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Mississippi Politics and News – Y'all Politics Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:31:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mississippi Politics and News – Y'all Politics 32 32 Palazzo Recognized As Conservative Champion by Family Research Council Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:00:11 +0000 Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) was awarded the “True Blue Award” by the Family Research Council for his support of voting to maintain traditional values during the first session of the 116th Congress.

“Since coming to Congress, it has been a priority of mine to promote strong family values through smart policies,” said Palazzo. “I will continue fighting to defend and support south Mississippi’s deeply held values as we continue this Congress. Thank you to the Family Research Council for recognizing this important work and my proven record to defend conservative values.”

“We thank Rep. Palazzo for voting to defend and advance faith, family, and freedom. As a ‘True Blue’ member, he voted 100% on FRC Action’s Scorecard, including to reinstate the Mexico City Policy that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion overseas and end taxpayer funding of fetal tissue research. He voted to reject the radical gender ideology that would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted to protect women, the military, homeless shelters, and public restrooms from this harmful ideology. He also voted to expand protections for conscience rights, reject the increasing acceptance of marijuana use, and confirm pro-life, originalist judicial appointments.

“Mississippians should be encouraged to know that they have a champion like Rep. Palazzo in Congress, who has consistently stood up for life, family, and religious liberty, helping to defeat many bad pieces of legislation while the Trump administration and many state legislatures have been advancing pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty policies,” said Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council.

Palazzo earned a 100% from the FRC based on his support or opposition of the bills found here.

Congressman Steven Palazzo Press Release


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Seven MS House Democrats endorse Bloomberg for President Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:22:56 +0000 Seven Democratic members of the Mississippi House endorsed former New York City Mayor and Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg on Thursday.

The lawmakers endorsing Bloomberg are:

  • Rep. Bo Brown of Jackson
  • Rep. Oscar Denton of Vicksburg
  • Rep. John Faulkner of Holly Springs
  • Rep. John Hines of Greenville
  • Rep. Abe Hudson of Shelby
  • Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray of Horn Lake
  • Rep. Cheikh Taylor of Starkville

This week, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin stumped for Bloomberg while in Southaven.

With the Democratic field narrowing following the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary, Bloomberg has yet to receive any delegates in the race for the party nomination.  As it stands, former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are leading the pack with 22 and 21 delegates, respectively.  The campaigns of former Vice President Joe Biden, once viewed as the front runner for Democrats, and Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren are floundering as South Carolina’s primary nears, with Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar making a surge as of late.

The seven Mississippi lawmakers endorsing Bloomberg were quoted in the campaign’s release shown below:

Rep. Bo Brown: “Mike was right for New York City, and Mike will be right for America! As mayor, he created over 400,000 jobs, expanded access to health care and worked to reform the criminal justice system. He has plans that will do the same things for all of us.”

Rep. Oscar Denton: “One of the toughest issues facing Mississippians is the high incarceration rates among young, black men. As mayor, Mike worked with law enforcement and the courts to lower incarceration rates by nearly 40% overall and 63% among youths. As president, Mike will bring proven sentencing, prison, bail and juvenile justice reforms to Mississippi and the rest of the country.”

Rep. John Faulkner: “Health care in this country is expensive and hard to get for many Americans. Here in Mississippi, we have an estimated 300,000 hard-working citizens who can not afford health insurance. Part of Mike’s health care plan will prioritize reforms in states like Mississippi, where Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid. We need someone like Mike who will help the most underserved.”

Rep. John Hines: “While Mike and I may not see eye to eye on everything, moving the needle on economic development and generational wealth will help our communities move forward overall. Mike is a self-made billionaire, but he knows that his success would have been a lot harder — probably impossible — if he was an African American. That’s why he has an aggressive plan called the Greenwood Initiative to break down systematic roadblocks through increasing black homeownership, black-owned businesses and federal investments in the 100 most disadvantaged neighborhoods in our country. He has proven his abilities to provide economic improvements to distressed communities, and he will leverage federal resources to turn depressed areas into thriving communities.”

