallas at the Mississippi (non-profit) Business Journal came out with his own “fit-to-be-on-Xanax” take.


Democrats now hope Ole Miss alums and grads will take their anger over Dr. Dan’s dismissal out on the state’s Republican leadership.

Don’t bet on it, lofty-minded liberals. There are a whole host of Ole Miss fans and Bryant supporters who also hate “Obamacare.” Most of them never attended Ole Miss but yet they love her dearly. These loyal fans and voters love her for the old south traditions she has long promoted, like singing “Dixie,” waving the Rebel Flag, walking into buildings named for white supremacists… celebrating things like good manners, buckwheat cakes, and the virtues of the old plantation system.

Those folks are happy to see Obama-lover Dan Jones out. They eagerly wait for some Confederate-Hat-Wearing, “Backwards Rebel” to take the reigns of their dear Ole Miss. For them, the IHL decision is an answered prayer.


Talk about overreaching . . .

Not to be outdone, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove donned extra strength Reynolds Wrap for his tinfoil hat conspiracy, partially constructed by Cottonmouther and paid attack dog Ryan Brown, that ran in Huffington Post. In it, Ronnie/Ryan apparently lay the hands of the Jones decision at the feet of a vast Haley Barbour/Butler Snow conspiracy. No, I’m not kidding.

Dan Jones was standing at the gates of a gold mine, but he wasn't a Butler Snow man. He wasn't a Barbour or Bryant man. He was just a man who cared deeply about his state, felt passionately about education, and wanted to see his alma mater develop into a world-class institution. Or as he put it, he just "wanted to do the right thing."

And for the Bryants and the Barbours and Butler Snow, caring more about the future of your state than the firm's profits was absolutely unacceptable. So late on a Friday Afternoon, with everyone focused on NCAA's March Madness, the Members of the Board of Higher Learning - all appointed by Barbour and Bryant - let Jones go.


Keeping in mind that Barbour politically beclowned Musgrove in 2003, it seems that he’s still not emotionally over that whoopin. But for Musgrove to be casting stones at Barbour for big money lawyerin’ is beyond hypocritical, even for Musgrove. Musgrove has channeled millions to his law firm via lucrative special litigation deals with the Mississippi Attorney General. At least he can salve his ego with millions of trial lawyer dollars.

Bless their hearts, if the goal is to get Dan Jones reinstated, which by the way there seems to be at least some bipartisan public sentiment to do, the worst thing that someone can do is to make it an elephants vs. donkeys issue (as there are more elephants than donkeys). As Mississippi Democrats, even though their natural instincts are to forcefully seize defeat from the jaws of victory, they really seem to be intent to overdo it in this instance. Keep in mind that the one most forcefully advocating for Jones' ouster at this point is IHL Board Member, Jackson attorney Alan Perry (coincidentally not from the Butler Snow law firm), who is far from a fire-breathing Republican partisan.

Boys, just hide your crazy (just for a little while) and let this thing play out. It'll work out better for you I promise.

Posted March 24, 2015 - 4:33 pm

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Ronnie Musgrove
Former governor of Mississippi and Chairman of the Southern Progress Fund


Something Rotten in Oxford (Mississippi)



What do they have to do with Jones? Nothing. That's the problem, if you're Dan Jones.

Major state universities are more than just big football weekends, quirky traditions, Greek system public relations nightmares, and incubators for a states 'best and brightest.' They are huge revenue generators.

Hundreds of millions - if not billions - flow through their hallowed halls in legal fees for health care contracts, research grants, bond issuances, buildings contracting, the list is too long to count. Even in a poor state that chronically underfunds education, we're talking a mountain of untapped billable hours for a firm like Butler Snow.

Dan Jones was standing at the gates of a gold mine, but he wasn't a Butler Snow man. He wasn't a Barbour or Bryant man. He was just a man who cared deeply about his state, felt passionately about education, and wanted to see his alma mater develop into a world-class institution. Or as he put it, he just "wanted to do the right thing."

And for the Bryants and the Barbours and Butler Snow, caring more about the future of your state than the firm's profits was absolutely unacceptable. So late on a Friday Afternoon, with everyone focused on NCAA's March Madness, the Members of the Board of Higher Learning - all appointed by Barbour and Bryant - let Jones go....



....Ryan Brown, a regular contributor to the CottonMouthBlog, contributed to the writing of this column.


Huffington Post
3/24/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 11:15 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: Surely Republicans will pass some tax cut

If Republicans’ main goal was to gain political advantage over Democrats in this year’s elections by forcing them to oppose tax cuts, they have succeeded.

However, if Republicans’ main goal was to show they can govern conservatively and pass tax cuts, they have failed. There is little doubt that some mix of business and individual tax cuts could pass both chambers.

So, if and when the House allows the Senate compromise to officially die, it will be time for Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special session in the midst of the regular session (he can do this) to pass a tax cut. As the only GOP leader to have exhibited prudence and restraint on the issue, he is well positioned to forge a compromise the Legislature will pass and the state can afford.

Surely, Republicans know they need to pass some sort of tax cut.


MBJ
3/22/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 11:01 am

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Legislature mulls dissolution of College Board


A legislative proposal to break up the College Board amid anger over the group's ousting of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones hit the Senate floor Tuesday but needs two-thirds vote to pass.

State Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, introduced the measure in a pair of resolutions modeled after previous legislation that had died in 2009.

Already enjoying the support of 38 lawmakers, the proposal would require each university to have its own board of trustees and turn the current College Board into a "board of governors" still responsible for statewide oversight but no longer in control of individual university decisions.


Clarion Ledger
3/24/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 10:56 am

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Committee Chairman Says Contract Bill Watered Down


Rep. Jerry Turner of Baldwyn is chairman of the House Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee. He said Monday that the Senate watered down House Bill 825 by removing provisions that would have prevented large contracts from being broken into smaller pieces to avoid scrutiny.

The Senate also removed requirements that public officials file annual ethics reports disclosing gifts from people who are not relatives or friends.


WTOK
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:27 am

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Jones Says He Would Like to Stay at Ole Miss


University of Mississippi. He maintains that he doesn’t want to retire or resign.

"The board has said that there's no pathway to renewal of my contract," said Jones. "I'd love to have opportunity to continue as chancellor.”

The #I Stand with Dan and a change.org petition are all aimed at getting the board to reverse its decision. Jones had this to say about that push.

"I shouldn't be the chief cheerleader. I shouldn't be the drum major for the parade. But I believe my role should be to be open to continue discussions with the board,” Jones said.


WTOK
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:23 am

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Gov. Bryant signs bill banning texting while driving

Mississippi has become the 45th state to ban texting while driving. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law this past week.


WLOX
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:21 am

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Mississippi negotiators have less than a week on hospital transparency bill


The deadline for the conference report on that bill is Saturday, said Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, the bill's primary author.

The bill, which would subject public hospitals to open meetings and open records laws, passed the Senate unanimously but was changed in the House. First, the bill was amended to apply only to Singing River Health System in Jackson County. That was changed on the House floor but the bill was further amended, essentially replacing the Senate bill with one written by Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs.

