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  • Is 18 too young to buy tobacco? One bill in the House says YES #billoftheday #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    By: Sarah Ulmer Should 18 year olds be allowed to buy tobacco products? Right now Mississippi says, yes. But HB140 is trying to change that.The act would push the legal age of purchasing tobacco back to 21. That includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, etc. The reason suggested: because it is causing detrimental health problems for the state's youth.Read more below:http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2018/pdf/history/HB/HB0140.xml

  • Day 3 of 90: MEC Capital Day and transportation related bill passage on the House floor

    yallpolitics.com |

    Transportation bills gaining traction in the HouseBy: Sarah Ulmer It was a busy day three in the State Capitol. It kicked off with the Mississippi Economic Council Capital Day where legislators and MEC talked through some of the top priorities for this year’s session. They mentioned transportation, workforce development, and education.“The second issue we talked about with your (MEC) leaders was workforce development,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “It used to be when we pursued businesses in this state they would ask ‘how much are you going to give us, what incentives?’ That seems to have changed now. Now they ask ‘Do you have an educated, reliable, qualified workforce. If we are going to prosper in Mississippi we have to have a solid answer to that question.”Speaker Gunn stressed a rewrite of the current education formula, MAEP. He said the goal is a student-centered formula that focuses on the needs of the students directly.Thursday at #MECCapitol Day Speaker @PhilipGunnMS talked education funding and urged for support in a rewrite of MAEP @MECStateChamber >> Check out the Video>> #msleg pic.twitter.com/WrQ9tMVB0P— Sarah Ulmer (@SarahUlmerYP) January 4, 2018Also stressed was the states failing infrastructure. President Pro Tempore Terry Burton said it takes everyone, government and business to tackle the problem of infrastructure.“We have to get it right because we only get one opportunity to bite this apple,” said Burton. “And this will be our last chance to get it right for a very long time.”He said it isn’t good enough to just put in a new road, you have to deal with infrastructure needs in individual cities. Once infrastructure can be repaired and restored the potential for broadband accessibility to spread will raise.After MEC wrapped up for the morning the House prepared to tackle several bills on the floor that were passed yesterday in committee meetings.The gavel swang and immediately HB354, a bill to provide a percentage of growth funds for repair and maintenance of roads and bridges, was brought up and passed. HB357 and HB359 were thrown in the mix with the first passing quickly, but no such luck for HB359 or the new road moratorium.The debate began as Chairman of House Appropriations Committee Charles Busby answered questions on what projects would be prohibited and what would be allowed if the bill passes. During the conversation, an amendment was added to take out any mention of state aid roads, which only leaves MDOT roads.Rep. Hines got heated asking Rep. Busby if this was another bill to promote the prosperity of the “have’s” while limiting the “have not’s.” Busby responded that this bill would ensure no “pet projects” were pushed by lawmakers and that the roads the state already has are maintained with the funds currently available.The vote was settled at 71-41 in favor.

  • @SenatorWicker: Air Force Awards $48M Contract to Develop Unmanned Aircraft in Columbus, Miss.

    yallpolitics.com |

    U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today congratulated Aurora Flight Sciences for winning a $48 million Air Force contract to continue development of Orion unmanned aircraft. These systems are built in Columbus, Miss. In 2014, Orion set the world record for unmanned aerial systems flight endurance by remaining aloft for 80 hours.“I am pleased that the Air Force continues to have confidence in developing Aurora’s ultra-long endurance Orion military drone,” Wicker said. “Orion will provide vital information to military commanders and our troops once it is deployed. Congress should approve the proposed FY18 funding for these aircraft, so that an entire deployable system will be coming off the line in the next 18 months.”Senator Roger Wicker Press Release1/4/2018

  • @SenatorWicker Statement on Rep. Gregg Harper

    yallpolitics.com |

    U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., issued the following statement after U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., announced that he would not run for reelection:“Congressman Harper has been an excellent legislator and great public servant. When he came to the House of Representatives 10 years ago, he hit the ground running and immediately rose into leadership. Gregg is a solid conservative and a result-oriented Congressman. He has represented Mississippi in a way that makes us proud. I understand his decision, but he will leave a void. I am glad to count him among my good friends and wish him all the best.Senator Roger Wicker Press Release1/4/2018