Rep. Abe Hudson: “From the start, Mike Bloomberg has had my attention. Now, after making a real commitment to be in Mississippi, I am fully supporting his candidacy. He is a businessman who understands the pulse of the global economy, varied health care issues and complex environmental issues. Mississippians want to participate in a progressive campaign that really has the influence to improve the South. I think he is the candidate who has the outside-the-box thinking to engage Mississippians.”

Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray: “A lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, and I ran for the Legislature to fight for them. Mike has been fighting for these same people for years, as a mayor and as a philanthropist. He has given millions of dollars to improve underserved communities, and his policies as mayor reflected that same passion. As president, he will continue to make sure everyone has the opportunity for good jobs, affordable health care, safe communities and fair treatment from our government.”

Rep. Cheikh Taylor: “We need a nominee who can really take the fight to President Donald Trump. Mike Bloomberg not only can do it, he already is doing it. He has spent hundreds of millions of his own money holding Trump accountable for his awful record. Mike isn’t afraid. He’s a fighter. He can win in November, and beating Donald Trump is the most important thing in this election.”


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Bills to watch for the 2020 Legislative Session Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:00:17 +0000 Hoping to keep up with what is happening at the State Capitol this year? Look no further than the Y’all Politics bills to watch list. This list will be updated throughout the 2020 Legislative Session as bills die and survive.


SB 2001 – Teacher Pay Raise Bill

  • The bill was filed by Chairman of the Education Committee, Dennis DeBar. It will increase the base pay for Single A teachers from $35,890 to $37,000, which is a $1,110 raise. Other teachers will see a $1,000 raise in the coming year.
  • Passed in Senate Education and Appropriations Committees 
  • Passed in the Senate, transmitted to the House. 

SB 2002 – Wildlife Trafficking Prevention Act

  • This Act would prevent the purchase or sale of certain wildlife and tack on a civil penalty for doing so. The bill was authored by Sen. Jackson.

SB 2009 – Carly’s Law; Prevent future contact by sex offenders with victims

  • This bill, authored by Sen. Blackwell would prevent any future contact by a sex offender with their victim. This includes but is not limited to telephone, mail or in person. It would exclude any allowances made by the court on behalf of the victim.

SB 2040 – Create a smaller Legislature

  • This bill was filed by Sen. Blackwell and aims at reducing the number of Representatives from 122 to 99 and the number of Senators from 52 to 42. This would take effect in 2024, at the start of a new term.

SB 2045 – Flying of the Confederate Flag

  • This bill, filed by Sen. Seymour would require that the state of Mississippi flag, which contains the Confederate Battle Emblem, be flown by all government organizations. This would include colleges and universities. It also protects private citizens who choose to fly the flag.

SB 2047 – Mississippi Minimum Wage Act

  • Filed by Sen. Jackson, this bill would increase the current minimum wage of $7.25 to $7.50 on July 1 and then eventually moving to $10/hour by 2024.

SB 2055 – The Red Flag Law – firearms restraining order

  • Authored by Sen. Jackson of the 11th, this bill would create the Red Flag Law, a process by which a persons right to possess firearms can be restrained if the person is a danger to themselves or others.

SB 2062 – Require attendance for kindergarten-age children

  • Authored by Sen. Hopson, this bill would require that kindergarten-age children are required to follow compulsory school attendance at a licensed public, parochial, nonpublic or homeschool kindergarten program.

SB 2067 – Meritorious earned-time credited applied to parole eligibility

  • This bill written by Sen. Hopson would allow for meritorious earned time may be used to reduce the time required to be served for parole eligibility. It would also specify that only those offenders who are otherwise eligible may be allowed this reduction in time.

SB 2080 – Probation and parole officers; limit number of cases that may be handled.

  • This bill would cut down the number of cases and individuals a parole or probation officer could take on at one time. Authored by Sen. Hill, the bill would restrict that number to 100 max at any given time.

