CLARION LEDGER – Elizabeth Warren to hold Mississippi townhall moderated by Jake Tapper at Jackson State

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during a campaign event at the West End Community Development Center in Greenville Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019.Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to hold a CNN-televised campaign town hall at Jackson State University on March 18, part of a three-day swing through the South that will include stops in Memphis and Alabama, a source close to the campaign confirmed.

Jake Tapper, CNN chief Washington correspondent, will moderate the Jackson State event. It will begin at 8 p.m. and is open to the public.

She is expected to hold an event in Memphis on March 17 and in an unannounced city in Alabama on March 19, with more stops potentially scheduled between.

Gov. Bryant responds to Warren visit


NEWSMS – Legislature may adjourn early

The legislature may adjourn sooner than planned. With a fairly calm legislative session this year, Representatives and Senators may be able to go home earlier than the April 7th Sine Die deadline. Each day the legislature does not gavel in saves taxpayers over $30,000.

Longtime Representative Steve Holland says the legislature has a short calendar of bills left and if they buckle down, they can get it done quickly.

“I’m hoping that in a couple to three weeks max, we ought to be home,” said Holland.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden echoes Holland’s assessment of what’s left to be done this session saying they could get done as early as March 25th.

CLARION LEDGER – Capitol Alert: Uncertainty over the teacher pay raise, and a bill to help injured and sick first responders

How big of a raise will Mississippi teachers get? Legislative leaders cautioned this week a final amount still hasn’t been set, despite initial language that says it could be as little as $1,000 spread over two years. And they spiked a bill to extend a state program that uses public money to pay for private education for kids with special needs.

Lawmakers are also considering giving teacher assistants a raise. They play a critical role in the state, Bracey Harris reported this week, but most don’t even make $20,000 a year…

…First responder bill dead, then brought back to life. The legislation would help Mississippi’s cops and firefighters pay for medical bills that are related to their jobs. Some 47 other states already offer such benefits. The bill appeared to be dead. But then, it was suddenly brought back to life.

Gov. Bryant congratulates AP journalist Pettus on award


State Rep. Anderson continues jabs back at Governor on Twitter


CLARION LEDGER – State Rep. Stacey Wilkes: State universities have free speech problems – especially for conservatives, Christians

State Rep. Stacey Hobgood Wilkes, R-PicayunneAs the proud mom of a college graduate, I don’t need an academic study to tell me that the faculty and staff at many colleges are biased. Still, a 2016 study showed Democrats outnumbering Republicans 12 to 1 at 40 leading universities. A recent report also found that Mississippi universities are spending millions on diversity programs and operations, programs that another study showed have little to no measurable impact. I also know that conservative and Christian groups, in particular, are the targets of censorship and intimidation.

Free speech and basic First Amendment rights are not alive and well on college campuses. And this isn’t just in Berkeley, California, or Boulder, Colorado. It’s in Hattiesburg and Oxford.

Southern Miss has “free speech zones” that provide for maybe an acre or two where free speech is permitted. This is on a 1,000-acre campus.

Ole Miss’ campus is 3,500 acres, and their policies claim that student expression is allowed anywhere on campus under certain conditions. Yet the university has also set up three “speaker’s corners,” creating uncertainty and giving students the impression that free speech should really be limited to these areas.

Speech zones and speech corners are unconstitutional — pure and simple.

Congressman Guest introduces his first bill


MBJ – Bill Crawford: Hospitals closing and healthcare for working poor become campaign issues

Perhaps even more startling was this from an article in News Mississippi: “Four hospitals have closed in the past five years and five more are threatening closure. Expanding Medicaid would ensure that Mississippians continue to have access to local trauma centers and proper healthcare, however, (Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Senator Brice) Wiggins said the hospitals need to work it out on their own.”

“Work it out on their own.” Hmmm.

Public and private hospitals in Mississippi, excluding state and federally owned hospitals, employee over 50,000 people with average salaries of $46,700. Apparently, sustaining these high paying jobs in rural communities is not a state priority.

On the other hand, the state was willing to pony up $600 million in incentives to attract the Continental AG tire plant with 2,500 lower paying jobs.

MBJ – Jeff Amy – Analysis: Lawyers urged for parents in foster care cases

It sounds counterintuitive. But Mississippi officials say parents who are about to lose their children to child welfare authorities do better when they’re represented by lawyers in youth court. So officials are asking for more state money to pay for more lawyers.

Supporters of the plan, including state Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam and Child Protective Services Commissioner Jess Dickinson, spoke to lawmakers last week at the Capitol. They’re shaking the tin cup, urging legislators to squeeze a little more money out of $6 billion in state revenue next year for the program.

They’re asking for $312,000, which would replace foundation and federal government funding that helps pay for the program in 10 existing counties. Foundation and federal money, in turn, would be used to bring the lawyer program to 11 additional counties.