That bill would expand the reasons for public hospital boards to go into executive session and would keep physician contracts from the public, Wiggins said. He said his bill would make physician contracts public records once they were executed.

Wiggins said he expects Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to appoint him and Sen. Nancy Adams Collins, the chairwoman of the Accountability, Transparency and Efficiency Committee, to negotiate for the Senate.



Sunherald
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:16 am

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Gov. Bryant announces $20M grant to help SNAP recipients find jobs, get education


JACKSON, Miss. - From food stamps to the workforce, Governor Phil Bryant announces a $20 million grant for a workforce training program for SNAP recipients.

More than 3,000 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance recipients will be randomly selected for the pilot program. They'll get assistance to attend a community college or junior college in order to get their degree.


WJTV
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:11 am

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WEEK 9 - MARCH 20 | @ISSUE | MPB (VIDEO)

Austin Barbour and Brandon C. Jones are back this week for a roundtable discussion on tax cuts.


MPB
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 5:08 am

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Manning: College Board should reconsider Jones contract



Manning released the following statement:

As a lifelong Ole Miss Rebel it has pained me to witness the events of the past week concerning our Chancellor and the IHL. Let there be no misunderstanding about where we stand: my family and I are big supporters of Chancellor Dan Jones and feel he has done an outstanding job leading our university. The national reputation of Ole Miss has never been better. Our athletic teams are winning at unprecedented levels. Our enrollment is booming and the academic quality of entering freshmen has never been so impressive. In virtually every measurable category we are succeeding.



Clarion Ledger
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 4:57 am

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College Board firm on firing Ole Miss chancellor


JACKSON – Members of Mississippi's College Board met Monday and said they aren't backing down from a decision to seek a new chancellor for the University of Mississippi, despite rising criticism of the move.

Board members, commenting publicly after an executive session lasting more than an hour, said Dan Jones never resolved problems with contract and financial management at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The members said the board had pushed repeatedly for a resolution of those problems without success over the years.

"This led to our conclusion that the only practical way to deal with this … was to make a change in the institutional head," said Alan Perry, the board's incoming president....


...Anthony Papa, president of the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, said Monday that the foundation will retract the $20 million it's promised for a new science building at Ole Miss unless the College Board retains Jones.

"For them to treat him this way, I just think it's a dirty trick," Papa said.

Papa said he wasn't coordinating his opposition with other donors, but wants to. "The large donors need to get together and discuss this and see what we can do about it," he said.

Barksdale said he wasn't sure if he would withhold his money, because it could hurt students who benefit from scholarships.


Hattiesburg American
3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 4:50 am

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RELEASE:


Gov. Bryant and Chairman Nosef Address Minority GOP Group

on Mar 23, 2015

Earlier today in Jackson, Gov. Phil Bryant and MSGOP Chairman Joe Nosef joined Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney in addressing the spring policy meeting of E3 Vanguard, a group founded in 2013 by black Mississippians to grow the Republican Party by strategic outreach to the African American and other minority communities.



E3, which stands for “educate, enhance, and empower,” hosts annual public policy briefings, education programs, and lectures and symposiums, among other things, to raise awareness of Republican solutions to the concerns of Mississippi minority groups.

For more information about E3 Vanguard, please visit http://www.E3vanguard.org.


Members of E3 Vanguard and other minority Republicans in Mississippi recognize that the Republican Party of today–as seen first-hand in Mississippi under Gov. Bryant– is the Party standing up for children who deserve access to quality education, expanding economic opportunity in places where it’s lacking, and working to protect religious beliefs and family values under attack by liberal Democrats.

The rise of minority Republicans in Mississippi is a trend that is good for the Republican Party and also for our state and country as these individuals work to promote genuine freedom and opportunity for all.

3/23/15

Posted March 24, 2015 - 4:47 am

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Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones' contract not renewed


Jones' contract concludes Sept. 14, and Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Borsig said the board has voted to direct him "to begin appropriate preparations to conduct a search process for the next Chancellor of the University of Mississippi in accordance with the board's policy."

Jones has had disagreements with the board a few years. "I wanted to serve another four years," he said. "I am not retiring."

The board wanted to appoint the vice chancellor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, rather than letting Jones appoint that person. "The policy in the statute calls for the chancellor to make the selection and the board to affirm," he said.

He said another point of contention was he felt the University of Mississippi deserved more money from the Institutions of Higher Learning because of its increased numbers of students while some universities were declining, he said...



...Bryant said in a statement that Jones "served Ole Miss honorably as both chancellor of the university and as vice chancellor of health affairs for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I wish him the best in his future personal and professional endeavors." Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb said in a subsequent phone interview any notion that Bryant orchestrated the process was "ridiculous. The governor only has four appointees on the College Board, so that makes it impossible mathematically. We don't even know how those appointees voted."



Clarion ledger
3/21/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 6:49 am

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Hall: College board acted cowardly in Dan Jones matter


The leadership of the state College Board who made the decision essentially to fire University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones acted in a cowardly manner with their handling of this decision.

They did not publicly announce their decision.

They refused to talk to the media when contacted, though most of them wouldn't even answer phone calls, emails or text messages.

And they waited until 6:40 p.m. on a Friday to even issue a statement acknowledging Jones' contract had not been renewed.

Cowardly, indeed.



Clarion Ledger
3/22/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 6:44 am

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SUN HERALD | Editorial: Supervisors spread sunshine on Jackson County government



In fact, we learned the supervisors appropriated $500,000 in the fall to help pay for the process, which may cost $1 million by the time it is fully operational in 2016.

But it should be money well spent.

Not only will the public and those who do business with the county have more access to public records, those records will be quicker to access and easier to navigate.

We commend the supervisors for this investment in transparency.



Sunherald
3/21/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:41 am

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MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


WLBT
3/22/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:35 am

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WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


WLOX
3/22/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:27 am

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Sen. Wicker on mission to retain Republican majority


One of Wicker's challenges is how to raise money without knowing which GOP incumbents will ultimately decide to run for the White House. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas all are likely to run.

Wicker, serving his second term, represented Mississippi's 1st Congressional District in the House from 1995 to 2007. A social and fiscal conservative, he has opposed the Obama administration on issues ranging from foreign policy to health care.

Wicker's conservative credentials could play well with some donors, said Stephen Rozman, a political scientist at Tougaloo College.

"He'll be in tune with the Tea Party people,'' said Rozman. There are some "'powerful forces'' willing to "put a lot of money into conservative causes,'' he said.

Rozman said the Republican Party next year likely will focus more on economic issues than social issues and will work to raise money from Wall Street.

"Wicker can play that game, certainly,'' Rozman said.

Senate Democrats, however, may have a slight advantage next year, with Republicans defending 24 of the 34 seats in play.



USAToday
3/20/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:13 am

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

WDAM / WLOX
3/21/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:09 am

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3/22/15

Posted March 23, 2015 - 5:07 am

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WTOK
3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 5:27 am

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Man arrested in Cochran photo scandal files motion to continue trial


JACKSON, Miss. - A man arrested in connection with the Cochran photo scandal has filed a motion to continue his trial.