  • @SenatorWicker Pleased FEMA Will Allow Disaster Aid for Houses of Worship

    yallpolitics.com |

    Miss. Senator Backs Legislation to Make Churches Permanently Eligible for FEMA Aid Under Federal LawU.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to provide funding for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of houses of worship through the agency’s Public Assistance program, which provides grants for private nonprofit facilities in the wake of disasters. Wicker is a cosponsor of legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., to make houses of worship permanently eligible for the program.“This is an important change because it will ensure houses of worship are eligible for disaster aid on the same terms as other nonprofits,” Wicker said. “Mississippians know how important churches and their congregations are in supporting disaster response and rebuilding our communities. I look forward to working with Senator Blunt and others to pass a permanent disaster aid provision for America’s religious centers.”Houses of worship were ineligible for FEMA Public assistance program grants prior to this week’s announcement. Churches and other religious centers impacted by disasters declared on or after August 23, 2017, and for applications for assistance that were pending with FEMA as of August 23, 2017, are now eligible for assistance.According to FEMA officials, the change in policy was prompted by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, which found that a religious nonprofit organization could not be excluded from a state program simply because it was religious.Sen. Roger Wicker Press Release1/4/2018

  • Gregg Harper will not seek re-election in 2018 for #ms03

    yallpolitics.com |

    “Serving as a Member of the United States House of Representatives has been the highest privilege and honor of my life. The opportunity to serve the people of the Third District, our state, and our country is something that my wife, Sidney, and I will never forget. We have been contemplating for almost two years when it would be our time not to run again, and after spending time over Christmas and New Year’s with my family, we made the very difficult decision to say that 10 years will be long enough. I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us. I will work hard over the final 12 months of my term this year, but I will not seek re-election for a sixth term.Thanks to Speaker Paul Ryan, I have been allowed to serve as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration and work to make the institution of the House of Representatives more transparent, accountable and stronger for America’s future. I will work hard in a bipartisan manner over the remainder of my term to be a problem solver.I will also miss being Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations where we will continue to work on such important issues as the opioid epidemic.Last year, the Energy & Commerce Committee passed the SELF DRIVE Act, which will make great strides toward the safe development and deployment of self-driving cars. Self-driving car technology has the potential to provide new, more reliable modes of transportation which will lead to additional opportunities for the disability community and others who are unable to drive.When I first arrived in the House, I started an internship program for college students with intellectual disabilities in the Mason Life Program at George Mason University that allowed them to work in House and Senate Member offices and get valuable work experience, develop skills and improve their confidence, as well as open the hearts of Capitol Hill staffers and Members to the vast possibilities of those young adults with special needs. Over 150 House and Senate offices have participated in this program.As many of you know, our son Livingston, now 28 years old, has been a driving force in our lives. We have watched him, in spite of his special needs, overcome obstacles and succeed. Livingston, you are our inspiration!Our precious daughter, Maggie, who was in the 11th grade when we first ran for office in 2008, has been amazing and worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. Now, we rejoice that she, and our son-in-law, Brett, are expecting their first child.To my wife, Sidney, who has done all the heavy lifting for our family and of course, for me, thank you, and I could not have done this without you.Finally, we humbly thank God that He has guided us through this entire journey and we trust Him with our future. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best for our family.I will truly miss serving in Congress, but I look forward to the years ahead as I continue to work on policy issues that matter, and I hope to spend more time in Mississippi. I have been blessed to have the best staff that any Member could ever have. I have also enjoyed serving with an incredible group of Members who care deeply about their districts and our country. I believe that America’s greatest days are yet to come.May our great God continue to bless each and every one of you. Thank you for your encouragement, your support and your prayers.”

