WLOX – Speaker Philip Gunn looks ahead to 2019 legislative session

The 2019 legislative session will coincide with the kickoff to a statewide election year. So, we asked Speaker Philip Gunn if he thinks re-election bids will overshadow work at the Capitol in 2019?

“As I’ve said repeatedly, not only to my caucus but others who have asked, it’s not a year to do nothing,” said Gunn. “We’re going to do something. We were sent up here to work, and just because it’s an election year doesn’t mean we can take a pass. We’ve got things that we need to do.”

Speaker Philip Gunn emphasized this about the items he plans to push. “We think these are things that everyone can get behind,” noted Gunn. “Don’t see them as anything that should be controversial.”

Human trafficking is at the top of his list. “We’re looking to maybe change some of the definition to protect these children who are caught in these situations and as well to provide training,” explained Gunn.

WDAM – Bryant pledges support for cutting criminal punishments

Gov. Phil Bryant says he’ll support efforts to reduce the number of Mississippians in prison in the 2019 legislative session.

The Republican made the remarks Tuesday at a meeting on criminal justice reform put on by a coalition of groups that favor changes to reduce harshness in the criminal justice system.

Among issues lawmakers could consider are spending more on re-entry programs, education, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment to help people coming out of prison from returning.

SUNHERALD – Sentencing reforms get powerful backer in conservative state

A conservative Republican governor and former sheriff’s deputy who once sought longer prison sentences for criminals says he’s changed his mind and now wants to make Mississippi’s justice system less punitive.

Gov. Phil Bryant’s statements came Tuesday at a meeting sponsored by groups including top Republican backers to build support among lawmakers and others for such changes.

The move comes as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he will accede to President Donald Trump’s push to reduce some federal sentences. Bryant is an outspoken Trump supporter.

State Rep. Robert Foster announces run for Governor

CLARION LEDGER – Debt buyers took them to court. Now 238 Mississippians will see their judgements erased

Approximately 238 Mississippians will have judgment balances on debt eliminated or reduced as the result of a settlement recently reached by attorneys general 42 states and the District of Columbia with the nation’s largest debt buyers.

The $6 million settlement resolves the states’ investigation into the collection and litigation practices of Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management Inc. and Midland Funding LLC and settles claims that Midland signed and filed affidavits in state courts in large volumes without verifying the information printed in them, a practice commonly called robo-signing. Mississippi’s share of this payment will be $94,925.

Senators Wicker, Hyde-Smith support Farm Bill

 

CLARION LEDGER – Mississippi Delta mayor charged with embezzlement

Jonestown MayorAuthorities arrested the mayor of Jonestown, Miss., Sunday for allegedly stealing water bill payments and a police firearm.

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department arrested Kenneth Lester on felony embezzlement charges following a Coahoma County grand jury indictment.

The first four counts of the indictment allege that Lester took the money residents paid for water bills and water line repairs for his own use. The alleged thefts occurred between July 2017 and August 2018 while Lester was serving as mayor.