District Attorney Michael Guest said Judge Champion will hear Clayton Kelly's motion on Monday.

Kelly is accused of walking into Rose Cochran's nursing home room at St. Catherine's Village in Madison last May and took pictures of her.





WJTV
3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 5:00 am

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RELEASE:


Mississippi House of Representatives Weekly Summary

Week of March 16, 2015

House members passed a variety of bills this week in advance of the approaching final deadlines of the 2015 Legislative Session. Most of the bills were before the House for concurrence or non-concurrence. If the House voted to concur or agree with Senate amendments, the bill was sent directly to Governor Bryant to sign into law. However if the decision was not to concur but to invite conference, the bill is sent to a conference committee of three members each from the House and Senate.
Monday and Tuesday, House members addressed and passed 53 Appropriation bills from the Senate to meet the 8 p.m. deadline Tuesday. At the beginning of the Session, the chairmen from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees meet to divide the 106 Appropriation and Revenue bills. The House takes 53, and the Senate takes 53. Once each chamber votes on the measures, they go to the other chamber for approval. All bills must pass both chambers in identical form before they can be signed into law by the Governor.
The deadline to file conference reports on Appropriation and Revenue bills falls on Saturday, March 28. In addition to language differences between the House and Senate versions of FY2016 appropriations, members are also working with an $82.5 million state support funding difference as they finalize FY2015 and prepare FY2016 deficits. Next week, conferees will come to an agreement and file reports by Saturday night, March 28. House members will then take those bills up starting Sunday afternoon, March 29. On Monday, March 30, members will have to adopt all conference reports filed. These decisions affect how much each state agency will receive in state funds.
On the House floor, members addressed and passed Senate Bill 2762 (SB2762) by a unanimous vote. This legislation allows out-of-state utility companies to aid with disaster repair and forego completion of Mississippi income tax and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Companies that stay in Mississippi less than 120 days assisting with disaster recovery would qualify for this exemption. The bill heads to Governor Bryant.
Some of the bills to which the House concurred with Senate changes include:
--House Bill 885 (HB885) requires insurance coverage for autism.
--House Bill 982 (HB982) eliminates the vehicle inspection sticker.
--The House attempted to concur with Senate changes to House Bill 1629 (HB1629), the phase-out of the income tax for individuals, but needed a 3/5 vote to pass, or 72 votes. Efforts to concur with the Senate changes to HB1629 failed by a vote of 67-52. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider.
Proponents of the bill supported concurring with this measure as a compromise between the House and Senate on a viable tax cut for individuals and business. They argued that passing this legislation would eliminate the three and four percent income tax brackets, resulting in a flat five percent income tax bracket for all Mississippians through a phase-out; eliminate the investment penalty on businesses through a 10-year phase-out of the corporate franchise tax and permit a 50 percent deduction of self-employment taxes for small business owners.
In a study conducted by Mississippi State University, researchers found that over a 10-year period of the elimination of the franchise tax, the state could have experienced an increase in GDP by $282 million and an increase in job creation by 3,514 jobs.

As a result of the Senate removing the trigger language in the original House bill, opponents said that the tax cuts could still go into effect regardless of Mississippi’s economic situation. They also maintained that by sending this bill to conference, instead of voting to concur, the conferees could then add the triggers back into the legislation. The Ways and Means Chairman explained this was not possible due to the way the Senate amended the bill. Opponents further expressed concerns about how the $555 million tax cut (over 15 years) would affect K-12, Institutions of Higher Learner (IHL), community colleges, roads, healthcare, the amount of money Mississippi receives from the federal government and the potential of a sales tax increase.

For those bills going to conference, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor each assign conferees from their respective Chambers who will work together to reach an agreement on the language of the bills. Once the conference committee members agree on the language, the bills are taken back to each chamber and voted to either pass or recommit the report for further conference.
A few of the bills House members sent to conference this week include:
--House Bill 836 (HB836) requires state agencies to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
--House Bill 952 (HB952) prohibits higher copayments for patient-administered anti-cancer medications.
Visitors to the Capitol this week included Bilox-native, Astronaut Fred Haise and Greenwood-native and 11th CEO of the United Parcel Service (UPS) David Abney.


3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 4:57 am

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Gov. Phil Bryant to be Honored with Distinguished Citizen Award


Governor Phil Bryant will be honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Pine Burr Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. The event will take place on Monday March 23rd, 2015, at 7 p.m., at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The award is presented by the local Boy Scout Council to an individual who has made a significant impact in the community, has excelled as a community leader, or is an alumni of scouting that has accomplished significant achievements in their civic or professional field. Past recipients include Warren Hood, Jr., Dave Dennis, Jerry O’Keefe, Bill Oliver, Carl Nicholson, Paul McMullan, Congressman Gene Taylor, Bishop Joseph Howze, and Bobby Lee Chain.


WXXV
3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 4:53 am

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Bill to eliminate vehicle inspection stickers sent to governor


JACKSON, Mississippi -- A bill which would eliminate vehicle inspection stickers in Mississippi has been overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives and is on its way to Gov. Phil Bryant's desk to be signed into law.


Gulflive
3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 4:50 am

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Salter: Is Native American marijuana new tribal gaming?


In California, a $10 million medical marijuana operation is being built on the tribal lands of the Pomo Nation. Now back to Mississippi. There is an active voter initiative drive underway in Mississippi to legalize marijuana in the form of Initiative 48.

The political viability of the pro-marijuana initiative is sketchy at best here in Mississippi – the veritable gold buckle of the Bible Belt. Should the petition drive succeed and the referendum actually be placed on the ballot, Mississippians would witness essentially the world's largest local option election with the state's churches on one side and the would-be pot sellers and consumers on the other.

But the little known Justice Department decision that empowers Native Americans to get in the pot business does make the possibilities interesting – especially when one takes a little trip down memory lane on the issue of casino gaming in Mississippi.

Mississippi Choctaws have said not a word about the recent federal ruling. But as Fordice and Barbour learned, there are at times two sets of rules when it comes to sovereign tribal nations.


Clarion Ledger
3/19/15

Posted March 20, 2015 - 4:42 am

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RELEASE:


Tupelo dentist announces Congressional Candidacy

Vows to bring a common sense, citizen-friendly approach to government

TUPELO –Tupelo dentist and community leader Ed “Doc” Holliday announced his candidacy for Congressman of Mississippi’s First Congressional district yesterday at the Lee county courthouse in Tupelo.

In his remarks before a crowd of supporters and family members Holliday said “I am running because I can best articulate with passion and communicate in a North Mississippi fashion the conservative values that we hold dear”.

Holliday, a native of Tippah County, is the son of well-known Tippah County educators Troy and Mildred Holliday. Ed’s father, Troy is a former Tippah County Schools Superintendent.

Prior to entering the dental profession Holliday was active in community service. He was a high school 4-H Club leader and, in 1979, was one of only two students selected from Mississippi to the William Randolph Hearst U.S. Senate Youth Program.