  • Trump leaders endorse Sen. Roger Wicker and more bad news for Chris McDaniel #mssen

    yallpolitics.com |

    News keeps getting worse for a potential McDaniel campaign.by Alan LangeIn another in a long line of seemingly meaningful behind the scenes moves that should impact the Mississippi Senate seat up in 2018, Senator Roger Wicker announced today that he has garnered 65 Chairs/Co-Chairs of the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign in Mississippi. This after a McDaniel oriented PAC released a list of grassroots people urging him to run that featured only one or two elected officials and no one particularly close to the Trump campaign.What is likely even worse news for McDaniel's chances is that the Mercer family has now disavowed itself of all things Steve Bannon. This after Bannon attacked President Trump and his family openly, to which Donald Trump replied . . .The Mercer's put $50,000 of "go fish" money in McDaniel's PAC. Bannon is the one urging McDaniel to run against the Trump-supported Wicker. If Mercer pulls out of funding McDaniel like he's pulling out of funding Bannon, that would be a major and possibly catastrophic blow to McDaniel's campaign/non-campaign for Senate.Verbatim Release Below65 TRUMP CAMPAIGN LEADERS ENDORSE WICKERSixty-five county chairs, co-chairs, and other leaders of the 2016 Donald J. Trump for President campaign from across Mississippi are endorsing Senator Roger Wicker for re-election in 2018. They issued the following joint statement:“We served in Mississippi for the Donald Trump for President Campaign, and today we endorse Roger Wicker for U.S. Senate. We understand the importance of keeping an effective Senator who is fighting for Mississippi and supporting the President’s agenda.“Senator Roger Wicker has voted with President Trump’s agenda 96.4 percent of the time. No Senator has a higher rating. Senator Wicker has successfully worked to keep President Trump’s agenda moving forward, including the recently passed tax cut and building up our U.S. Navy, which is in line with President Trump’s priorities for strengthening our national security and protecting America’s interests around the world.“We are proud of the President’s conservative successes in 2017:· Eliminating more than 1,600 regulations, saving job creators billions of dollars in unnecessary costs;· Confirming a record number of conservatives to federal court positions;· Providing much-needed tax relief for working families;· Repealing the oppressive Obamacare individual mandate; and· Restoring America’s place as a world leader.“We are making America great again. We are rebuilding our country. But our work is not finished. For these reasons, we support Senator Roger Wicker because he shares President Trump’s commitment to creating more jobs, strengthening our military, and securing our borders. We urge our fellow Mississippians to join us in working to re-elect Senator Roger Wicker in 2018.” – Mississippi Trump Campaign LeadersMississippi Trump Campaign Leaders Endorsing Senator Roger WickerSam Abraham—Co-Chairman, Leflore CountyMary Allsup—Chairman, Noxubee CountyMike Armour—Co-Chairman, Lee CountyTab Bennett—Chairman, Itawamba CountyStevan Black—Chairman, Clay CountyJosh Bowen—Chairman, Simpson CountyTrey Bowman—Chairman, Choctaw CountyBruce Brice, Jr.—Chairman, Adams CountySonya Bridges—Chairman, Jones CountyJeremy Crane—Chairman, Walthall CountyJoe Davidson—Chairman, Bolivar CountyDora Day—Co-Chairman, Pontotoc CountyRicky Dubuisson—Co-Chairman, Stone CountyFrank Dungan—Chairman, Neshoba CountyCharles Evers—Co-Chairman, Hinds CountyCarol Funchess—Co-Chairman, Amite CountyEd Funchess—Co-Chairman, Pike CountyTommy Futral—Co-Chairman, Chickasaw CountyRuss Griffith—Co-Chairman, Rankin CountyDana Gwin—Chairman, Attala CountyDon Halle—MS Finance Committee, Harrison CountyChrissy Heard—Chairman, Lowndes CountyPaul Henderson—Chairman, Carroll CountyTeena F. Horn, DMD—Chairman, Chickasaw CountyEllen Jernigan—Chairman, DeSoto CountyGail Jones—Chairman, Marshall CountyJerry D. Keith—Co-Chairman, Tishomingo CountySue Kirk—Chairman, Grenada CountyLyndsey Lamb—Co-Chairman, George CountyJanice Loften—Co-Chairman, Marion CountyJohn Logan—Chairman, Lee CountyJohn "Dewey" Martin—Chairman, Monroe CountyChandler Mathis—Co-Chairman, Leake CountyDane Maxwell—Trump State Director, Jackson CountyJesse McConnell—Co-Chairman, Hinds CountyChandler Mitts—Chairman, Clarke CountyAlderman Alex Monsour—Chairman, Warren CountyCindy Moore—Co-Chairman, Lincoln CountyKim Moreland—Chairman, Oktibbeha CountyGina Naef—Trump HQ Manager, Rankin CountySean O'Neal—Chairman, Panola CountyJamie Peavy—Trump Deputy State Director, Jackson CountyLinda Pennington—Chairman, Jefferson Davis CountyMax Phillips—Chairman, Smith CountyCharles Porter—MS Finance Committee, Rankin CountyRob Rall—Chairman, Hinds CountyBernie Reed—Chairman, Lincoln CountyJudy S. Roberts—Co-Chairman, Clarke CountyBen Shute—Co-Chairman, Carroll CountyGreta Siegel—Chairman, Montgomery CountyJustin Skinner—Chairman, Harrison CountyRosemary Smith—Co-Chairman, Smith CountyCheryl Sparkman—Chairman, Kemper CountyClyde Stewart—Southern Regional Coordinator, Forrest CountyDon Taylor—Co-Chairman, Copiah CountyTim Timbs—Chairman, Sunflower CountyTodd Vallot—Chairman, Lauderdale CountySteve Vassallo—Chairman, Lafayette CountyRebecca Vaughan—Chairman, Webster CountyChandler Walker—Chairman, Prentiss CountyDean Watkins—Co-Chairman, Winston CountyJohn Werner—Chairman, Alcorn CountyDr. Kevin Whaley—Co-Chairman, Montgomery CountyChad Whitney—Chairman, Hancock CountyRichard Wilkerson—Chairman, Scott County

