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

YP – ‘Water, Sewer, Law Enforcement’ – Reeves urges Jackson to spend Federal COVID money wisely

Governor Tate Reeves and Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Sean Tindell,  discussed the DPS’ new initiative to increase its presence and visibility in Mississippi’s capital city.  While adjudication of crimes will still happen at the local and county level, the state of Mississippi is looking to be a force multiplier on the enforcement side, particularly in Jackson.

During the press conference, Gov. Reeves also stated that he is hopeful the Federal COVID money can be put towards things such as local law enforcement efforts.

“Let me dare make a suggestion . . . Please . . . Water, Sewer, Law Enforcement,” said Reeves in admonishing the City of Jackson and Hinds County to spend COVID money wisely.  “Everyone is quick to come to the state and beg for money. Well now they have almost $100 million.  I think all of us will be a lot more likely to look for avenues for the state to continue to help the city if they spent these moneys in a like manner.”

YP – How Donald Trump could force Twitter into submission

Whether you think the banning of Trump is a good or not, the precedent that social media companies have set is a disturbing one.  It is an amorphous and biased standard that is unevenly applied. With a relatively small number of votes deciding election contests in a nation of 328 million people, access to the most trafficked channels of communication in our society is a pre-requisite for political success…

…What the former President does still have is a database of millions of text users, users that that also have social media accounts themselves. That is the leverage point for Trump.

Twitter and Facebook have individual executives that make decisions but are publicly traded companies. Trump cannot force them to take him back because “it’s the right thing to do,” but he can hit them in the pocketbook and/or expose their uneven application of standards in such a way that they may not have a choice.

YP – Lawmakers say they could be ready for a Medical Marijuana special session by August

During a radio interview Wednesday morning, Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White (R-HD 48) indicated that the Legislature could be ready for a special session on medical marijuana by sometime in August.

In a call with Y’all Politics Wednesday afternoon, State Senator Kevin Blackwell also said he believed an agreement would be made by mid-August.

The decision on when to call a potential special session still lies with Governor Tate Reeves, who has stated he will only call the Special Session after lawmakers have hammered out details in advance. He indicated on Wednesday in a press conference that there were no current changes to that timeline.

YP – Does MSDH blocking social media comments create a First Amendment violation?

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is now blocking comments on its Facebook page that the agency deems misleading and “directly contrary” to the state’s public health mission. The state health officials say they are concerned at this time over the “rise of misinformation” about COVID-19 and vaccinations, noting that they will again allow comments once they can effectively quell the harmful commentary.

There appears to be a problem with this approach everyone seems to be glossing over out of want to back public health guidance as the pandemic wanes: Government agencies cannot engage in “viewpoint discrimination” on social media.

Up until now, the MSDH has allowed the public to comment and interact on its social media accounts, essentially using its Facebook page as a tool to disperse public information and receive public feedback. Hence, it has been a de facto public forum where Mississippians could exercise their First Amendment rights.

MSDH COVID-19 Reporting

YP – Governor Reeves sets special election for two Senate seats

Governor Tate Reeves has set the special election dates for two Mississippi Senate seats.

Both elections for Senate District 38 and Senate District 32 have been set for November 2, 2021. If there is a tie, a runoff will be conducted on November 23, 2021.

Both Senators resignation was effective June 30.

Reeves thanks National Guard for pandemic aid

YP – Wicker Presses Secretary of the Navy Nominee to Meet 355-Ship Fleet Requirement

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today pressed Mr. Carlos Del Toro, nominee to be Secretary of the Navy, on his commitment to meeting the national requirement for a 355-ship fleet after recent testimony from Navy leaders had shown President Biden’s budget request for the Navy to be inadequate.

YP – Hyde-Smith Calls for Greater Postal Service Accountability to Customers

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today stressed the need for greater accountability on the part of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in light of persistent and increasing customer service complaints.

Hyde-Smith, ranking member of the Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, cited problems experienced by Mississippians during a subcommittee hearing Tuesday to review the FY2022 budget request for the USPS Office of Inspector General and USPS Service Issues.

“We consistently hear about service issues and delivery delays.  My constituents in Mississippi have told me repeatedly about delayed or lost passports, and Social Security checks,” Hyde-Smith said.

YP – Wicker celebrates victory for religious freedom in nation’s capital

Miss. Senator led amicus brief supporting Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s challenge to coronavirus restrictions on services.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., celebrated the announcement that the government of District of Columbia had reached a favorable settlement with the D.C.-based Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) and its legal representatives. The church had filed a lawsuit in June 2020 challenging the District’s restrictions on gatherings at places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This settlement represents a great victory for religious freedom and the First Amendment in our nation’s capital city,” Wicker said. “I was glad to support Capitol Hill Baptist Church in its fight to protect those sacred rights and to ensure that no government unfairly targets religious groups.”

YP – Hyde-Smith votes against energy infrastructure plan, wants improvements as bill moves forward

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today voted against advancing energy infrastructure legislation due to its expansion of federal powers over states and private citizens as the nation strives for a more secure and resilient energy sector.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday marked up the Energy Infrastructure Act, a nearly 500-page bill authorizing $95 billion in new spending.  The committee voted 13-7 to advance the measure.

WTVA – Alabama elects first Black Republican to House in 140 years

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal has become the first Black Republican elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction.

Paschal on Tuesday won the special general election to fill House District 73 which was vacated when Matt Fridy joined the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

Paschal defeated Democratic candidate Sheridan Black.