“In Washington, I will represent North Mississippi’s values of sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms” Holliday said “I will also work to repeal and replace Obamacare, balance the budget and reduce our out-of-control debt and work to keep America safe and secure.” He said.

He has been a volunteer dentist for Lee County’s Good Samaritan Free Clinic since 1992, serving as the volunteer dental director for the free clinic for the past several years.

Dr. Holliday is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of dentistry.

Holliday and his wife, Leslie, have four children: Peyton (17), Edison (14), Graham (12), and Perrin (10). They are members of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo.

More information on Ed “Doc” Holliday can be found at http://www.DocHollidayforCongress.com


3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 11:21 am

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3/19/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 9:54 am

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BRIAN PERRY/A dozen sprint in the 1st


A week out from the March 27 qualifying deadline for the special election in Mississippi's First Congressional District and the ballot is already packed to replace the late Alan Nunnelee.

Nine candidates have already filed statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission:

Boyce Adams of Columbus, President of TheBiz software company; Sam Adcock of Starkville, Vice President of Airbus Helicopters; state Sen. Nancy Collins of Tupelo; Dr. Starner Jones of Pontotoc; District Attorney Trent Kelly of Saltillo; Itawamba County Prosecutor Michael "Chip" Mills, Jr. of Fulton; Tupelo attorney Greg Pirkle; Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert of Starkville; and former Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell of Oxford.

Another three candidates have announced campaigns: perennial Libertarian candidate Danny Bedwell of Columbus; former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross; and Oxford attorney Daniel Sparks.


Madison County Journal
3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 5:20 am

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SRHS: Public has no right to records about failing retirement plan



Singing River Health System refuses to release records that show how retirement plan funds have been invested, even though its own annual audit says the records are available to the public on request.

It is impossible to say how investments might have affected the retirement plan's health -- it is only about 48 percent funded, according to CEO Kevin Holland -- without access to plan financial statements.

The Sun Herald emailed a request March 9 to SRHS general counsel Celeste Oglesby and communications director Richard Lucas for retirement plan financial statements from 2006-2014, omitting the year 2010-2011 because the newspaper found that statement online....



...Oglesby took the full seven working days allowed under the state Public Records Act to respond to the Sun Herald's request.

Her written response said SRHS has "no legal obligation to release such information to the Sun Herald" because the public records law exempts the documents from disclosure.

She also said SRHS, which is owned by Jackson County, could not release the records because they are the subject of litigation.







Sunherald
3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 5:09 am

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RELEASE:


Mississippi Democrats Kill Tax Relief


Here they go again. Democrats in Mississippi are once again proving by killing tax relief intended for hard-working Mississippians that you can either be a conservative or a Democrat but you can't be both anymore.

Earlier today, House Democrats voted almost unanimously to kill the largest tax cut in state history. The $555 million tax relief plan would have, among other things: eliminated the 3 percent and 4 percent tax brackets levied on income, reduced the overall tax burden on small business owners, and removed the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital. Eliminating the franchise tax alone would have grown the state’s GDP by $282 million and added 3,514 jobs within 10 years, according to a Mississippi State University study.



3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 5:07 am

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Thompson seeks investigation into judge's conduct


Rep. Bennie Thompson said he wants an investigation into Hinds County Judge Jeff Weil's courtroom conduct.

Thompson is seeking the investigation after Weil kicked the lead public defender out of his courtroom Monday. He also found another public defender in contempt of court.


WAPT
3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 5:00 am

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Blanton: Mississippi Power gave state Supreme Court no legal basis to reverse refund


Hattiesburg oilman Tom Blanton calls the embattled Kemper County power plant a "dormant white elephant" in his latest move in a long-running chess match with Mississippi Power over its 2013 rate increase.

"There is no legal or factual basis for the Court to reverse its position and rule in Mississippi Power Company's favor," begins Blanton's response to a request that the Supreme Court reconsider a decision in Blaton's favor. "The majority and concurring opinions issued by the Court on February 12, 2015, are cogent, tightly considered opinions."

The state Supreme Court last month threw out the rate increase and ordered Mississippi Power to return to customers the $257 million it had received. Mississippi Power has said if the money were returned, it would be forced to go back to the state Public Service Commission and ask for a 40 percent increase. Both Mississippi Power and the PSC have asked the court to reconsider its decision.



SunHerald
3/18/15

Posted March 19, 2015 - 4:54 am

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RELEASE:


ADCOCK ANNOUNCES FOR CONGRESS

Serious times call for serious leadership in American security, border protection and job creation

Today at events scheduled in Columbus, Tupelo and Southaven, aerospace businessman Sam Adcock announced his campaign to represent the people of Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the upcoming special election.

“Serious times call for serious leadership and North Mississippi needs a congressman who will stand up and fight against President Obama’s reckless policies. By making decisions based on liberal politics rather than the reality of a dangerous and confrontational world, President Obama has put our interests and allies in jeopardy abroad, and left our border unsecured and vulnerable to those who wish to do us harm on our own soil,” said Adcock, who directed defense and security policy for then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Adcock continued, “While we have strong leadership in Mississippi, we’re also struggling against the financial insecurity of President Obama’s economic policies. We need more and better jobs in Mississippi. I know what government needs to do – and not do – to attract job creating industries. I led the effort to locate Airbus Helicopters in Columbus and now I want to do for all of North Mississippi what I did for Columbus.” Adcock resigned his position as Vice President of Airbus Helicopters in Columbus to focus on the campaign.

Adcock is a sixth-generation Mississippian with experience as a Department of Navy civilian employee managing shipbuilding and repair, Legislative Director for Senator Trent Lott, defense and security policy advisor to Lott as Majority Leader, and an executive with Daimler-Benz and its subsidiary now Airbus Helicopters. At Airbus Helicopters he oversaw the company’s Hurricane Katrina response which included flying in initial emergency relief, 22 tons of relief and recovery supplies, the establishment of an emergency field hospital and the delivery of 50,000 doses of tetanus.

Sam and his wife Carol have two sons: Austen, a freshman at Ole Miss; and Gray, a junior in high school.


3/18/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 9:30 am

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Biloxi special election for mayor is April 28


BILOXI -- The countdown clock officially started Tuesday when the City Council declared April 28 as the date of a special election to fill the remainder of former Mayor A.J. Holloway's term, which ends July 1, 2017.

Candidates must quality for the special election by 5 p.m. April 8. A runoff, if needed, will be May 12.



SunHerald
3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 8:21 am

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RELEASE:

MISS. SENATORS SAY H-2B VISA PROCESS NEEDS MORE CERTAINTY



Cochran, Wicker Pressured Administration to Restart Program Critical to Miss. Businesses Dependent on Temporary Nonimmigrant Labor



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today said industries in Mississippi that rely on temporary nonimmigrant workers have been ill-served by the Obama administration’s nearly two-week suspension of a critical visa program.