  • State Rep. Busby looks to allow direct shipment of wine to Mississippi homes

    yallpolitics.com |

    Want wine delivered to your door? It could happen if Coast lawmakers get their wayCharles Busby, R-Pascagoula, introduced a bill that would allow direct shipment of wine to Mississippi homes. It is similar to the bills he introduced the last two years when neither got out of committee. In 2015, Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, introduced a broader bill that would have allowed direct shipment of wines that also would have allowed wine-only package stores and wine tastings. It met a fate similar to Busby’s bills.Busby’s bill has several safeguards to try to prevent underage people from getting their hands on the alcohol, which has been a concern of opponents. It would require the boxes the wine to be “conspicuously labeled with the words ‘Contains alcohol: Signature of person age 21 years or older required for delivery.”SunHerald1/4/18

  • Four qualify for HD 60 special #msleg election

    yallpolitics.com |

    Four candidates to face off for House District 60 special electionFour candidates are in the running to take over the seat for House District 60, Rankin County. Jim Giles, Morris Mock Jr., Bob Morrow, and Fred Shanks are set to face off in the special election which is set for February 20th. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in the special election was January 2, 2018.NewsMS1/3/18

  • #msleg budget writers float preliminary outlook

    yallpolitics.com |

    Mississippi lawmakers doing homework for budget processThe proposed budget would be about 1.3 percent smaller than the budget for the current year. Leaders want to follow an often-ignored rule that says some money should be set aside into cash reserves.......Top lawmakers recommend an increase of $3.8 million for the Department of Public Safety. Most of that would pay to train new state troopers, and some would pay for salary increases that are already promised to officers in the department.The proposed budget would affect several agencies by eliminating jobs that have been vacant at least six months. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Eugene “Buck” Clarke, a Republican from Hollandale, said that would cut about $40 million in spending during the coming year. He also said, though, that agency directors could retain some jobs if they are close to filling them.“If you have a fish on the line, we would give that (job) back,” Clarke said.Greer said some agencies are requesting additional money for the current year, which ends June 30. Clarke said one of the bigger requests is expected to come from Medicaid, the government insurance program for the needy. Clarke described the Medicaid request as “a moving target,” based on how many people are enrolled and how many services they use.Daily Journal1/2/18

