Stay up-to-date on what’s in the news with the Y’all Politics Daily Roundup.
YP – MDOT Executive Director Brad White talks Infrastructure Act, legislative agenda with Y’all Politics
MDOT Executive Director Brad White joined Y’all Politics on Thursday to give a brief overview of the Infrastructure Act (see interview below). He noted that the funds will flow through Federal Highway programs.
White also discussed MDOT’s legislative agenda ahead of the 2022 session and provided insight into the state agency’s operations at the outset of his tenure.
On a much smaller scale, recent state legislation has been helping to buttress funding for local communities’ infrastructure needs.
Passed by the legislature in 2018, the “Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act,” allows a share of use tax revenue — the tax on sales from out of state, such as Amazon purchases — to be diverted to cities and counties for repair, maintenance, and reconstruction of roads, bridges and water and sewer infrastructure. These revenues can then be used to back or provide a revenue stream for bond issues for infrastructure upgrades.
Under a 2019 opinion from the state attorney general, municipalities and counties may use funds to repay principal amounts on a bond sale where the proceeds were used for infrastructure purposes. Paying debt service on these type bonds was also seen as a viable use of funds.
MS Senate Energy Committee hears from internet service providers
President of AT&T Mississippi, Mayo Flynt, stated that internet traffic jumped 27% at the height of the pandemic.
In Flynt's presentation, he pointed out that though America's broadband networks met the challenge of the pandemic, it also highlighted the digital divide. #msleg
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) November 18, 2021
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., joined 48 other GOP senators in filing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge to stop President Joe Biden’s mandate requiring private businesses to require COVID-19 vaccines for their employees.
The Congressional Review Act is the official process for Congress to eliminate an Executive Branch rule. It will be filed immediately after the Biden administration issues its final rule.
The Biden administration rule mandates vaccines for all employees who work at private businesses with 100 or more workers. Employers that fail to comply will be fined $13,653 for each offense and a $136,532 penalty for willful violations.
On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Ranking Member on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, called attention to the abuse of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) by dictatorial and authoritarian regimes in a speech on the Senate floor.
The INTERPOL General Assembly will be held this weekend in Instanbul, Turkey, and will mark the 89th year the conference has taken place.
“On November 23, the International Criminal Police Organization, better known as INTERPOL, will begin its annual General Assembly in Istanbul. INTERPOL is a vital global law enforcement network that helps police from different countries cooperate with each other to control crime,” Senator Wicker said on Wednesday in a Senate floor speech.
MSDH COVID-19 Reporting
Today MSDH is reporting 380 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, five deaths, and 22 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. State #covid19 totals: 510,322 cases, 10,222 deaths, and 1,399,745 persons fully vaccinated. Full information: https://t.co/YCv9xPyJDk pic.twitter.com/7Obtla35Aw
— MS Dept of Health (@msdh) November 18, 2021
State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have made an arrest in Lamar County. Juanyana Holloway, a former deputy municipal clerk in the Town of Sumrall, was arrested after being indicted for fraud, alteration of records, and embezzlement by a local grand jury. Special Agents presented a $28,686.09 demand letter to Holloway upon her arrest. The demand amount includes interest and investigative expenses.
Holloway is accused of embezzling cash as Sumrall residents paid their water bills. To conceal her embezzlement scheme, Holloway allegedly did not include cash collections on daily bank deposit slips. From summer 2018 to summer 2020, Holloway purportedly took over $13,000 from the Town of Sumrall.
YP – U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca announces a $500,000 grant awarded to the JPD for additional police officers
U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca announced today that the City of Jackson Police Department (JPD) received an award totaling $504,310 from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program.
“This award will help the City of Jackson and it’s police department meet the need for additional police officers,” said U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca. “The fight against violent crime in the City does not end here. It is the beginning.”
Across the country, the COPS Hiring Program has awarded $139 million in new funding to 183 police departments across the nation.