Cochran and Wicker on Tuesday agreed with action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) late Monday to resume the H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program, which had been abruptly stopped on March 5. Nevertheless, the Mississippi Senators remained critical of the administration’s handling of the H-2B program. They were part of a bipartisan group of 23 Senators that last week pressured the DOL and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restart the program, citing the hardships the interruption was already causing across the nation.



“Shrimpers, foresters, and other seasonal industries across Mississippi rely on the H-2B program to supplement their permanent workforce as they fight to protect American jobs by keeping their businesses open year-round,” Cochran said. “The irresponsible decision to stop the H-2B program sowed hardship and uncertainty, two things that make running a business more difficult. The administration must keep this program on an even keel.”



“The Labor Department has failed to fulfill its responsibilities, leaving many businesses and industries in limbo,” Wicker said. “Job creators need regulatory certainty to conduct business and prepare for current and future workforce needs. This particular worker visa program is imperative to our economy. The agency should resume the program without delay.”



Cochran and Wicker last week signed letters to Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that demanded a reversal of the decision to stop accepting or processing H-2B applications. The program was halted on March 5 after a U.S. District Court in Florida issued a March 4 decision in Perez v Perez that determined that the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, not DOL, has sole rulemaking authority over the H-2B program.



The Perez decision “did not require that DOL shut the H-2B program down,” said the letters initiated by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). “Our constituents need a government on their side. Every time there is a bureaucratic rule change or legal interpretation that harms their ability to operate their business, they lose another piece of their livelihood.”



The letters asked DHS, in collaboration with DOL, issue an immediate emergency rule that will result in the resumption of H-2B processing.



On March 17, DOL informed the lawmakers that it had filed an unopposed motion to stay the March 4 order and judgement in Perez v Perez, which will permit the resumption of the H-2B application process. The DOL also intends to work with DHS to issue and promulgate a joint Interim Final Rule by April 30 to address the court decision.



The H-2B program, administered by DOL and DHS, permits employers anticipating a labor shortage to bring nonimmigrant workers to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs in seafood processing, construction, forestry, hospitality, construction, and many other industries.



Economists estimate that for each H-2B worker, 4.64 American jobs are created and/or sustained. The H-2B Workforce Coalition estimates about 2,300 employers and 33,000 H-2B workers (representing all visas allocated for the second half of 2015) will be harmed as a result of the DOL and DHS program shutdown.


3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 5:28 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker to Vote ‘No’ on Lynch Nomination for Attorney General



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced that he will vote against Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be U.S. Attorney General.



“I cannot support an Attorney General nominee who is willing to engage in, or permit, discretionary enforcement of the law,” Wicker said. “I believe the White House’s politicization of the Justice Department under Eric Holder has eroded the integrity of the agency. Voting in favor of this nomination would be tantamount to an endorsement of the Administration’s strategy to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on political calculations.”


3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 5:21 am

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RELEASE:


Wicker, Booker Unveil ‘Innovation in Surface Transportation’ Plan

Bipartisan Measure Would Empower Local Leaders, Improve Grant Process



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., today reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would give local officials more control over the transportation planning process in their states and communities. The “Innovation in Surface Transportation Act,” is cosponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Bob Casey, D-Pa.



“Local officials are faced with immense transportation infrastructure challenges but often lack the resources to pay for these improvements,” Sen. Wicker said. “This measure would enable communities to have a say in which projects merit attention and would direct federal dollars to meet those needs. Targeted, cost-effective solutions are key to modernizing this country’s infrastructure. The Wicker-Booker bill should be included in any long-term transportation plan.”



“There’s a long list of transportation projects that can’t get done in communities across the country because local officials don’t have access to adequate funding,” Sen. Booker said. “New Jersey’s residents and commuters are counting on us to find solutions that sustain and improve our nation’s highways, railways, and waterways -- networks that are critical to economic growth, job creation, and national security. The bipartisan legislation Sens. Wicker, Casey and I are introducing today will create new opportunities for economic growth by empowering cities to effectively compete for funds to support transportation investments.”



Currently, less than 15 percent of all authorized federal highway funds and only one grant program are available to cities and counties. The grant program is overwhelmed with requests.



To combat this problem, the Wicker-Booker bill would allow local jurisdictions to compete for a larger share of federal funds on a competitive basis. Local jurisdictions, metropolitan planning organizations, transit providers, and others would be in charge of developing projects for consideration. Instead of federal bureaucrats making the decisions, a panel of local stakeholders would decide which projects to approve based on how the project could improve the transportation system, promote innovation, and spur economic development.



Wicker and Booker introduced similar legislation during the 113th Congress.



The House version of the bill is sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. Cosponsors include Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.



Note: Below is a list of Mississippi entities and national stakeholders that have endorsed the legislation:



· City of Hattiesburg

· Town of Sumrall

· City of Laurel

· City of Wiggins

· Town of Flora

· City of Pascagoula

· City of Corinth

· City of Greenwood

· City of McComb

· City of Morton

· City of Carthage

· City of Morton

· City of Meridian

· Mississippi Municipal League

· Hinds County Board of Supervisors

· Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership

· League of American Bicyclists


3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 5:18 am

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Palazzo named to House Appropriations Committee


Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) today was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations. Congressman Palazzo released a statement following the announcement:

“Mississippi has a long history of appropriators in Congress, and I am honored to be selected to continue that tradition on the House Appropriations Committee. No one can truly fill the shoes of my friend Alan Nunnelee, but I will work to uphold the values he held so dear by fighting for Mississippi and for our country every single day.


WDAM
3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 5:11 am

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Lieutenant governor candidate arrested (video link)

A candidate for lieutenant governor [Jelani Barr] is claiming Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers used excessive force and abused their power during his arrest.


WAPT
3/17/15

Posted March 18, 2015 - 5:07 am

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SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE RECORD FUNDING
Education budget provides $2.52 billion


Public schools will see record levels of funding under a $2.52 billion budget approved by the state Senate, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said today. The education budget includes the second phase of a teacher pay raise, support for officers in schools and National Board Certified Teacher funds.

“I’m proud to say classrooms across Mississippi will receive more money this year than ever before in the history of our state,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Republicans have made increased education funding, focused on putting more money in the classroom, a priority.”

Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Reeves proposed increasing public education spending by an additional $110 million. House Bill 1536 spends $109.9 million in classrooms across the state. The bill heads to Gov. Phil Bryant for consideration.

With this bill, education funding will increase by $285 million in programs that directly impact classrooms over four years. The Legislature has increased support for teacher pay raises, reading coaches, prekindergarten, National Board Certified Teachers, teacher supply funds, school safety programs and vocational education.

Tate Reeves Press Release
3/17/15

Posted March 17, 2015 - 11:07 am

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RELEASE from Bully Bloc:

Bully Bloc is pleased to endorse Governor Phil Bryant for a second term as Governor of Mississippi. We thank him for his efforts not only to support Mississippi State University but also for his work to advance all of higher education in Mississippi.


3/17/15


Posted March 17, 2015 - 8:02 am

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Secretary Hosemann partners with City of Hattiesburg to sell dilapidated properties


In an effort to reduce the number of tax forfeited properties in the State, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is auctioning 76 parcels located inside the City of Hattiesburg with an estimated value of $190,890.