  • Is #msflag flying over Ocean Springs city hall having a negative impact on sales tax? Mayor, Alderman say no, revenues up year over year

    yallpolitics.com |

    Ocean Springs merchants say state flag is bad for businessOCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Jan Rideout is determined to make sure Downtown Ocean Springs remains of the most popular shopping destinations in South Mississippi.“I have a lot of local customers who have told me that they are starting to avoid shopping and eating in Ocean Springs, because of the flag going up,” said Rideout who owns JLaurie shoe boutique.......Mayor Dobson says that's not the case, sales tax and food and beverage tax were both up in the second half of last year.Alderman Robert Blackman said food and beverage tax was up more than $44,000 and retail sales tax was up $13,350 compared to the last half of 2016.WLOX1/3/18

  • House committee makes quick work of possible infrastructure funding plan #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    State legislators tackle Mississippi transportation issuesJACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi state legislature passed a bill that would direct online sales tax to road and bridge projects.The bill passed through the House on Wednesday. It includes a plan that calls for borrowing $50 million due to cover the steep cost of improving the state's aging infrastructure.......Also on Wednesday a House panel approved a measure that would allow the state Department of Transportation to make employment changes without following civil service rules.WLOX1/3/18

  • Day 2 of 90: The House wastes no time pushing slew of bills circling roads, bridges, and transportation

    yallpolitics.com |

    By: Sarah Ulmer The House has wasted no time moving bills along in the 2018 Legislative Session. On just Day 2 of 90 the House Ways and Means Committee voted to pass a package of roads and bridges bills including HB357 and HB358.Each bill addresses the issue of reconstruction to roads and bridges across the state.HB357:This bill will enact state general obligation bonds that assist municipalities and counties with bridge improvements. These monies will go to the costs associated with any repair, replacement, or general construction required for bridges, including those on state highways that are maintained by counties.HB358:Last year it was referred to the “Internet Sales Tax” bill. This year’s bill would require a portion of tax revenue collected from taxpayers that are making sales within the state without a physical residence be submitted to the general fund. An amount on $50M that does not exceed $250M would be distributed to the reconstruction of roads and bridges in the state.Just moments later the Appropriations Committee on the House side met, making a vote YES to push HB355 forward which would remove the Mississippi Department of Transportation from the State Personnel Board.HB355:The bill would allow MDOT to be exempt from the boards rules, regulations and procedures.Wrapping up the end of the day for the House the Transportation Committee began discussions on HB359, the New Road Moratorium bill. Some amendments were made before agreement in the committee.HB359:This bill will require state road construction suspended if a right-of-way is not available. This includes state highways.

  • Legislation could allow EMT’s to carry firearms while working #billoftheday #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    By: Sarah Ulmer A bill sitting in the House could allow Emergency Medical Technicians to carry a firearm while on the job. HB26 will be sent first to Judiciary B for delegation.It would require the State Board of Health to create rules and regulations that would allow their EMT's to carry firearms. However, those carrying must have proper permits to do so under state law.http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2018/pdf/history/HB/HB0026.xml

  • Joint Legislative Budget Committee hears from Legislative Budget office on FY2019 recommendations

    yallpolitics.com |

    By: Sarah Ulmer Wednesday the Joint Legislative Committee hear from the Legislative Budget Office on their budget recommendation for FY2019. Overall there were 275 budgets submitted and after consolidation about 110 appropriations bills were filed for legislation.A $5.6 billion dollar estimate was adopted for FY2019 in accordance with the FY2018 estimate of $5,601,000,000. The General Fund recommendation rested at $5,483,760,630.The largest recommendations were made for Education and Medicaid. MAEP was recommended $2,201.0M by the LBR and Medicaid rested at 917.6M.Increased funding was suggested for Public Safety in regards to the graduates of Trooper School for $3.5M and an increase in Officer Salary at $0.3M. The Mississippi Department of Education could also so an increase in the Chickasaw Interest Formula of about $0.9M.Roughly $579.9M would be available in unallocated funds.All numbers presented are still subject to change as legislators approve the recommendation.

