Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mississippi News Notes: Week Ending Mar 12, 2015

Both of these bills are now dead:

House Bill 738 would have required Attorney General Jim Hood to get approval from an oversight commission before starting cases that would seek more than $250,000 in damages and legal fees. The bill previously passed by a margin of one vote but was held for more debate.
House Bill 1386 would have set aside more than $50 million for road and bridge improvements. The money would have come from a settlement with British Petroleum for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill passed by a margin of 81 votes but was held as lawmakers debated where in the state to focus the repairs.

The Governor of Mississippi announced he is supporting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

This endorsement comes on the day Cruz visited the Magnolia state before Mississippi’s primaries.
Cruz made a stop at Berry’s Seafood in Florence, MS Monday afternoon. Cruz was scheduled to speak in the Pine Belt on Monday but canceled that appearance Sunday because of an illness.

Gov. Phil Bryant has ordered for flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Reagan died Sunday at the age of 94 from congestive heart failure at her Los Angeles home. Former President Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004.
The executive order on the flags was issued Monday.
He said the First Lady was known for her elegance and her “Just Say No” to drugs campaign.
Bryant asked for all U.S. flags and state flags to be flown at half-staff on all buildings belonging to the State of Mississippi and other areas under its jurisdiction. The flags should be lowered immediately and will remain that way until Sunset on the day she is laid to rest.

The Mississippi Department of Education has awarded a $1.2 million grant for math teachers in public schools.

The grant has been given to the University of Mississippi Center for Mathematics and Science Education. It will fund a development initiative that will help 120 math teachers across the state over the next three years.
The initiative is called Creating Continuity and Connections across Content of C4 Project. The goal is to improve students achievement in math from kindergarten to eighth grade

Jackson County supervisors on Monday afternoon voted to keep flying the state flag on county property and at county buildings.

The vote was 4-1.In a resolution, they referred to a previous statewide vote 2001 to keep the flag and said that until the state addresses the issue, the county will continue to fly the flag.
Board President Melton Harris, who is black, strongly opposed the vote. The others, who are white, Barry Cumbest, Troy Ross, Ken Taylor and Randy Bosarge voted for it. Read more here:

Pearl River County: Where Do My taxes Go:

Melanie Sojourner:

Republicans in MS Congressional District 3...
We've all been so focused on the presidential race we haven't discussed the House races.
Harper has one of the worst conservative scores of all House Republicans. He has not been fighting for us.
He'll win by a landslide today because, everyone knows he's name and no one has discussed his record. It's time we do so! He is a part of the DC problem!



Last week the Mississippi House passed a bill that would allow any licensed U.S. physician who has examined a child to grant a medical exemption from the vaccines required for school and licensed day cares.

To stay alive, the bill must pass out of Senate health committee by March 22 and be considered by the full Senate by March 30.
Current law requires exemptions to be submitted by Mississippi-licensed pediatricians, family physicians and internists, who have examined the child, and approved by the health department’s district health officers, who are licensed physicians. The health department has said it is willing to work with out-of-state physicians.
Mary Jo Perry, co-director of Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, said that the state’s laws are out of step with practices in the rest of the country and add unnecessary hurdles for parents and physicians.

The latest fascination by the Tupelo City council with the possibility of a downtown entertainment district would likely stir relatively little concern or controversy did it not include legal strolling around with alcoholic beverages in certain areas.

Tupelo, in various guises, has flirted with that idea for many years, but has never fully embraced the concept.
A bill in the Mississippi Legislature, if approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, would allow Tupelo to have an entertainment district.
The bill passed the state House last week, and it must pass the Senate in identical form before it goes to the governor for his signature.
If approved, the designation of a leisure and entertainment district would allow customers to walk out of establishments with alcoholic beverages. It also could foster the sale of liquor and mixed drinks at festivals.

Crews are working across the city of Jackson, making repairs on streets that have been backlogged since 2007.