SB 2108 – Establish electronic application capability for college students in absentee voting

  • Authored by Sen. Blount, a student absentee elector would have access to submit an electronic absentee ballot application under certain procedures. The Secretary of State’s office would also be required to establish a secure internet website to permit student absentee electors to submit an electronic absentee ballot application.

SB 2112 – Ban the Box; eliminate criminal background checks upon job application

  • This bill would prohibit a public or private employer from inquiring or requiring the disclosure of a criminal record from an applicant for employment before that individual has been selected for an interview by the employer. If no interview is required before a conditional offer of employment is made, the bill would not apply. It was authored by Sen. Witherspoon.

SB 2115 – PERS; cap external investment management fees and require annual reporting

  • This bill would be added to the code sections in Title 25, Chapter 11 in which investment contracts and the fees attached shall be cut in half, effective July 1, 2020. It also provides that the amount saved be paid into the PERS expense fund during the ensuing year. The bill was authored by Sen. Angela Hill.

SB 2148 – Create the Mississippi Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • The intent of this bill is to combat pregnancy discrimination, promote public health and ensure full and equal participation for women in the labor force by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to women with conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or other. The bill requires things like reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and prevents them from discharging or transferring that employee. The bill was authored by Senator Turner-Ford.

SB 2174 – Evelyn Gandy Fair Pay Act

  • Authored by Sen. Turner-Ford, this bill has been brought to the Senate before. The goal would be to prohibit discrimination by industries by paying an employee less based on gender. It says “no employer shall discriminate in any way against any employees on the basis of sex by paying a salary or wage to any employee at a rate less than the rate paid to its employee of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility to perform.”

SB 2180 – Medicaid eligibility; revise to include certain disabled children.

  • Authored by Sen. McMahan this bill comes in light of many families being denied Medicaid coverage for their disabled children, after being approved in past years. It is unclear why these denials are suddenly happening by McMahan’s bill would increase the threshold to cover many of these families.

SB 2189– Vaping; prohibit possession of alternative nicotine products by those under 18.

  • The bill by Sen. Branning would prohibit any possession of a vape pen by anyone under the age of 18.

SB 2257 – State Auditor; authorize to examine tax returns necessary for auditing certain federal benefits.

  • This bill would authorize for the State Auditor’s office to have the authority to to access the tax records of individuals who draw on public assistance programs, as well as the entities themselves.
  • Bill passed the Finance Committee 
  • Bill was passed on the Senate Floor 
  • Bill was transmitted to the House


HB 21 – Increase salary of statewide elected officials

  • Authored by Rep. Lamar, this bill would raise the salary for the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House to sixty-thousand dollars annually until January 1 of 2024. After that time the bill proposes that the salary for the two positions be raised to ninety-thousand dollars annually. It also calls for an increase of other statewide official salaries like the Governor, AG, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Insurance, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Transportation and Public Service Commissioners after Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Rep. Currie has a similar bill in HB 222.

HB 50– Restore right to vote after all sentencing completed

  • This bill would allow for every person in the state to qualify again for county, municipality and voting precinct of his or her residence and shall be entitled to vote in any election they see fit after all sentencing requirements are met.

HB 69– More funding for State Department of Mental Health crisis units

  • One bill authored by Rep. Clark would allow additional funding to the State Department of Mental Health for crisis stabilizing units and outpatient services in the sum of $10 million. This money would come in addition to the budget dollars for the department.

HB 111- Remove statute of limitations for crimes against children

  • This bill would remove the civil statute of limitations for abuse that is committed against a child. The would cover any misdemeanor or felony abuse or battery against a child including sexual assault. The bill was authored by Rep. Paden and Clark.

HB 166- Authorize firearm possession for nonviolent felons in their homes and cars

  • This bill authored by Rep. Burnett would allow for nonviolent felony offenders to posses firearms or any other weapons like varying types of knives. This would exempt these individuals form the original statute that would not allow felons to poses a firearm.