  • Sen. Hob Bryan less than optimistic for a rewrite to MAEP #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    by: Sarah Ulmer Sen. Hob Bryan has expressed extreme concern over talks of a rewrite or overhaul to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. See more below:

  • Democrats in the Mississippi Senate have chosen Derrick T. Simmons of Greenville as chairman of their caucus and David Blount of Jackson as vice-chairman

    yallpolitics.com |

    Democrats in the Mississippi Senate have chosen Derrick T. Simmons of Greenville as chairman of their caucus and David Blount of Jackson as vice-chairman.Simmons, who was vice-chairman last year of the Mississippi Senate Democratic Caucus, moved up because former Senator Bill Stone, who had been chairman, resigned to accept another job.“I’m elated at the confidence my colleagues have placed in me and I will work hard to push forward our people first oriented, Democratic agenda,” Simmons said.Simmons is chairman of the Senate Enrolled Bills committee and has served since 2011.Blount has served since 2008 and is chairman of the Senate Public Property committee and vice chairman of the Elections committee.Mississippi Senate Press Release1/3/2018

  • Sen. Hob Bryan on the #MAEP rewrite - #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

  • Russ Latino cites DOR data to show that revenue collections were up in FY2017 #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    By Russ Latino, special to Y’all PoliticsThe Mississippi Legislature gaveled back in to session this week. They do so in the midst of a lot of chatter surrounding revenue and spending. The public has repeatedly been told that both are rapidly declining. Neither is true. Today we'll take a quick look at taxes and fees collected from Mississippi workers and job creators.On Friday of last week, the Mississippi Department of Revenue released its Annual Report. The report shows a slight increase in "transfers" of tax dollars in FY2017 over FY2016, including a marginal increase in state funds distributed to local governments. DOR's "Cash Reports" likewise show an increase in collections between FY2016 and FY2017, including increases in both sales and income taxes collected. DOR's in-state collections neared $7.9 billion in FY2017.To be sure the increase in collections and transfers is quite small. Current leadership has slowed the growth of government, which is what conservatives promised they would do. But, even near even funding is a far cry from the slash and burn rhetoric splashed across the headlines. MSDOR Annual Report FY 2017 Final 2 by yallpolitics on Scribd

  • @CongPalazzo pens op-ed on tax reform, says it’s more money in taxpayers’ pockets

    yallpolitics.com |

    Congressman Steven Palazzo: More money in taxpayers pocketsAs your Congressman and one of the few CPAs in Congress, I’m proud to announce that this week, the American people are getting a well-deserved Christmas present. Republicans, led by President Donald J. Trump, passed the first overhaul of the U.S. Tax system in over 30 years. The reforms that will soon be signed into law will result in thousands of dollars back in the pockets of hundreds of millions of American taxpayers. Finally, YOU are going to control more of YOUR money.In the last few days, the question I’ve heard asked the most is: “What does this mean for me and my family?” Well under this bill we have doubled the standard deduction and we have doubled the child tax credit, we have expanded the medical expense deduction, we have preserved the mortgage interest deductions, and you can still write off the cost of your state and local taxes. All of these things mean Mississippians keep more of their hard earned money and send less to federal bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The average household in south Mississippi with two kids makes roughly $59,000 a year—this family on average will see a $1,700 cut in their taxes. . Finally, a registered nurse and single mother of two gets the break she’s been waiting for with a $2,000 tax cut—roughly half of what she’s paying now A Gulf Coast police officer and an elementary school teacher filing jointly with two children will see a $2,344 cut in their tax return. In South Mississippi, where more than 12,000 shipbuilders go to work every day, our shipbuilders filing jointly will also see, on average, about $2,300 more in their pockets as a result of this bill.Picayune Item12/26/17

  • #msleg House, Senate committees notify Governor they are in session

    yallpolitics.com |

    The 2018 Mississippi Legislative Session has started in Jackson, MS. The House and Senate welcome committees came to visit today after beginning their work. I look forward to a productive session. pic.twitter.com/8SX4ndtzuj— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) January 2, 20181/2/18