The utility cut repairs are part of the Operation Orange Cone initiative that addresses problem areas on roads in the city.
“This is Jackson’s 1 percent dollars at work,” said Mayor Tony T. Yarber. “In coming weeks, Jackson citizens will see the City break ground on a number of projects included in the City’s infrastructure improvement plan.”
Operation Orange Cone was launched in 2015 as part of the Yarber Administration’s push to address the condition of the city’s streets and eliminate the presence of orange cones throughout the city where potholes exist.
While this initiative was first discussed in relation to the 1% Sales Tax program, it is part of the City’s Bold New Infrastructure Improvement Program.

The Department of the Navy and Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, broke ground March 2 on a large-scale solar facility at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.

The facility will have roughly 13,000 panels, providing enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450 homes. To be installed on 23 acres of base land, the facility will generate up to four megawatts of direct current power once operational. Mississippi Power estimates grid connection by the end of 2016.


MS01: Incumbent freshman Republican Congressman Trent Kelly defeated challenger Paul Clever 89-11. Kelly will meet Democrat Jacob Owens in the general election.
MS02: Neither party's candidate was opposed. Incumbent Democrat Congressman Bennie Thompson will face Republican John Bouie in the general election.
MS03: Incumbent Republican Congressman Gregg Harper defeated challenger Jimmy Giles. Democrat Dennis Quinn defeated Nathan Stewart 66-34. Unofficial results show Harper, who was first elected, with a wide lead over Giles (89-11), a beekeeper. Giles is also a white supremacist and supporter of Donald Trump. Both men are Pearl residents. In November, Harper will face the winner of a Democratic primary Tuesday between Dennis C. Quinn and Nathan Stewart, as well as Reform Party member Lajena Sheets.
MS04: Neither party's candidate was opposed. Incumbent Republican Congressman Steven Palazzo will face Democrat Mark Gladney in the general election.

A South Carolina lawmaker, who should stay out of Mississippi’s business, is joining other black leaders in calling for Mississippi to change the last state flag that includes the Confederate battle emblem.

Democratic Rep. Justin Bamberg spoke Tuesday to more than 200 people at a change-the-flag rally outside the Mississippi Capitol — an event organized by attorneys suing Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in federal court. The suit asks a federal judge to declare the flag an unconstitutional vestige of slavery.
"If your governor needs to see an example of what it means to lead as governor, maybe he should look at South Carolina's very own Republican governor, Nikki Haley," said Justin Bamberg, who is from the same hometown as Haley.

A bill that would cut state revenues by $575 million over the next 15 years is on its way to the House.

S.B. 2858, otherwise known as the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act of 2016, eliminates the corporate franchise tax, reforms the state’s self-employment tax and creates a five percent flat individual income tax.
The bill is aimed at cutting the state taxes by about 575 million dollars over the next 15 years and was passed by the Senate by a vote of 38 to 10, yesterday.
Republican Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He says cutting the taxes would allow for greater state revenue growth in the form of sales taxes.

The Mississippi state flag no longer flies at the Oregon Capitol.

The flag was removed from the Capitol's Walk of Flags display, which included all 50 states and the flags of Oregon's nine federally recognized Native American tribes.
The presiding officers in the Oregon House and Oregon Senate sent a letter to their counterparts in Mississippi to notify them of the action this week.

Local legislators are working on bills that focus on the area they represent and are facing a legislative deadline in April.

Both Sen. Sally Doty and Rep. Becky Currie have bills and efforts concerning the new baseball complex in Lincoln County. The deadline for local and private bills that are not revenue bills in the Mississippi Legislature is April 15. Sen. Sally Doty said local and private bills have extended deadlines to allow action to be taken throughout the session. Generally, Doty said, these types of bills are handled in the last week or two of session. Doty said she is working on bills to do with tax credits affecting historic efforts downtown, King’s Daughters Medical Center and the new baseball complex.