HB 170– Require Governor and Division of Medicaid to negotiate and obtain federal waiver to expand Medicaid

  • This bill, authored by Rep. Clark, would require those listed to enter into negotiations with the federal government to then gain a waiver of applicable provisions of the Medicaid laws and regulations to create a plan to allow for the expansion of coverage in the state.

HB 193– Mississippi River Delta Promise Zone Act of 2020

  • This bill would establish the act which would provide counties that make up the ‘promise zone’ with the assistance of the Mississippi Development Authority and to use a regional approach to developing opportunities to increase job growth and offer new incentives for business development. The bill was authored by Rep. Hines.

HB 265 – Establish that state officials salaries shall not exceed those of adjacent states

  • Authored by Rep. Read, this bill outlines what the annual salaries of elected officials shall be. It also instructs that all state position salaries, minus the governor, shall be set by the Legislature beginning July 1, 2021. It puts the responsibility of outlining these salaries on the State Board of Personal.

HB 272 – Dog and cat abuse, reporting must meet FBI guidelines

  • This bill would fall in line with Mississippi’s act to create a felony first offense on any dog or cat abuse. It would clarify the reporting requirements to meet those outlined by the FBI which include a second offense to require no less than three years in prison and a fine no less than $1,000. The bill was authored by Rep. Zuber.

HB 358 – Teacher salary; increase base salary of beginning teachers to $40,000/yr.

  • This bill would increase the base pay of beginning teacher salaries to $40,000. The teacher pay raise bill in the Senate would increase that base pay to $37,000 while also providing a raise for all teachers of $1,000. The bill was authored by Rep. Hopkins.

HB 497 – Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol; increase salaries of sworn officers by $10,000.00.

  • The bill authored by Rep. Harness would require for all officers of the Mississippi Highway Patrol be afforded a $10,000 raise. It would begin for the FY2021-2022 year and continue thereafter.

HB 813 – Establish State Correctional Facilities Monitoring Unit

  • Authored by Rep. Cockerham, this bill would create a unit within the Department of Public Safety responsible for monitoring the operations of MDOC.

**UPDATED 2/14/2020**

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Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Presents 2020 Agenda Fri, 14 Feb 2020 15:30:15 +0000 The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) presented their policy agenda for 2020 on Wednesday. The caucus’ purpose is for the “advancement, and when necessary, the defeat, of legislation impacting Mississippi’s African American population,” and consists of members of the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives.

As for healthcare, the MLBC acknowledged heir “failure” in the past to implement adequate healthcare reforms because there is not an easy solution. They do, however, hope to see the expansion of Medicaid in the near future. The MLBC claims that Mississippi is one of fourteen states in the Union that are “refusing” to expand Medicaid to the citizens of the state and that Mississippians’ health and finances will continue to worsen because of it. Secondly, the MLBC would also like to see the state look into the infant mortality and maternal health crisis. Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate, as well as the fact that black Mississippi women are three times more likely to die from child birth complications. The last piece of policy related to healthcare covered the welfare of Mississippi seniors and the disabled, noting that the State’s elderly population is growing and it is up to the Legislature to make sure that they have the best possible healthcare available to them due to the fact many are unemployed. The MLBC’s legislative action pertaining to healthcare will include (but are not limited to):

  • Introduce and seek to advance legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives expanding Medicaid coverage to all Mississippians earning below 133% of the federal poverty level.
  • Oppose barriers to access. Unnecessary co-pays, illegal work and fraudulent reporting undermine the health and well-being of all Mississippians.
  • Oppose any effort to turn Medicaid into a block grant. Block grants are nothing new. Simply stated, block grants are just another way to cut Medicaid.
  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives that extends maternal Medicaid coverage to twelve (12) months after the end of a pregnancy.
  • Ensure access to substance use and mental health services for pregnant and postpartum women, including community-based, Telehealth and faith-based care.
  • Provide community-based home-visitation and pregnancy support services to low income mothers and children.
  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives that offers qualifying seniors benefits under Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). For people who are eligible, PACE’s comprehensive service package enables them to remain in their community rather than receive care in nursing, convalescent or personal care homes. Other benefits of PACE include capped financing for the program, which allows providers to deliver virtually all of the health services the participants need.
  • Advocate for sufficient funding to eliminate the waiting list for Medicaid’s Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program

