Stay up-to-date on what’s in the news with the Y’all Politics Daily Roundup.

YP – Secretary Watson will not petition for rehearing by MS Supreme Court on initiative process

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson will be not petition the state Supreme Court for a rehearing of its decision regarding the initiative process by which Initiative 65 was put before voters in November 2020.

“Based on previous case law and the 6-3 margin of the decision, we believe the request would be an unsuccessful effort,” Watson said in a release.

Secretary Watson said he “strongly considered” appealing the court’s decision. However, he decided against it as it would give “a sense of false hope” and spend taxpayer dollars “to no avail.”

YP – PEER recommends changes to employer contribution rate in PERS

The Mississippi Legislative PEER Committee releasing its report titled 2020 Update on Financial Soundness of the Public Employees’ Retirement System on Thursday.

According to the report, “Financial soundness” should be defined not as a point-in-time comparison of assets and liabilities but as a multifaceted construct. The PERS Board, with assistance from its staff and other contractual advisers, endeavors to maintain the financial soundness of the plan.

PEER notes that over the past 5- and 10-year periods, the PERS actual average annual payroll increase has continued to remain below the actuarial model’s projected rate of salary increase (currently assumed at 3.00%). From FY 2010 through FY 2020, the ratio of active members to retired members decreased by approximately 33%, driven by the increasing number of retirees and the decreasing number of active members.

YP – Senator McMahan talks American Rescue act and dividing funds in Mississippi

McMahan sat down with Y’all Politics to discuss his thoughts further. He acknowledged that this was just a proposal and leadership could go a different direction, or more federal funds could be appropriated before the 2022 Legislative session.

McMahan also commented on a potential special session, saying the Senate is ready and waiting to pass a medical marijuana program through a bill like they did in 2021.

YP – Mississippi Lottery Corporation Announces New Leader

The Mississippi Lottery Corporation (MLC) Board of Directors announced today it has selected Jeffrey L. Hewitt to serve as President of the Corporation effective July 1, 2021.

“Jeff brings a lifetime of lottery experience and has been an integral part of MLC’s senior leadership during the startup phase,” said MLC Board of Directors Chairman Mike McGrevey. “I know the lottery will be well led as it enters its next chapter.”

Hewitt has served as the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of MLC since he was hired in June of 2019. He began his career with the Florida Lottery in 1987 and previously served in senior roles with the Georgia Lottery Corporation, as well as Scientific Games, Intralot and IGT Global Services, three of the major technology vendors in the lottery industry.

MSDH Daily COVID-19 Reporting

YP – MSDH Identifies Variant Strains of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facility Outbreaks 

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is reporting additional cases of two variant strains of COVID-19 in Mississippi.

Ten additional cases of the more infectious South African origin B.1.351 variant strain have now been identified, for a total of 12 cases. The 10 additional cases are associated with outbreaks in Bedford Care – Monroe Hall in Forrest County and Landmark Care of Collins in Covington County.

The South African variant cases associated with these outbreaks were breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated older individuals in long-term care facilities. The majority of these cases had minimal to no symptoms; however, two required hospitalization, and one person died.

YP – DPS: Rusty Clark Appointed as Director of the Criminal Information Center

Commissioner Sean Tindell announced the appointment of Rusty Clark to Director of the Criminal Information Center (CIC). The CIC is Mississippi’s primary conduit for information exchange with the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) system, other national data exchanges, and statewide law enforcement information exchange within Mississippi.

Clark is a seasoned law enforcement officer with 27 years of service. In his prior role, Clark served with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation as an investigator, district lieutenant, and MDOC liaison. Clark previously served as a Trooper and Accident Reconstructionist. Prior to joining the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Clark served with the Hattiesburg Police Department and the Gulfport Police Department.

YP – Hyde-Smith cosponsors ‘Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act’

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today joined Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to introduce the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, legislation drafted after the Biden State Department admitted the possibility that American taxpayer dollars could go to fund Hamas terrorists through U.S. aid to the Palestinians.

The Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act would require the President to certify to Congress that U.S. funds authorized to the territory of Gaza can be spent without benefitting terrorist organizations.

“Ensuring U.S. funding does not benefit terrorist organizations is in our national security interest and a duty to our allies. I have always been a strong supporter of the State of Israel, and remain committed to the relationship between our two nations,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in sponsoring legislation, which takes a strong stand against terrorism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel propaganda.”

Thompson questions actions in Adams County detention facility

YP – Wicker Introduces Legislation to Support U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Unwavering Support for our Coast Guard (USCG) Act. The legislation would

ensure Coast Guard personnel are paid in the event of a government shutdown and increase funding to eliminate the shore side backlog by 2025. The USCG Act would also direct a new fleet mix analysis, require an updated shore infrastructure plan, enhance Coast Guard diversity and inclusion, and provide funding to modernize the Coast Guard Yard.

“Over the past decade, the Coast Guard has taken on a greater number of missions to detect, deter, and disrupt threats to our seas and homeland, yet it remains underfunded and lacks necessary resources,” said Wicker.

WDAM – Sen. Wicker on Biden’s list of Republicans who ‘bragged’ about the American Rescue Plan

Sen. Wicker on Biden’s list of Republicans who ‘bragged’ about the American Rescue Plan

At an event Thursday, Biden commented that no Senate or House Republican voted for his $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was passed at the beginning of his presidency.

“I’m not going to embarrass anyone, but I have here a list of how, back in their districts, they’re bragging about the Rescue Plan,” Biden said before holding the list to the crowd.

Senator Roger Wicker (R, Miss.) was one of the names on the list, with it stating that Wicker “touted the restaurant revitalization fund.”

This in reference to Wicker’s RESTAURANTS Act, which provided $28.6 billion for restaurants that had struggled to keep business during the pandemic. This was included in the American Rescue Plan.