WJTV – Speaker Gunn, House members reflect on legislative session

CLARION LEDGER – Mississippi lawmakers shocked they voted for $2 million more in private school vouchers

Advocates for a controversial school choice program secured a surprise win Thursday, with many lawmakers crying foul that $2 million more for private school tuition vouchers had been secreted into a larger, unrelated bill they passed.

The additional money for education scholarship accounts, often referred to as vouchers, was tucked away into into a list of $27.3 million worth of special construction projects approved by both chambers Thursday.

Many lawmakers expressed surprise and anger when they later discovered they had helped approve the spending. But House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said Senate leaders wanted the funding and that, “Everybody knew it was in there, if they read the bill.”

“The Senate made it known to us it was a priority of theirs, and they used discretionary money they had (in the big projects bill),” Gunn said.

WTOK – Abortion-rights groups sues Mississippi over ‘heartbeat’ law

The Center for Reproductive Rights Thursday expanded a lawsuit it filed last year challenging a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks’ pregnancy. A federal judge declared that law unconstitutional.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the heartbeat bill March 21, and it is set to become law July 1. It’s one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

Governor signs human trafficking bill


WLOX / WLBT – Where will money come from for $1,500 teacher pay raise?

The teacher pay raise amount is more than what leaders first said was feasible. So, where did they find more money?

“We thought just the $1,000 pay raise was going to be a little over $50 million,” explained Senate Appropriations chairman Sen. Buck Clarke. “And there was a little calculation error that there was some federally paid teachers that had been included in that. And so they were able to pull $12-13 million out of there. And so we more or less instantly said, well with the money we have, what kind of pay raise would that generate?”

That’s what led to the $1,500 dollar amount that the Senate took up first thing Thursday. Some of the debate was familiar.

Sen. Hyde-Smith questions Ed Sec. Devos on workforce training


Congressman Palazzo discusses Jones Act with Coast Guard Commandant


WLOX – Gulfport’s quest for new food/beverage tax dies in the Senate

Gulfport’s quest for new food/beverage tax dies in the Senate Gulfport voters won’t even get a chance to vote on a proposed three percent food/beverage tax. The local and private bill to hold a referendum died Thursday in committee.

Sen. Joel Carter of Gulfport told WLOX News the chairman of the Senate committee reviewing House Bill 1745 wouldn’t bring it to the floor for a vote.

The city was requesting the additional sales tax, which would mostly affect restaurants, so a new sports complex could be built.

Governor signs HB 1205


Speaker Gunn wishes best to Baria, Rogers in retirement


WAPT – Gluckstadt can become city, Madison County court rules

It’s been more than 2 years since Gluckstadt filed it’s first petition to be incorporated as a city. Canton city leaders filed a lawsuit earlier this year annexing some land that overlaps Gluckstadt boundaries. A ruling was made on both issues and some in Gluckstadt say they’re ready to see a change.