WLOX – Hyde-Smith makes first campaign stop on Coast one day after appointment

One day after her senatorial appointment by Gov. Phil Bryant, Cindy Hyde-Smith was already on the campaign trail.

Her first stop was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“I got up this morning and I thought, ‘What a beautiful day driving to the Coast.’ I never get tired of coming to the Coast,” she said. “I can assure you that, but it’s a lot of important issues here.”

WLOX – U.S. Senators pay tribute to retiring Senator Thad Cochran

Speaking on the Senate floor where he’s served since 1978 Thad Cochran’s remarks were brief. One by one, for more than an hour, his colleagues saluted his work.

“Every single one of us has been treated to a first rate example of honorable service,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Cochran and Vermont’s Patrick Leahy are the longest serving members of the Senate. The two worked closely on a number of bills.”Thad has stood by his values, he brings substance, not sound bites to the upper chamber,” Sen. Leahy said.

The work Cochran did after Hurricane Katrina, reaching across the aisle to help rebuild the Coast was saluted.

“I remember after Katrina with the devastation. Thad came over to me and talked to me about the needs for so much, including a a rail line that was somewhat controversial in the southern part of his state. He really convinced me that it was desperately needed and I voted for it,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

For the last 11 years, Cochran has been joined in the Senate by Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, who said the impacts of Cochran’s service will be felt in the state for years to come.

“What abides is the legacy that he’s left of being a quiet persuader, of being a person of accomplishment, of being a gentleman who has made this country and its citizens better off,” Sen. Wicker said.


CLARION LEDGER – ‘Embarrassing to be beat out by Mississippi,’ former Vermont governor says

Vermont is now the only state to have never sent a woman to Congress…

…Former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat and the state’s first female chief executive, called it “a little embarrassing to be beaten out by Mississippi.”

CLARION LEDGER – Republican Andy Taggart eyeing challenge to Cindy Hyde-Smith for Cochran’s Senate seat

Author and attorney Andy Taggart, a Republican patriarch in Mississippi, said Thursday he is “very seriously considering running” for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Thad Cochran…

…Asked about Taggart’s announcement, a Bryant spokesman said in a statement, “Mississippi made history yesterday when Gov. Bryant announced he will appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to the U.S. Senate. He will do everything he can to ensure she is elected in November because she exemplifies the conservative values Mississippi needs in Washington.”…

…While he questions Hyde-Smith’s ability to withstand a far-right challenge, Taggart might face the same issue. He has at times come at odds with much of the state GOP and with the more conservative wing. This includes his calls to change the state flag to remove the Confederate battle emblem and regular criticism of Donald Trump.

Palazzo Issues Statement on Omnibus Bill

Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) issued the following statement after the package to finalize funding for the 2018 fiscal year passed the House.

“This spending package brings smart federal investment not only to south Mississippi, but the entire state,” Palazzo said. “This critical funding bill also takes strong concrete steps to protect Mississippi values.

“Specifically, it includes funding for 90 miles of new border wall, but also increases the amount of dollars used toward securing the border such as increasing the boots on the ground at our southern border. It also gives our military a pay increase of 2.4%, and increases defense funding so our troops have the resources they need to win and return home safely to their loved ones. We continue to prioritize NASA, which will ensure Stennis continues to test rockets that will soon send American astronauts to space from American soil on American rockets. Very importantly, we continue to include strong pro-life protections like the Hyde Amendment which explicitly prohibits any taxpayer money from being used to pay for abortions.”

WDAM – House kills bill that would have let schools arm teachers

Thus the bill died at a deadline for the House to concur in changes senators made or seek negotiations to work out differences.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson says he let the bill die not because he disagreed with arming teachers. Instead, he cites another Senate change which would have allowed schools and colleges to ban people from carrying guns into stadiums and arenas.

DAILY JOURNAL – House says bonds dependent on deal on overall transportation bill

Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, expressed optimism recently that an agreement can be reached between House and Senate negotiators. One was not reached during the 2017 session, resulting in a rare instance in recent years where the Legislature did not pass a bill authorizing bonds to pay over a period of years for construction projects.

“I am hearing a bond bill is possibly on life support,” said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville. “I hope not. We need bonds. We have a lot of needs.”

House Ways and Means Vice Chairman Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, one of the negotiators, said that passing a bond bill is dependent on passing an overall transportation bill to deal with road and bridge deficiencies on both the state and local systems.

CLARION LEDGER – Four qualify to run for vacant Delta seat in Mississippi House

State election officials Thursday set the ballot for the May 8 special election. It is in District 30, which includes parts of Bolivar, Quitman, Sunflower and Tallahatchie counties.

Candidates in the nonpartisan special election are Blake Ferretti of Cleveland, William McClellan of Charleston, Tracey Rosebud of Tutwiler and Lester Williams of Ruleville.

If a runoff is needed, it will be May 29.

The winner will serve until January 2020, filling the end of a term started by Democrat Robert Huddleston of Sumner. He resigned to spend more time with his family.

WTOK – Senate budget writer leaves Mississippi Capitol in ambulance

One of the top budget writers in the Mississippi Legislature was taken from the state Capitol by ambulance Thursday. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Buck Clarke appeared alert as he was taken from the building on a stretcher.

The 61-year-old Republican from Hollandale was talking on his cellphone as he was put into an ambulance.

Laura Hipp, spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, says Clarke has a medical issue and was taken to St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson “out of an abundance of caution” and was being checked by doctors.