The MLBC’s education agenda consisted of making sure public schools are being properly funded, addressing the “teacher shortage” crisis, and also addressing the steadily lowering number of college-educated graduates. The MLBC says that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) has continually had problems, but the biggest issue is underfunding. The MAEP was originally set up to “provide equitable funding to all local school districts,” and was to make sure every child in Mississippi received a quality education, regardless of their zip code. In 2007, the Mississippi Department of Education issued 7,620 teacher licenses, but in 2017, only 603 licenses were given out. In 2014, 1,578 Mississippi students at a Mississippi College graduated. In 2018, that number dropped to only 936. The MLBC’s legislative action pertaining to education will include (but are not limited to):

  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives that calls for funding of each public school district in the State of Mississippi according to Mississippi law.
  • Mandate the Legislature dedicate 25% od year over year revenue growth toward the funding of MAEP
  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives to allow for up to ten percent (10% non-certified teachers in core areas. Implementing this change in the law will allow public schools to be more closely aligned with the twenty-five (25%) standard applicable to Mississippi’s charter schools.
  • Allow teachers with passing Praxis scores in certain subject areas to be certified to teach in those areas regardless of their scores in other subject areas.
  • Modify the ACT requirement to allow teacher certification if a student has an ACT score of 21 or a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Strive to increase teacher pay to the southeastern average and develop a plan to ensure teachers’ rate of pay will remain consistent with the southeastern average.
  • Advocate for tuition forgiveness for educators who teach in economically depressed areas for a minimum of five (5) years.
  • Eliminate the Teacher recognition Program and use the $24 million associated with it to hire more teachers in low performing districts or increase teacher pay.

Regarding economic justice, the MLBC says they “have been committed to the progress and financial empowerment of African Americans throughout the State of Mississippi.” The MLBC considers the fact that Mississippi is the only state without a law(s) that prohibit discriminatory lending a critical issue. Legislation must be passed to prohibit this act, as well as to keep financial institutions other than banks from participating in this discriminatory practice. The adoption of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (which helps preserve inherited land and makes sure it all is in the ownership of the inheritor and out of the hands of real estate speculators), increased funding to Mississippi’s historically black colleges, disparity studies, employer-based lines of credit, small contactor exemption on performance bonds, small business inclusion of hemp production, equal pay laws, and childcare tax credits are all important to the MLBC this session and forward. The MLBC’s legislative action pertaining to economic justice will include (but are no limited o):

  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives to promote transparency and establish remedies at law to penalize financial institutions engaging in dissimilatory lending.
  • Codify the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) to help preserve the wealth of Mississippi families and increase opportunities for real property to be passed to the next generation. The UPHPA establishes a set of law and procedures to define heir property and allow those properties to be partitioned for ultimate sale or ownership. Codifying the UPHPA will improve the negative impact partition sales tend to have on a broad cross section of poor and disadvantaged minorities.
  • Introduce legislation to implement disparity studies, employer-based lines of credit, small contractor exemption on performance bonds, small business inclusion in hemp production and child care tax credits

Just as everyone is talking about criminal justice/prison reform, the MLBC also released their criminal justice agenda. The MLBC plans to confer with agency directors, advocacy groups, law enforcement officers, etc. to determine the best solution for the State’s current problems regarding the justice system. The caucus is looking to see the release of incarcerated person’s for non-violent offences and juveniles sentenced to life without parole, and to examine the habitual offender laws to be modified. They also called for the halt of deaths occurring at traffic stops and other “random” locations with law enforcement officers, not only in the State, but Nation-wide. The MLBC’s legislative action pertaining to criminal justice will include:

  • Devise a plan to introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives that balances the release and re-entry of individuals in MDOC custody with matters of public safety, overcrowding and under-staffing.
  • Advocate for protocols for use of body worn cameras by law enforcement agencies.
  • Implement civil penalties for the possession of a quantified or designated amount of marijuana.
  • Oppose any and all efforts to implement legislation commonly referred to as “gang bills” that criminalize activity that is otherwise lawful or the enforcement of which promotes racial profiling.