  • @SenatorWicker Proposal for a Stronger Navy Bolsters Trump’s National Security Strategy

    yallpolitics.com |

    RELEASEWicker Proposal for a Stronger Navy Bolsters Trump’s National Security StrategyNavy Plays Key Role in President’s Foreign Policy AgendaDuring his first year in office, President Trump has focused on strengthening the economy and America’s standing in the world. At home, that has meant working with Congress on pro-growth policies, including tax reform and the rollback of harmful regulations. Globally, the President has continually reinforced U.S. interests, speaking frankly at the United Nations about the threat of a nuclear North Korea and supporting free and fair trade deals during his five-country tour of Asia. In a speech on December 18, in which he outlined his national security strategy for the coming years, he firmly stated, “America is coming back, and America is coming back strong.”Congress, Administration Approve Navy BuildupThis message came just days after the President signed the “National Defense Authorization Act” into law – one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress passes each year to ensure our troops are prepared for their missions. I worked directly on this bill as a member of the Armed Services Committee and as chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, sponsoring a major proposal for the United States to achieve a 355-ship Navy. The Navy has set a minimum force requirement of 355 ships but currently operates a fleet with only 279 ships. The defense bill makes it the national policy of the United States to meet this minimum requirement.Naval power goes hand in hand with the President’s bold national security vision. In his speech, President Trump focused on four key areas: protecting the homeland, promoting economic security, supporting ‘peace through strength,’ and expanding America’s international influence. Our Navy helps fulfill all of these objectives by deterring aggressive behavior by rogue nations, projecting force, and maintaining an open flow of commerce and trade.Declines in naval capability can have far-reaching consequences. It is alarming that our naval commanders around the world are already experiencing coverage gaps, and adversaries like China and Russia are actively building up their fleets in an effort to exploit our vulnerabilities.The challenges of military preparedness are not isolated to the Navy. Our national security interests are best served when all branches of the armed services – Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard – are ready and capable.Resolve to Deter Aggression, Defeat TerrorismEfforts to deter Russian aggression reach beyond the sea. As a longtime critic of Russia’s siege of Crimea and its clear disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty, I am encouraged by the Trump Administration’s recent decision to authorize commercial sales of lethal arms to Ukraine. The Ukrainian people should be able to defend themselves from Russia’s illegal invasion. This arms sale reaffirms that the United States will not tolerate Russia’s flouting of international law.I am also encouraged by the Trump Administration’s relentless pursuit of jihadist terrorists. Our military has taken resolute steps to defeat the Islamic State, with U.S. special operations forces part of the coalition that liberated the terrorist group’s stronghold of Raqqa in October. Our troops also helped Iraqi forces achieve victory over Islamic State forces in early December.These strategic steps are encouraging. So is the support by Congress and the Administration for a stronger military, reaffirming that America’s standing in the world will again be on solid ground.1/2/18

  • MDOC seeking better wages for employees, avoid further cuts

    yallpolitics.com |

    Understaffed MDOC hopes to avoid further budget reductionsThe Mississippi Department of Corrections is still hamstrung by lack of corrections officers and guards, largely because of low pay, that has led recently to the closing of some units at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution."Seeking better wages for our employees, who are among the lowest paid in the country, will always be a priority of my administration," MDOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall said in a statement.Clarion Ledger12/31/17

  • Key committee chairs left unfilled on day one of #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    2018 legislative session opens with big issues on the horizonNeither presiding officer filled key committee vacancies caused by resignations of legislators during the past year. The most influential vacancy is the House Education Committee chair.Gunn said he hopes to have the committee vacancies filled by the end of the week.The key Senate committee slot open is Judiciary A chair.The Legislature also made no attempt to try to override the seven vetoes Gov. Phil Bryant made of legislation last year. The most impactful of those bills was one designed to help inmates have a successful return to the general population.Daily Journal1/3/18

  • State Rep. Holland tells #msleg he’s recovered from what was diagnosed as dementia, now unsure if he’ll retire in 2019 as he indicated last session

    yallpolitics.com |

    HOLLAND TELLS LAWMAKERS MEMORY PROBLEMS EASEA long-serving Mississippi lawmaker says he has recovered from an illness that had been diagnosed as dementia.Rep. Steve Holland, a Plantersville Democrat, made the announcement Tuesday as lawmakers met for the first time in 2018.He says his short-term memory problems cleared up in August. Holland says they may have been caused by a previous illness, although he also says his improvement may be a "providential miracle."Holland had previously announced he would retire in 2019 at the end of this four-year term, but now says he's unsure of his plans.An undertaker, Holland has been a lawmaker more than 30 years. He's known for dramatic speeches and humor, but also was a key policymaker when Democrats held the majority.WTVA1/2/18

