Legislative briefs

Court district proposed

The state Legislature is redrawing judicial districts this year, House Judiciary A Chairman Mark Baker, R-Brandon, said.

One bill filed by Rep. Rita Martinson, R-Madison, would create a single circuit court district for Madison County. Currently, Rankin and Madison counties are combined in Circuit Court District 20.

The bill would create a 23rd Judicial District for Madison County. The proposal calls for Madison County to have two circuit judges. Currently, two circuit judges serve both counties.

If Madison County is placed in its own circuit district, it would mean an additional judge would be hired and other personnel appointed, under Martinson’s proposal.

Another bill would create a second chancery judge position for District Four, which consists of Amite, Franklin, Pike and Walthall counties.

Cochran super PAC shut down

Former state GOP Chairman Arnie Hederman a couple of weeks ago created a super PAC, GoMississippi, to help support U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and other Republican incumbents facing tea party primary challenges.

Last week, he shut it down.

Hederman’s partner in his lobbying firm, Austin Barbour, is also a partner in another firm, Strategic Partners, that has been hired by the Cochran campaign. Hederman, concerned this connection might cause a problem with Federal Election Commission rules over “independent party” expenditures in elections, shut down the super PAC.

Cochran so far faces tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, as a challenger in the June primary, and Democrat Bill Marcy of Vicksburg in the general election. Marcy, formerly a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. House in 2010 and 2012.

Clarion Ledger
1/12/14