The final piece of policy on the MLBC’s agenda was election reform. The caucus acknowledged that Mississippi has come a long way with its voting laws and that it “was ground zero for instituting the voting rights we have access to today.” That said, they claimed the State still has many “hurdles” and that there must be policy introduced to take them down. The MLBC’s legislative action pertaining to election reform will include:

  • Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives to implement “no-excuse early voting” for the purpose of expanding voter access to the polls, improve poll worker performance, and increase voter satisfaction. (Thirty-nine (39) states already have early voting in place)
  • Implement online voter registration, which has been shown to reduce the chances of errors, make registration easy, and be far les expensive than paper systems in the states that have it.

Introduce legislation in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives to restore voting rights for people who have completed their time of incarceration and been released from the

Stone Clanton, Reporter for Y’all Politics

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Clergy for Prison Reform urge lawmakers to pass corrections reform bills Fri, 14 Feb 2020 14:00:34 +0000 As lawmakers decide what to do with the struggling corrections system, members from the Clergy for Prison Reform organization met at the Capitol on Thursday to share their hopes for prison reform before the end of the 2020 Legislative Session.

Mayor of Magnolia, and formerly incarcerated Dr. Anthony Witherspoon, spoke of the great need to forumlate a progressive agenda that will attempt to reduce the overcrowded population in the prison system.

“We fully support the Legislative agenda that was rolled out by Sen. Turner-Ford and the Legislative Black Caucus with their efforts to reduce recidivism and those bills that are sponsored by Sen. Juan Barnett, SB 2123,” said Witherspoon.

However, he said they are still only small steps. He believes that the Legislature should put their full support toward rehabilitation. He added that work needs to be done to remove the barriers put in front of released inmates to become productive citizens.

“One thing I haven’t lost is my hope,” said Pauline Rogers, but she said many inmates have lost theirs. Rogers was also formerly incarcerated. “What we intend to do, we need to speed up the pace. The Lord forgave me and he will also forgive you.”

Rogers said she hopes Legislators revisit HB 585 (passed in 2014) and pass SB 2123 that was brought forth by Sen. Barnett.

One speaker, Will Harrell who serves as a civil rights attorney and Director of the Justice Collaborative based out of New Orleans, spoke of what he called a “horrific experience” in Thursday’s Senate Corrections meeting.

“One of the representatives of the Department of Corrections stood up and bestowed the virtues of their horticulture program. I sat there thinking, people are being stabbed to death in the prisons of Mississippi and we are listening to the virtue of a horticulture program and it demonstrated to me the disconnect of this agency,” said Harrell. He said he believes the state should create a third party entity, tasked with providing oversight and reviewing the climate in which inmates live.

He added that when sending someone to these facilities, how can you expect them to come out as a rehabilitated person when they are simply concerned with survival.

“No prison system should operate behind closed walls,” said Harrell. Besides overall conditions of areas like Unit 29, The MDOC continues to struggle with filling officer positions to maintain order within prisons.

Harrell said you can look at the problem from two angles, hire enough officers or allow more prisoners to be released contingent upon parole.

CEO Wesley Bridges wrapped up the press conference by reminding people that the bible says to remember prisoners as if we ourselves are also imprisoned.

Clergy for Prison Reform (CPR) is a group of faith leaders in Mississippi who believe the criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform. Members include faith leaders of different races, denominations and ideologies.

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YP Daily Roundup 2/14/20 Fri, 14 Feb 2020 13:41:31 +0000 It’s Valentine’s Day, and that means #mslegvalentines on Twitter

Follow the hashtag today for some Valentine’s fun. Here are few notable mentions from previous years…

YP – Wicker, Hyde-Smith vote against limiting President’s war powers in Iran

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) sponsored the measure that passed in a 51-45-4 vote Thursday.  Republican Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jerry Moran, Lamar Alexander, Bill Cassidy and Todd Young voted to approve the action, while Democrats Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bennet did not cast a vote.

Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, voted against the resolution, S.J. Res. 68, which would prohibit military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

7 MS legislators endorse Bloomberg for President

CSpire’s computer science in schools initiative gains traction in MS Senate with bill filing

YP – If Mississippi is going to deregulate wine sales, let’s do it all the way

There is a well-moneyed effort percolating in the Mississippi legislature to allow wine sales in grocery stores.  Sounds simple enough.  But the regulatory underpinnings make this a lot more complicated that meets the eye.

First, it’s important to understand how wine and liquor are regulated.  Every drop of legal hooch in Mississippi goes through the ABC – The Alcoholic Beverage Commission which is a division of the Mississippi Tax Commission.  It all comes through a warehouse in the metro Jackson area and can then be distributed to ABC licensed retailers…

…Wine in grocery stores is something that’s a convenience and something that in the end analysis is a good thing.  But a sense of fair play says that it’s something that at the very least should be phased in so that the current licensed retailers whose stores are often their only source of revenue aren’t screwed in the process.

Gov. Reeves hosts Ambassadors for Uzbekistan

Congressman Thompson takes issue with Trump, Barr; calls them “clowns”

NEWSMS – Bill to provide equal benefits to National Guard and Reserve introduced in Congress

Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo, California Congressman Mike Levin, and Ohio Congressman Mike Levin have announced the introduction of the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2020.

The bipartisan legislation would provide parity in GI Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves who increasingly conduct similar training and missions as other servicemembers, but do not receive equal benefits.

The bill was also introduced by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

YP – Congressman Guest denounces bill to protect criminal from deportation

SUNHERALD – McClatchy files bankruptcy to shed costs of print legacy and speed shift to digital

McClatchy was founded more than 162 years ago and has won more than 50 Pulitzer Prizes.

McClatchy Co. filed for bankruptcy Thursday, a move that will end family control of America’s second largest local news company and hand it to creditors who have expressed support for independent journalism.

The Chapter 11 filing will allow McClatchy to restructure its debts and, it hopes, shed much of its pension obligations. Under a plan outlined in its filing to a federal bankruptcy court, about 55 percent of its debt would be eliminated as the news organization tries to reposition for a digital future.

The likely new owners, if the court accepts the plan, would be led by hedge fund Chatham Asset Management LLC. They would operate McClatchy as a privately held company. More than 7 million shares of both publicly available and protected family-owned stock would be canceled.

MS PSC Commissioners hit the Hill in D.C.

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Palazzo Joins Lawmakers to Introduce Bill to Provide GI Bill Benefit Parity Thu, 13 Feb 2020 21:00:28 +0000 Today, U.S. Representatives Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Mike Levin (D-CA), and Tim Ryan (D-OH)announced the introduction of the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2020, bipartisan legislation to provide parity in GI Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves who increasingly conduct similar training and missions as other service members, but do not receive equal benefits. The bill was also introduced by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Since 9/11, the Reserve Component has become an integral part of U.S. defense plans as an operational reserve, a change from its traditional role as a strategic reserve. Service members from the Active and Reserve Components often train and serve alongside each other, such as deployments to disasters like wildfires, but do not receive equal benefits. The Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act would start to address this benefits disparity by expanding eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill to count every day that a service member is paid and in uniform toward benefit eligibility.

“Our men and women serving in the National Guard and Reserves are trained to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice and are oftentimes performing the same duties as their active-duty counterparts without receiving equal benefits,” said Rep. Palazzo. “I firmly believe that these individuals carrying out equally demanding and risky responsibilities should be appropriately compensated. This is about fairness and ensuring our Guardsmen and Reservists get the benefits they earned.”

