Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mississippi News Notes: Week Ending 03.05.16

The Mississippi Senate passed Senate Bill 2306 which reinforces that local police officers follow federal immigration laws.

It passed 33-14 Thursday and will now be considered in the House.
The bill requires officers to contact federal agencies if they believe someone who is committing a crime or has committed one is an illegal immigrant. They are allowed to make these arrests only if they have probably cause and immediately transfer them to federal custody. See more at:

An attorney is making additional arguments in a federal lawsuit that seeks to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi flag.

In papers filed Thursday, Carlos Moore says the emblem violates the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery. He says the emblem used by some Confederate troops during the Civil War is a “vestige” of slavery.
Moore filed his lawsuit against Republican Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday, saying the flag violates equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority has hired Phelps Dunbar lawyer Fred Banks Jr. to handle litigation that could arise over a possible state takeover of governance of Jackson’s airports, state Sen. John Horhn says.

Neither Banks nor the Airport Authority would confirm the hiring. Horhn said the Airport Authority has retained the former Mississippi Supreme Court justice specifically to challenge a state takeover. “The airport has already enlisted” his services, Horhn said a day after the state Senate voted 29-18 to hand policy-making control of Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport and Hawkins Field to a state-created governing board. Under the proposal, the governor would appoint nine representatives from the metro region, including two nominees from Jackson.

Mississippi's attorney general says he will defend the Confederate-themed state flag against a lawsuit that seeks to remove the banner, even though he thinks the flag hurts the state and should change.

Democrat Jim Hood said Wednesday that his opinion about state laws won't prevent him from fulfilling his oath to defend them. Carlos Moore, an attorney from Grenada, Mississippi, filed a federal lawsuit Monday that says the Confederate X on the flag puts him and other African-Americans in danger. He cited the slayings of black worshipers at a church in South Carolina last summer. The white suspect in that case had previously posed for photos with a rebel flag.

Biloxi Sun Herald editorial Board says: One more time! BP money is for the Mississippi Coast

We knew this was coming. And the unwarranted raid on money from the BP settlement has begun. The House passed by a wide margin a plan to spend $50 million of the BP money to repay bonds on statewide projects such as the repair of the state's highways and bridges.
That's a terrible idea.
Just ask Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who opposes the bill and has the power to kill it in the Senate. We suggest he kill it three times, then bury it just to be sure.

Sixty-one percent of Mississippi’s Republican voters want the state’s flag left alone, an automated telephone poll of 995 “likely” GOP voters shows.

The poll conducted Monday by Magellan Strategies BR for the right-leaning political website Y’allPolitics said 609 of respondents oppose removing the Confederate battle flag from the state’s flag design. Another 198 survey respondents wanted a new design.
White voters made up a huge number of the GOP voters polled. The poll included 909 people identified as white and 51 black, five Hispanic and 19 “other” racial origins.

The bills in state Senate passed Wednesday includes:

  • Senate Bill 2495 that combines districts of Montgomery County, which has 273 students; Carroll County, which has 1,035 students; and Winona, which has 1,123 students.
  • Senate Bill 2497 that consolidates Houston School District, which has 1,781 students, and Okolona Separate School District, which has 690 students, into the Chickasaw County School District, which has 512 students.
  • Senate Bill 2500 that dissolves Lumberton Public School District, which has 585 students, and merges it with neighboring Poplarville and Lamar County districts, which have 1,927 and 9,996 students, respectively.

A group of bills that would consolidate nine school districts in Mississippi is one step closer to passing, and one of those would impact the Lumberton School District. “The Mississippi Senate consolidated the administration of nine school districts, allowing the newly formed entities to eliminate duplicate services and direct more tax dollars into the classroom,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday in a press release.

The bill is now headed to the House for consideration.

The Mississippi House has voted to consolidate the Holmes County and Durant school districts. Representatives passed House Bill 926 on Tuesday.

The bill passed 75-46 mostly along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.
It was held for the possibility of more debate before it can go to the Senate.

Rep. Steven Palazzo was one of nine Republicans who voted Tuesday against naming a post office after the late author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

“He just felt that it was too controversial,” said Jill Duckworth, a spokeswoman for Palazzo.
The House voted 371-9 to pass the measure naming a post office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the “Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office.” One lawmaker voted “present.”
Angelou, who died in 2014, is best known for her debut memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She also was a singer, actress and poet. Angelou was invited to read a poem at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, and she was awarded the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Obama. She also is one of the few African-American women to be commemorated on a stamp.
Palazzo said some GOP colleagues had expressed concerns about Angelou’s support of Cuban President Fidel Castro, according to Duckworth. She noted that the House also voted 381-0 to name a post office in Camp Pendleton, California, the “Camp Pendleton Medal of Honor Post Office.”