“We have had great success all over the State in partnering with cities and counties to reduce the number of tax forfeited properties in Mississippi. These properties are a drain on our communities, our tax rolls, and our citizens,” says Secretary Hosemann. “By partnering with Hattiesburg, we are taking an aggressive step to place these properties into productive use.”


WBRC
3/16/15

Posted March 17, 2015 - 5:31 am

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MSGOP RELEASE:



House and Senate Republicans Pass Education Voucher Plan


Legislation giving students with disabilities more educational opportunities has passed both chambers of the Mississippi legislature. Senate Bill 2695, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Collins (R-Tupelo), allows parents of special needs students to access state scholarships for their children to attend a school that best fits their child’s needs. Rep. Carolyn Crawford (R-Pass Christian) introduced similar legislation in the House.

Special needs students with an Individual Education Plan would be eligible for the program. Students would be eligible for a $7,000 scholarship to cover private school tuition or tutoring or other educational services. The funds would not come from the state's school funding formula or the local school district.

The legislation is a part of Gov. Phil Bryant’s 2015 legislative agenda. The program is modeled after successful efforts in Arizona and Florida to provide the best opportunity for success for students with special needs.
Mississippi Republicans Take Lead on National Effort to Require Congress to Balance Federal Budget; Democrats Oppose

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed legislation that would add Mississippi to the list of states seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. Senate Bill (SB) 2389, otherwise called the Compact for a Balanced Budget, would enable Mississippi to participate in a constitutional convention of states to amend the Constitution to limit federal borrowing, require Congress to seek state approval before increasing the debt limit, and increase transparency. It also would require a two-thirds congressional majority to pass most tax hikes.

Democrat legislators opposed the balanced budget amendment, with fifty House and nineteen Senate democrats voting against the proposal.

Typical plans for a constitutional convention require states to act twice, first to call a convention and then to ratify proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under SB 2389 and similar proposals in other states, the constitutional convention would be limited to a single vote on the balanced budget proposal written in the law, and would provide for automatic approval of the pre-agreed amendment by the states that adopt the compact.

Mississippi is now the third state to join the compact for a balanced budget, behind Georgia and Alaska. At least 38 states must pass similar legislation for the effort to move forward.

Mississippi House and Senate Republicans Pass Historic Tax Cuts

On February 25th, the Mississippi House passed a $1.5 billion individual income tax cut proposal. House Bill 1629, sponsored by Rep. Brad Mayo (R-Oxford), will occur over a 15-year period beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 and will take place only if there is three percent revenue growth in each fiscal year. Currently, Mississippians pay a three percent income tax on their first $5,000 of income, four percent on the next $5,000 of income, and five percent on income over $10,000. With the passage of HB1629, the three percent income tax would be eliminated by 2019, the four percent income tax by 2022, and the five percent income tax by 2030. The bill represents the largest tax cut in Mississippi history.

The House’s passage of the income tax cut is on the heels of the Senate’s passage on February 24th of the Taxpayer’s Pay Raise Act, a $400 million tax relief plan sponsored by Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall). Senate Bill 2839 would eliminate the 3 percent tax bracket levied on individual income, reduces the overall tax burden on small business owners, and removes the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital. The plan has been praised by Americans for Tax Reform and other prominent national groups.

Gov. Phil Byant, who called on the legislature to pass tax cuts before the legislative session began, praised the House and Senate for passing the bills. "Conservatives in Mississippi are united to give hard-working taxpayers more of their own money back to them. I look forward to signing a tax cut when it clears the Legislature, because both proposals will attract job creators to our state and help hard-working Mississippians," remarked Bryant.

Governor Bryant’s "Mississippi Works"
Fund Approved by House and Senate


Gov. Phil Bryant’s initiative to create a $50-million workforce training fund by transferring money from the state unemployment trust fund, which has a surplus because of a drop in unemployment, has been approved by both the House and the Senate in the form of Senate Bill 2457. The workforce training fund would be managed by the State Workforce Investment Board and would be committed to training programs at community colleges.

Gov. Bryant applauded the House and Senate for approving the initiative: "Mississippi has one of the healthiest unemployment trust funds in the nation. Due to our state unemployment rate having gone down and the decreased demand on the unemployment fund, this bill will enable us to invest more in skills training at our community colleges and prepare Mississippi workers for building the future."

The Mississippi Economic Council's Blueprint Competitiveness Study had previously identified the need for more skilled labor in Mississippi and a centralized agency to manage workforce development.
Cochran and Wicker Vote to Override Obama Veto
of Keystone XL Pipeline


U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker both voted to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The March 4 vote fell short of the two-thirds needed and the veto was sustained.

“Senators today had the opportunity to put job creation and America’s energy security above partisan interests, but Senate Democrats instead sided with President Obama and far-left environmental activists,” Wicker said. “By doing so, they have denied jobs to tens of thousands of Americans who are actively looking for work. This fight, however, is not over.”

According to the State Department, the project would support more than 42,000 jobs while having a minimal effect on the environment. The pipeline is projected to increase supply of North American energy through the shipment of more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Mississippi Republican Delegation Hears Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Address to Congress; Bennie Thompson Refuses to Attend


All four Republican members of Mississippi’s federal delegation were in attendance as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently outlined to a joint session of Congress the threats posed by Islamic radicals and the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“It was an honor to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose remarks affirmed the importance of his country’s strategic alliance with the United States and the mutual threats to the security interests of both our nations. The Prime Minister’s speech served as a stark reminder of the dangers our nations must be ever-vigilant against. We share common interests in fighting against terrorist activities perpetrated by Islamic radicals and preventing Iran gaining nuclear weapon capabilities,” remarked Senator Thad Cochran.

Senator Wicker issued the following statement after hearing the address. “Israel remains one of America’s closest allies, and its security is imperative to U.S. interests and the future stability of the region. The bonds of our countries’ long-standing partnership should not be jeopardized by the Administration’s cold shoulder. As Mr. Netanyahu has stated, Israel is ‘a bipartisan issue.’ Israel deserves our continued support, commitment, and respect.”

Congressman Gregg Harper underscored the threat posed by Iran. “Iran is the most dangerous state sponsor or terrorism in the world and I appreciate a leader who recognizes the threat that exists. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has correctly stated that Iran must never be allowed to build a nuclear weapon,” said Harper. “America and Israel should have a shared goal to do whatever is necessary to prevent the threats we face from Iran and radical Islam. Why does our President insist on making a deal with Iran, a country that seeks to destroy both American and Israel? Iran has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted.

Congressman Steven Palazzo voiced his displeasure with the Democrats’ handling of negotiations. “This is not a partisan issue and I’m extremely disappointed in the administration and my Democrat colleagues in the House who have tried to make it one. This is about the survival of Israel as well as the security of our own nation. We must stand firm as a nation and work together with Israel to combat the threat of terrorism that endangers us all.”

Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson joined other liberal Democrats in refusing to attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address.



