SUNHERALD – Chris McDaniel pummels GOP establishment – with a phone book

State Sen. Chris McDaniel has met the enemy and it is, well, just about everybody.

It’s a given that he doesn’t much care for Democrats and liberals. They are, after all, in his words “dangerous to our way of life.” Gov. Haley Barbour and other lobbyists get him worked up, too. And, he has no use for big government and what he sees as its free-spending ways. In fact, he named just three sitting senators — Republicans Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky — whom he could work with. The rest?

“I’d just as soon trust the first 100 members of the phone book than I would the Senate,” he told a crowd of about 30 in a forum sponsored by the Harrison County Republican Women on Tuesday at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis Campus in Biloxi. “I say that jokingly but I’m dead serious. … Bring ‘em home. All of them.”

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CLARION LEDGER – What cities, counties want out of the special legislative session

Shari Veazey, executive director of the Mississippi Municipal League, which advocates for legislative policies that benefit cities across the state, released a statement on what she hopes is accomplished:

“The MML is pushing to get a meaningful portion of Use tax diverted to cities each year going forward. As consumers continue to move to purchases on the internet, traditional sales tax will continue to decline. Cities need this new revenue stream to make water, sewer, and street infrastructure improvements so that the burden doesn’t fall on business owners and property owners through higher ad valorem taxes. A diversion in the Use tax would be a great first step in helping municipalities address their aging water, sewer and street infrastructure.”

Mississippi Association of Supervisors Executive Director Derrick Surrette said the association is eagerly awaiting what comes out of the special session.

Surrette said 69 percent of roads and most of the bridges are in counties. “We certainly need assistance. Any additional money for roads and bridges will help,” he said.

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DAILY JOURNAL – Mississippi congressmen react to guilt of Trump associates Manafort, Cohen

Sen. Roger Wicker

“The investigation should proceed based on the evidence and the facts, not politics,” said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. “Nothing has changed my support of the President’s agenda, which is putting our country back on the right track.”

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

“Senator Hyde-Smith remains focused on carrying out her responsibilities as a United States Senator and representing the people of Mississippi,” said Hyde-Smith spokesman Chris Gallegos. “She continues to support President Trump and his agenda. Neither of yesterday’s legal proceedings had anything to do with collusion with Russia, and the Senator hopes the special prosecutors inquiry is concluded as soon as possible.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson

“The Manafort and Cohen verdicts are more proof that Trump and his administration are corrupt,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson. “Since Trump has been elected, my office has received numerous calls asking for Congress to work to impeach him. After yesterday’s verdict, constituents in the District are continuing their plea that we work to impeach Trump. As things continue to unravel, Mississippians and all Americans are learning each and every day how corrupt this White House is.”

Rep. Gregg Harper

“Yesterday’s legal proceedings do not change my strong support for President Trump’s agenda,” said U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper. “I am particularly impressed with his Supreme Court nominations, and his partnership with Congress to boost our economy, restore safety in our communities, and revive our military. Together, we are building a safer and stronger America.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo

“Mueller’s investigation, after spending millions of taxpayer dollars, continues with absolutely no findings of Russian collusion,” said U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo said. “It’s past time to put an end to this witch hunt. I continue to support President Trump in his ongoing efforts to establish pro-America policies that benefit American families, businesses and individuals across the country.”

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DAILY JOURNAL – Plan to reset high school grades moves forward

The Commission on School Accreditation voted unanimously Wednesday to reset the scale for assigning A-to-F grades for high schools. The state Board of Education is scheduled to take up the issue Thursday after sending it back to the commission.

Mississippi Department of Education officials say that without action, the state will have few A-rated high schools and many F-rated high schools when grades are released next month. Chief Accountability Officer Paula Vanderford says that’s not an accurate depiction of how schools performed on state tests last year.

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SUNHERALD – Fate of BP money could be decided at Mississippi special session this week

Republicans appear to be close to a deal to pay for millions of dollars in road and bridge repairs across the state, but whether they’ll decide what to do with $600 million in BP economic damages in special session of the Legislature that begins Thursday isn’t so clear.

Gov. Phil Bryant said last week in a tweet that BP money would be part of the session, but it wasn’t in the official proclamation Tuesday. Bryant’s office later told the Associated Press that the settlement could be dealt with after a road and bridge bill was finished.

“Using revenue generated by internet sales taxes, sports betting, electric and hybrid vehicle user fees and a state lottery, the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act will provide more than $200 million annually to meet Mississippi’s infrastructure needs,” he said in a tweet accompanying the proclamation, signaling a deal had been reached.

Wednesday afternoon, the Governor’s Office called a press conference with Bryant, Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, just before the start of the session, to talk about the road and bridge bill, another sign the Republicans were in agreement.