“If members of the Guard and Reserve do similar jobs and face similar risks as other service members, then they deserve the same benefits,” said Rep. Levin, Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. “This commonsense legislation will finally bring basic fairness for service members who spend months away from family and risk their lives for our country, but have not received the benefits they deserve. I’m proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and look forward to advancing it in the House.”

“Our service members prove themselves daily serving our nation, and they should be compensated daily as well. That’s why a day on active duty should count as a day toward their GI benefits,” said Congressman Ryan. “Nothing can truly repay our service members for their sacrifices, but this bill is an important step towards fairly compensating military men and women.”

“Members of the National Guard and Reserve deserve GI benefits that reflect their increased services to our nation,” said Senator Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “These folks continue to answer the call of duty, and have been waiting years for the government to do right by them. Our bipartisan, bicameral bill addresses this inequity, and follows through on our commitment to ensure these men and women receive the education benefits they have earned and deserve.”

“We could not provide for our national defense if it were not for the service of our guardsmen and women,” said Senator Blackburn. “From protecting our southern border to aiding in the wake of national disasters, our National Guard and Reserve components serve an integral role in our military community, and they ought to be fully compensated for their service each and every day they wear their uniform.”

“The men and women of the National Guard work tirelessly alongside their active-duty and reservist counterparts, often accomplishing the exact same mission but receiving very different benefits,” said Daniel Elkins, Legislative Director with EANGUS. “The Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2020 will help ensure fair and equal treatment to all service members, regardless of duty status.”

Palazzo is Vice-Chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus and a member of the Mississippi National Guard.

Congressman Steven Palazzo Press Release


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Wicker, Hyde-Smith vote against limiting President’s war powers in Iran Thu, 13 Feb 2020 20:09:30 +0000 Eight Republicans in the U.S. Senate crossed over and voted with the Democratic minority to support a Joint Resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.

Essentially, this action seeks to limit President Donald Trump from ordering future strikes against Iran without first seeking Congress’s explicit permission. Democrats have sought to restrain President Trump’s powers following the strike that killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) sponsored the measure that passed in a 51-45-4 vote Thursday.  Republican Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jerry Moran, Lamar Alexander, Bill Cassidy and Todd Young voted to approve the action, while Democrats Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bennet did not cast a vote.

Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, voted against the resolution, S.J. Res. 68, which would prohibit military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In a statement, Sen. Wicker said, “Peace is best achieved through strength. Tying the President’s hands would be the wrong move especially with heightened tensions across the Middle East. At this pivotal moment, the President needs the ability to act quickly and not to be micromanaged by Congress.”

President Trump is expected to veto the measure if it makes its way to his desk.  The U.S. House has not acted on the resolution as of yet, but it is expected to pass as Democrats hold the majority under Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Neither chamber would appear to have the votes to override a Presidential veto.

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Bill of the Day: You can carry your gun, but you can’t carry your knife Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:30:37 +0000 So, you took the class, passed the background check and received your concealed carry license through the state of Mississippi. Now you’re ready to take your firearm (almost) anywhere you go. While you might be able to carry a loaded weapon with this license, if this bill passes you’ll have to leave your knives at home.

The bill reads: 

If any person, having or carrying any * * * sword, sword-cane, or any deadly weapon, or other weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited by Section 97-37-1, shall, in the presence of another person, brandish or wield the same in a threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, or shall in any manner unlawfully use the same in any fight or quarrel, the person so offending, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding three (3) months, or both.

Rep. Henry Zuber

Authored by Rep. Zuber, HB 451 would prevent someone who poses a concealed carry license from also carrying a blade with them. Upon conviction the individual could be subject to a fine of no more than $500, three months in jail, or both.

The code section in which Zuber is attempting to amend also regulates the possession of a firearm or weapon by a convicted felon. The law is to be upheld by the Department of Public Safety.

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Governor Tate Reeves Sets Special Election for House District 88 Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:22:34 +0000 Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced that a special election will be held on April 21 to fill the vacancy in House District 88.

The qualifying deadline for District 88’s special election is March 2. If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast on April 21, there will be a runoff election held on May 12.

Governor Tate Reeves Press Release


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