3/16/15


Posted March 17, 2015 - 5:28 am

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Political blogger's Miss., antics irk California cops


California-based political blogger Charles C. Johnson's infamous meddling in last year's Cochran-McDaniel race apparently earned him a reputation back home, too.

Capitol police at a California fundraising event for Speaker of the House John Boehner grilled Johnson about his involvement in the Mississippi campaign before ejecting him from the event to which he had tickets.


ClarionLedger
3/16/15

Posted March 17, 2015 - 5:20 am

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Governor establishes Katrina Remembrance Commission


The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is several months away, but Monday Governor Phil Bryant came to South Mississippi to announce the Katrina Remembrance Commission. The Governor said the goal of the commission is to honor those who served during and after the the worst natural disaster to hit the United States and our Gulf Coast community.

"We want to reach out to the entire Gulf Coast to honor those who were lost and those who put their lives on the line to respond and also to celebrate how far we have come in our recovery," Gov. Phil Bryant said at the news conference. "We are on offense. Our infrastructure, our industries, our resorts and our entire Gulf Coast have made a remarkable comeback."

Governor Bryant named former Governor Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha, as the commission's chairs. Barbour was governor when Katrina devastated South Mississippi and he guided Katrina recovery in the weeks, days, months and years after.


WBRC
3/16/15

Posted March 17, 2015 - 5:15 am

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Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves raising his tax cut proposal to $550 million, increasing income tax cuts


JACKSON, Mississippi — Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday floated a larger $555 million tax cut proposal with more income tax cuts, setting the stage for negotiations as the end of the legislative session approaches.

Reeves originally proposed a $396 million tax cut over 10 years, aimed at phasing out corporate franchise taxes and cutting some income taxes. House members countered with a plan to phase out all $1.7 billion in individual income tax collections over 15 or more years, depending on revenues.

Now, Reeves wants to go further on income taxes, cutting another $157 million in income taxes over another five years. And unlike the House plan, state revenues would not have to grow by a certain amount for the tax breaks to take place.

The Senate Finance Committee amended House Bill 1629 Monday to conform with Reeves' plan. It passed on a split voice vote and is likely to be considered Tuesday on the Senate floor.


Daily Journal
3/16/15

Posted March 17, 2015 - 5:11 am

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A guide to not making friends or influencing people . . . a proxy fight is on #mselex #2015
It's getting chillier by the day in the MS Senate
by Alan Lange
Emily Wagster Pettus over the weekend penned an article that looked at the waning influence of the now essentially defunct Senate Conservative Coalition. With now 7 of the original 11 of the coalition now endorsing Tate Reeves and the coalition campaign account now cleared out, it would appear that the coalition is essentially no more.

One interesting subtext of Pettus’ article was some very overt back and forth between Republican State Senators Will Longwitz and Chris McDaniel.

"From the beginning, it (the Senate Conservative Coalition) was an organization to promote Chris McDaniel," Longwitz told The Associated Press this past week. "I don't see anything they have accomplished. It's just policy losses followed by political fundraising. You lose, you whine, you raise money."

Republican Sen. Will Longwitz of Madison said he left the coalition within weeks.

In a separate interview with AP, McDaniel said Longwitz's comments were "very disappointing ... Will may talk like he's a conservative, but his record proves otherwise. That's the primary reason he received a Republican primary opponent."

It doesn’t look like tensions there will be cooling anytime soon. It’s pretty odd for peers in the state legislature in the same party to be going back and forth publicly like that. In the 10 years of doing Y’allPolitics, I can’t recall a single time where a legislator of a same party openly went after another on their re-elect.

Longwitz has drawn a primary challenger in SD 25 in the form of Bill Billingsley. Billingsley is the former owner and COO of Gilbert's Home Health and Hospice and is a member of the Madison County Republican Party Executive Committee. He was notably the face of the McDaniel recount effort in Jackson/Hinds County.

On top of the challenge, Longwitz had his district targeted in the last couple of weeks with live operator calls from folks that reportedly identified themselves as calling on behalf of MS Gun Rights. MGR is run by Noel Fritsch, who was Chris McDaniel’s campaign henchman-in-chief. The calls reportedly disparaged Longwitz on the same gun legislation that they went after Andy Gipson and Sean Tindell.

Over the weekend, McDaniel certainly left no doubt as to where his preferences were in the Longwitz/Billingsley race. It doesn’t appear that Billingsley solicited the support from McDaniel as there have been no press releases or no other overt acknowledgement from the Billingsley camp of the McDaniel support. But nonetheless, McDaniel has been injected into this race.



With Thad Cochran beating McDaniel 2:1 in Madison County and 2.5:1 in Hinds County, which in parts make up the district in question, it again appears that McDaniel is pushing himself into the race and was likely not asked to participate. He probably didn’t intend to hurt Billingsley, but it looks like he equally didn’t care whether his move would help or not. This looks to be a lot more about a proxy between him and Longwitz than anything else.

There will likely be more state legislative seats (and oh, by the way, a special election for a Congressional seat) in 2015 where candidates will either choose to or will be saddled with affiliation with Chris McDaniel. It will be interesting to watch the workings to see who embraces it and who tries to put some distance between themselves and McDaniel.

We will see soon how it works out. Remember . . . #NoGroupHug.


Posted March 16, 2015 - 1:53 pm

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$50 million workforce training bill looks strong in homestretch

Senate Bill 2457, along with the House version (HB 911) which has been rolled into the Senate bill, is a session priority of both Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Economic Council. Mississippi can’t expect to compete with its Southern neighbors without beefing up workforce training and streamlining how the training is offered, Bryant and the statewide organization say.

The bill got a unanimous nod from the House Tuesday. Te Senate is expected to send it on to a conference committee, said Blake Wilson, CEO of the MEC, the state’s chamber of commerce.

SB 2457 diverts $25 million a year over the next two years from unused unemployment compensation fund money.

In announcing SB 2457 in January, Bryant said the unemployment compensation fund has built up the reserves as the jobless rate declined from 9.8 percent three years ago to today’s 7.2 percent. If unemployment should suddenly begin rising, the money would go back into the compensation fund.

As final work and votes on the workforce training bill near, the MEC’s Wilson wants to see a show of support from business people and other Mississippians.

“Workforce needs are #1…whether in manufacturing, technology, health care or hospitality,” Wilson said in an email blast late Wednesday.

MBJ
3/16/15

Posted March 16, 2015 - 10:48 am

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Miss. Rep. Rita Martinson's home destroyed by fire

Longtime state Rep. Rita Martinson's home in the Gluckstadt area was destroyed Friday night by a fire.

"It was fully involved when we arrived," Gluckstadt firefighter Chad Perry said today. "We did our best to contain the fire, but it was complicated because there was no fire hydrant. We had to bring water in on a pumper truck."

Perry said it took two to three hours to get a handle on the fire. Firefighters were on the scene from about 1:30 a.m. Saturday until about 8 a.m., according to Perry.

Perry said the home was a total loss. Martinson and her husband weren't at home at the time of the fire. Nobody was injured in the blaze.


