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

YP – COVID-19 Omicron variant confirmed in Mississippi

Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the state. The case is in a fully vaccinated individual who recently traveled to New York. The patient was not hospitalized.

Mississippi joins 16 other states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington) in the U.S. that have reported cases of Omicron.

“We were prepared for the appearance of this variant in Mississippi, and we need to remember that Delta is still a very active variant of COVID-19 currently in the state, as well,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

MSDH COVID-19 Reporting – For 3 Days

YP – Jones creating more than 200 jobs with a corporate investment of $40 million

Jones is constructing a new corporate headquarters facility in Hattiesburg. The company will invest $40 million in the project and will create more than 200 jobs.

“Jones’ decision to invest $40 million and create more than 200 jobs in Hattiesburg is yet another major economic win for Mississippi and further proof our state’s economy is thriving,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “It’s clear – Mississippi has the capable workforce and business-friendly environment companies need to succeed. My administration will continue to be unwavering in its commitment to increasing jobs that offer above average wages. With this project, that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Jones began over 70 years ago as Jones Lumber Company in southwest Mississippi. Today, the Jones portfolio of companies includes Big Black River, Codaray Construction, FV Recycling, Jones Logistics, Jones Lumber, Jones Power, Parade, PortaBull Fuel, PortaBull Storage, Rockport Terminals, Spot and Tax Advisors Group. These companies will be managed in the new 80,000-square-foot headquarters facility, which will be located in Midtown Hattiesburg across from the University of Southern Mississippi.

YP – MS Dept. of Revenue Tax Report Contains Fabricated Numbers

As Mississippi Legislators work toward eliminating the personal income tax, they are looking for ways to recoup the resulting reduced revenue.  One possible source is the elimination of various tax deductions, exemptions, and credits.

But a Bigger Pie Forum (BPF) analysis has found that the Department of Revenue’s official estimates of these deductions, exemptions, and credits are largely fabricated and should not be relied upon by the state Legislature.

Over the past 10 years, and perhaps longer, DOR has simply plugged in an arbitrary inflation adjustment, 2.5 percent in most cases, to arrive at its annual estimate of the cost to the state budget of most sales tax exemptions.

YP – Current, former officials remember Senator Bob Dole

Former U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole died Sunday in his sleep. He was 98.

Dole was a World War II veteran who was injured while serving his country. He returned to his Kansas home to heal, eventually running for Congress, where he served for 8 years, and then the Senate, serving for 27 years. He was the Republican leader in the Senate for 11 years and the Senate Majority Leader for 3 years. Dole was succeeded as Senate Republican Leader and Majority Leader by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott.

During his life of public service, Dole unsuccessfully ran for Vice President with Gerald Ford in 1976. He was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1996, losing to Bill Clinton. He also offered his name up for the presidency in 1980 and 1988, dropping out of the race early in the 1980 and then losing the nomination to George H. W. Bush in 1988. He resigned from the Senate in 1996.

MS Senator ARPA Committee continues hearings

YP – Hyde-Smith joins colleagues in introducing legislation renewing NASA property lease program

On Friday, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues in introducing the NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act of 2021 (S.3303). The legislation would renew an expiring National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) property lease program for two years.

The current NASA Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) authorization ends on Dec. 31, 2021, but the legislation would extend the program through Dec. 31, 2023.

The two-year extension of the NASA EUL program would allow Stennis Space Center, located near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and other NASA facilities to continue to lease underutilized properties.

YP – U.S. will resume ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy… for now

In December 2018, the Trump Administration created a new program called the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), often referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” program. MPP went into effect in 2019 and sent nearly 70,000 migrants back to Mexico. When President Joe Biden took office in 2021, the program was suspended and terminated.

At the end of last week the U.S. reached an agreement with the Mexican government to revive the MPP, as required by a federal court order. When the court injunction is lifted, the Department of Homeland Security (DHA) says the MPP will be terminated.

In June 2021, Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS 3), member of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas calling for transparency into the abrupt suspension of Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Guest stated that the Biden Administration likely failed to conduct a proper analysis or notify the appropriate stakeholders before the suspension took effect.

WJTV – $242K awarded to Mississippi Dept. of Human Services