Haley Barbour: “I’d be very surprised” if Sen. Cochran retires before end of his term 

CLARION LEDGER – Democrats try to find voice in Republican-controlled Legislature

When asked how Democrats try to get things accomplished in the Republican-controlled Legislature, newly elected Democratic Caucus chairman Sen. Derrick Simmons said, “being an underdog, we know you have to fight.”

But Simmons, D-Greenville, said his philosophy is that you get more with sugar than salt. He said he tries to work with the Republican majority.

“We know we don’t have the votes; we know we need the majority,” Simmons said. “When they make a bad proposal, we try to get them to reconsider and to make a proposal less horrific to citizens.”

POLITICO – National Democrats recruit U.S. Senate candidates across nation but no one yet to emerge in Mississippi

Van Hollen said all eight GOP-held seats “will be in play.” “We have candidates in every one of those eight states, with the exception of Mississippi, where we are talking to some very strong candidates.” But he stopped short of predicting Democrats would take back the majority: “I’m not going to make any predictions about what will happen in November 2018.”

SUNHERALD – DMR staffer suicide ruled attributable to job related “mental derangement” inflicted by Walker

Michaela Hill knew what her boss was doing at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources was wrong.

She tried to stop Bill Walker, the DMR executive director. Not only did she fail, but she found out at a DMR meeting with Walker and other executives in May 2012 that she could be blamed for his wrongdoing.

She left the building and never returned to work. Her family said it was as if a light switch shut off in Hill’s head…

…Details surrounding her suicide are included in a Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission order. The judge in the case, Robert J. Arnold III, found evidence “clear and convincing” that Hill suffered from “mental derangement” that her employer inflicted on her, leading to her suicide.

CLARION LEDGER – Ed formula rewrite efforts emerge early in ’18 session with EdBuild set to return

Baria said he expects that caucus members will have an opportunity to meet with EdBuild and ask questions about the proposal.

Last year, the group’s meetings were largely restricted to those scheduled by legislative leaders, a move that Democrats in the House and Senate blasted. They argued that work on such an issue should not take place behind closed doors.

Rewrite discussions also earned the ire of some public education advocates who have called for lawmakers to hold open meetings about their efforts.

DAILY LEADER – Will Doty or Hyde-Smith jump in #MS03?

Both Doty and Hyde-Smith would have big shoes to fill, and both seem up to the task. Doty is in her second term serving District 39, which includes Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah and Walthall counties. She was elected in 2011 to replace Hyde-Smith, who took the job as commissioner of agriculture.

Doty chairs the Senate Elections Committee and was a leading proponent of the divorce reform bill that passed during the last session.

Hyde-Smith served eight years as chairwoman of the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee when she represented District 39 before Doty. She’d held the District 39 Senate seat since 2000. She is the first female Ag commissioner for the state.