Clarion Ledger
3/16/15

Posted March 16, 2015 - 10:47 am

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RELEASE:


Kelly: Humbled to have support of fellow Combat Veterans



TUPELO, MS - Trent Kelly, District Attorney, Colonel and two-time Iraq Veteran, received yesterday an endorsement from The Combat Veterans for Congress Political Action Committee (PAC).

"I am humbled to have the support of fellow Combat Veterans," Kelly said. "Thank you, Combat Veterans for Congress PAC for the endorsement."

Co-founded in August 2009, the Combat Veterans for Congress PAC endorses candidates, "who previously demonstrated their willingness to 'Go Into Harm's Way' to protect and defend teammates in combat." Candidates who receive endorsements are fiscally conservative men and women who are committed to reining in Congressional spending and dedicated to defending the U.S. Constitution.

"I have fought for this great nation on the battlefields of Iraq," Kelly said. "I have fought for victims and law enforcement against criminals in the courtroom. I will fight for the people of Mississippi in the United States Congress."

A copy of the endorsement of Col Kelly can be found here (http://combatveteransforcongress.org/cand/3156). Text of the Combat Veterans for Congressional PAC endorsement follows:

The Combat Veterans for Congress PAC is endorsing the 103rd Combat Veteran For Congress in 6 years; he is a fiscally conservative candidate who will work to rein in the out of control spending by the Congress and the Obama Administration. He will work toward unleashing the private sector to create jobs, eliminating newly imposed federal regulations that have restricted the growth of small business, take care of the Nations Veterans, and will provide for a strong National Defense, Col Kelly believes in the sanctity of life, traditional family values, the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, and will support enforcement of Immigration Laws to stop Illegal Aliens from crossing the southern border. Col Trent Kelly, Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) resides in Saltillo, MS and is a 29 year veteran of the Mississippi Army National Guard. Colonel Kelly is running in a Special Election to fill the vacant seat that resulted from the untimely passing of Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-MS-1).


3/13/15

Posted March 16, 2015 - 5:28 am

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BILL CRAWFORD: 'Real' conservatives unable to muster a serious candidate



As a result of Watson's decision, Y'all Politics proclaimed, "For all of the campaign bluster in the McDaniel operation about sitting at the sharp end of 180,000 voters and how the Tea Party was going to topple the 'establishment,' the Tea Party in a statewide election year was unable to muster one single serious candidate for statewide office. Not one."

Could it be that most in the Tea Party are satisfied with current leaders? After all, Republican statewide leaders are all pro-gun, pro-life, anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-regulation, free market, small government, anti-Obama constitutionalists. That matches up pretty good with the ultra-conservative Club for Growth mantra that McDaniel et al mimicked.

Intra-party politics aside, what other litmus tests should they have to pass?

Perhaps they should have to swear to the dubious "economic freedom" standards devised by a pro-conglomerate, Canadian, libertarian organization, the Fraser Institute (and advocated by an assistant professor at Mississippi State University).

Bless our hearts, we need another big money financed, out-of-state group to show us the way.




Sunherald
3/15/15




Posted March 16, 2015 - 5:21 am

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Sen. Wicker: No Regrets on Iran Letter


Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker told "Meet the Press" on Sunday he has no regrets for signing an open letter to the leadership of Iran about the current nuclear negotiations the White House is engaged in.

"I don't have any regrets at all. I stand by the letter," Wicker said. He and 46 other Republicans have been criticized for interfering with the negotiating process, and some Republicans who signed have reportedly said they were unhappy at how there was no chance to discuss the letter before it was signed.




NewsMax
3/15/15













Posted March 16, 2015 - 5:14 am

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Analysis: Influence of McDaniel-led Senate Conservative Coalition wanes


JACKSON, MISS. — Nearly two years ago, the newly formed Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition was preparing to make life uncomfortable for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a fellow Republican whom the coalition's leaders viewed as too willing to work across party lines.

Now, the coalition has mostly unraveled, and seven of its 11 original members have even endorsed Reeves for re-election.

Some former coalition members say the organization, led by Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, never lived up to its own billing as a study group to create serious policy proposals.

Republican Sen. Will Longwitz of Madison said he left the coalition within weeks.

"From the beginning, it was an organization to promote Chris McDaniel," Longwitz told The Associated Press this past week. "I don't see anything they have accomplished. It's just policy losses followed by political fundraising. You lose, you whine, you raise money."

In a separate interview with AP, McDaniel said Longwitz's comments were "very disappointing ... Will may talk like he's a conservative, but his record proves otherwise. That's the primary reason he received a Republican primary opponent."



...McDaniel, Watson, Sojourner and Hill are the only coalition members who consistently stick together these days, but McDaniel said the group still exists.

"We all don't think precisely the same way," McDaniel said. "Some are more liberty-oriented than others."



SunHerald
3/15/15

Posted March 16, 2015 - 5:05 am

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GOP: Obama Ignores Iranian Expansion to Get Nuclear Deal


At 1 hearing, Sen. Thad Cochran kept at it with Kerry.

"Do you agree with me that the Houthis in Yemen couldn't last 15 minutes without Iranian assistance?" asked Cochran, R-Miss.

"They'll in all probability last longer than 15 minutes, but obviously Iranian assistance is important," Kerry answered.

"Do you agree with me that Assad is a puppet of the Iranian regime? Cochran asked.

"Pretty substantially," Kerry stated.

"Do you agree with me that Hezbollah is a subcontractor of the Iranian regime?" Cochran asked.

"Totally," Kerry answered. He then insisted the administration is not looking the other way. "We're not oblivious to these tentacles," he said.


BulletinEcho
3/16/15

Posted March 16, 2015 - 5:00 am

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Mississippi Power, PSC file for rehearing to restore Kemper rate increase
CEO: 'We are not going to charge the customer one dime more'





Mississippi Power Co. and the Public Service Commission asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to reconsider its decision to overturn a rate increase designed to help pay for the Kemper County power plant.

In the filing, Mississippi Power said:

"The PSC appropriately used its authority under the Mississippi Public Utility Act to establish fair and reasonable rates for Kemper, which the Court failed to address.

"The PSC and Legislature hold the authority to set rates, not the Supreme Court, which it has essentially done in its ruling.

"The company and the PSC complied with Mississippi law and the PSC's rules concerning public notice of the rate proceedings regarding Kemper.

"The court's decision will require rate increases of 35 percent to 40 percent rather than the approximately 24

percent increase anticipated under the rate proposal considered by the PSC."

The PSC request said:

"The majority opinion addresses issues not raised or briefed by the parties, and, in so doing, misapprehends and overlooks clearly established Commission rate-making authority.

"The majority opinion misapprehends the 'due process' standards for Commission rate and policy-making proceedings and overlooks various statutes and Commission rules in establishing new requirements for future Commission proceedings.

"The majority's decision to void the Settlement Agreement and eliminate its ratepayer protections overlooks important points of law and fact."




Sunherald
3/12/15


Posted March 13, 2015 - 5:03 am

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