YP – Governor Reeves talks COVID, vaccine, Legislature and more with YP

Governor Tate Reeves spoke with Y’all Politics on the current state of COVID-19 after Mississippi saw a significant increase in cases over the last few weeks.

He also dove into his Executive Budget Recommendations, specifically his desire to see the four percent individual income tax removed, and what he expected a working relationship with a potential Biden administration would look like for Mississippi.

MSDH daily COVID-19 reporting

YP – Could the Mississippi Legislature delay its 2021 session?

The Legislature is set to return to the Capitol on January 5th to begin its 2021 session.  However, multiple sources in the Mississippi Senate have confirmed to Y’all Politics that discussions are being held between members on the possible delay of the start of the session due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19.

Mississippi is currently seeing its highest daily reporting of the virus since the pandemic began in Spring 2020.  Rollouts of vaccines could reportedly begin by year end for first responders and those most at risk, namely the older population and those in care facilities, per Governor Tate Reeves.  Vaccines for the general populace could be available by Spring 2021.

YP – Capitol events halted as Legislature set to return for 2021 session next month

The Mississippi Legislature is scheduled to return to the state Capitol in January, however this year, like the last, will be different given the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Usually, lawmakers are joined by business and special interest groups set up in the rotunda. These entities reserve space in the Capitol throughout the session to promote their interests, which many times have a direct correlation with what legislation lawmakers are working on.

A decision made by the Department of Finance and Administration who manage the reservations of these spaces has put a hiatus on this practice.

YP – Medicaid names Sam Atkinson as Deputy Administrator for Accountability and Compliance

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has named Sam Atkinson as the agency’s Deputy Administrator for Accountability and Compliance.

Atkinson, who previously served as Director of Audit Response Teams and Special Projects for the Office of State Auditor, will report to Drew Snyder, the Division of Medicaid’s executive director. In her new role, Atkinson will oversee the program integrity, external audit, internal audit, and compliance functions of the $6 billion dollar agency.

YP – Medicaid names Steve Stanic as Deputy Administrator and Chief Information Technology Officer 

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has named Steve Stanic as the agency’s Deputy Administrator and Chief Information Technology Officer.

Stanic previously served as Vice President/CIO of Mississippi Baptist Health Systems. In his new role, Stanic will be charged with advancing information technology strategy and delivery across a government agency with an annual budget of over $6 billion dollars. He will report to Drew Snyder, the Division of Medicaid’s executive director.

YP – Miss. Delegation Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Zeta

The Mississippi congressional delegation, which includes U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., Trent Kelly, R-Miss., and Michael Guest, R-Miss., today sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to approve Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’s request for a major disaster declaration for Hurricane Zeta.

The damage from the October 28 storm has put an additional strain on the state’s emergency response capability in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, warranting a federal response. If approved, the disaster declaration would unlock additional federal resources to supplement state recovery efforts.

YP – Congressman Guest joins 109 Republicans to Defend Minority Rights in the House of Representatives

Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) joined a group of 109 Republican Members in a letter to Committee on Rules Chairman James McGovern calling for the protection of the Motion to Recommit (MTR) from change by the Democratic Majority.

According to the letter, the “MTR is a critical procedural tool that gives the Minority party one last opportunity to improve legislation before a final vote on the House floor.” Recently, Speaker Pelosi and other leaders have discussed limiting or doing away with the MTR due to the Republican success in amending legislation passed in the House of Representatives. More than 10% of Republican MTRs were successful in the 116th Congress.

YP – AG Fitch, Dr. Dobbs warn Mississippians about possible medical marijuana scams

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and the Mississippi Department of Health urge consumers to use caution to avoid falling victim to medical marijuana scams. Since passage of Initiative 65 last month, the Attorney General’s Office has received questions about advertisements claiming to offer pre-registration for medical marijuana cards in Mississippi.

“As Mississippi’s chief legal officer, I will not allow companies to engage in fraudulent and deceptive business practices in our State,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “My office will remain watchful and continue to work closely with the Mississippi Department of Health to protect the health and safety of Mississippi consumers. We urge you to be wary of any promises to jump you to the head of the line for access to medical marijuana in Mississippi. It is too early for any company to guarantee those promises will be kept.”

WLOX – DMR hearing public comments on spillway relief funding plans

DMR hearing public comments on spillway relief funding plans

The 2019 openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway are still being felt here on the Gulf Coast a year later. But, you may have some input on the financial help that’s on the way…

…Right now, the DMR is working with NOAA to develop a spending plan for the relief funding. Public comments on that plan are being accepted until Monday, Dec. 14. Some funding proposals are available on the DMR’s web site.

WDAM – Saul, Rogers tied in Jones Co. Justice Court runoff with ballot under review

Saul, Rogers tied in Jones Co. Justice Court runoff with ballot under review

The runoff for District 2 Jones County Justice Court judge is now tied.

Sonny Saul and Noel A. Rogers are tied at 847 votes each with one ballot under review, according to Jones County Circuit Clerk Concetta Brooks.

The circuit clerk’s office has reached out to the Mississippi Attorney General’s office to get an opinion on if that potential tie-breaking ballot should be counted…

…Brooks said she is hoping to hear back from the Attorney General’s office Friday morning.

If it is determined that the one remaining ballot should be counted, a winner will be announced. If it is decided it should not be counted, the candidates will draw straws to determine a winner, according to Brooks.