YP – Medicaid hangs in the balance as both chambers kill tech bills

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid hangs in the balance this Friday after the House and Senate killed both technical amendment bills on adjournment for the week.

Friday was the deadline for any bills held on a motion to reconsider to either be brought to back the floor or die on the calendar. Both Medicaid technical amendment bills were held on that motion, after passage on the floor Thursday. The House was considering SB 2799, which passed on a vote of 116 to 3, while the Senate had HB 1008 which passed 47 to 3.

After convening at 9:00am Friday, the House recessed subject to call of the chair. The reasoning, Speaker Gunn said, was to wait to see what business the Senate took up before moving forward.

When the Senate met, the chamber moved through their calendar taking up only a few items and ultimately leaving the Medicaid tech bill from the House to die. Knowing this, it remains unclear as to why the House also let the Senate’s version of the bill die.

MSDH daily COVID-19 reporting

YP – Kelly appointed to House Intelligence Committee

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) announced the appointment of new House Republicans who will be serving on the House Intelligence Committee during the 117th Congress. New members include Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Trent Kelly (MS-01), Darin LaHood (IL-18), and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02).

“Intelligence is the first line of defense in protecting our country against threats and foreign adversaries,” said Leader McCarthy. “Our civilian and military intelligence professionals do incredible work in gathering critical intelligence and deserve to have leaders on the Congressional intelligence committees who will match their level of dedication. I know that each of the members appointed today will be up to that task. Under Ranking Member Devin Nunes’ leadership, House Intelligence Committee Republicans will continue to play a pivotal role in staying ahead of the Chinese Communist Party threat, and will help keep the American people safe against ongoing and emerging threats.”

YP – Hyde-Smith announces $20.5 Million in COVID-19 Funding for MS Mental Health, Substance Abuse

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today announced the award of almost $20.5 million in COVID-19 funding to address mental health and substance abuse problems in Mississippi.

Specifically, the state will receive $12,938,191 in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) funding and $7,556,583 in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) funding.

“There is clear evidence that stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in a serious uptick in mental health and substance abuse cases.  These problems will not end with the pandemic, but could endure for years.  These grants will allow the state to improve its ability to address these issues,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee that funds federal health programs.

Wicker inducted into National Service Hall of Fame

YP – Wicker Encouraged by Vaccine Progress

After a long and challenging year battling the coronavirus, Americans can be encouraged that we are finally turning a corner in this pandemic. COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations have dropped significantly since their peak in January, giving states flexibility to begin lifting restrictions and mask mandates. Perhaps most importantly, our vaccines are proving to be a remarkable success. Two million Americans a day are now receiving a life-saving dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which have proven to be highly effective at preventing severe illness. A fourth vaccine made by AstraZeneca is expected to undergo FDA review soon. Based on these trends, the White House predicts we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American adult by the end of May – two months earlier than previously expected.

Experts have cautioned that we are not yet out of the woods. Doctors and nurses are now racing against the clock to immunize Americans as variant strains of the virus are beginning to spread. Even so, there is no mistaking how far we have come and the difference these miraculous vaccines are making.

WTVA – Candidate for Tupelo Ward 4 City Councilman, Gregg Humphrey, dies

Gregg Humphrey, a candidate for Ward 4 City Council race in Tupelo, died Thursday.

Humphrey, 64, was on the Democratic primary battle to face incumbent Nettie Davis.

The city of Tupelo posted on Facebook the ballots have been printed and absentee voting is underway…

…There is no Republican or independent candidate in the race, so it appears Nettie Davis will be reelected on April 6th.

MBJ – Bill Crawford: Biloxi legislators push innovative learning in schools

They may not have read Wolf’s essay or Sainsbury’s book, but two Biloxi legislators have bought into the notions that Mississippi needs science and skilled people to spur innovative economic growth and that government has a role in providing that.

Sen. Scott Delano and Rep. Kevin Felsher introduced bills to require “the study of computers, algorithmic processes, coding and logical thinking, including computer principles, their hardware and software designs, their implementation and their impact on society” in all K-12 schools. The House and Senate both passed similar versions of the Mississippi Computer Science And Cyber Education Equality Act. Felsher said he expected the House to concur with a Senate technical amendment which would assure final passage. The bill would then go to the Governor for final approval.