  • State Rep. Clarke pushing lottery for another session

    yallpolitics.com |

    WJTV1/2/18

  • Simpson County Sheriff facing sexual harassment allegations

    yallpolitics.com |

    Simpson County sheriff faces sexual harassment lawsuitJACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Simpson County Sheriff Donald O'Cain has been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit.It was filed December 19, 2017 in U. S. District Court. Former dispatcher Nancy Floyd Smith claimed, in federal court documents, the sheriff gave her unwanted hugs and kissed her on the lips without permission.WLBT1/1/18

  • Despite speculation otherwise, Sen. Cochran heading back to D.C. to continue his work for Mississippi

    yallpolitics.com |

    Heath issues causing speculation on Cochran's futureThe winner in November would finish Cochran’s term through 2020. Yet, the senator’s office said Cochran is returning to Washington for the new senate session, and "despite speculation otherwise, Senator Cochran will continue his work for Mississippi and our nation".The full statement from Senator Cochran's office says,Senator Cochran enjoyed the Christmas holidays in Mississippi and will return to Washington for the new Senate session, which begins Wednesday. Despite speculation otherwise, Senator Cochran will continue his work for Mississippi and our nation.WLBT1/2/18

  • #MAEP rewrite looks to get back on track in #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    2018 Mississippi legislative session underway"We've said all along we want to work on a rewrite of the education funding formula," said House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican. "I think there's a better way of doing it. I think we can find a more reliable predictable stream of revenue."That was at the top of last year's list but it didn't gain any traction."I think information is critically important before any member of the Senate, at least, should be asked to vote on any new funding formula," said Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.Democrats are still skeptical about what they call a lack of transparency."The fact that this has been going on now for more than a year and it's still taking place in secret ought to absolutely terrify everybody who cares about public education in the state of Mississippi," said Sen. Hob Bryan, a Democrat representing District 7.WTOK1/2/18

  • Waynesboro mayor, aldermen still at odds over rehiring of employees leaving municipality without critical services

    yallpolitics.com |

    Waynesboro mayor, aldermen can't reach agreement to re-hire 60 former city employeesWAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - The Waynesboro mayor and the Board of Aldermen could not come to an agreement to re-hire 60 former on Tuesday. The mayor said each person needs to be hired and approved on an individual basis, not as a group, but the majority of aldermen recommended to hire them as a group with a single vote.The positions in question are called “holdover employees,” who have to be re-hired within the first 180 days of a new administration, and includes 16 police officers and the entire fire department. The deadline for their rehiring was midnight on Friday, Dec. 31.WDAM1/2/18

  • Speaker Gunn wants to explore all options for BP funds

    yallpolitics.com |

    Coast legislators focused on distribution of BP moneyA year ago the State Senate passed a bill to distribute the BP money, but the bill failed to make it out of the House. This time around the state senators from the Coast remain committed to making sure that BP money makes it to South Mississippi."I have stated that 100 percent should be on the Coast," said Sen. Brice Wiggins. "We received most if not all of the damage so it should be where the damage happened."In the House, it may not be so easy. Speaker Philip Gunn said he would like to explore all options."My position on that has been more about making sure the money is spent on the things that bring a positive return for the state," Gunn said. "I want to spend it on things that are going to bring economic development, jobs and give us a return on the money."WLOX1/2/18

  • Day 1 of 90: Mississippi Legislative Session 2018 kicks off #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    By: Sarah Ulmer On Tuesday Representatives and Senators filled the Capitol to announce they were ready for business. Day one included the swearing in of one Senator, a prayer, the Pledge and the introduction of guests, family members, and others present.As lawmakers gaveled out, to reconvene on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves spoke to the media about what might come up over the next 90 days.He was asked several questions including whether or not a gas or tobacco tax could be brought up to potentially increase revenue for roads and bridges.“Always a possibility of anything occurring when you’re on the first day of session. It think it’s unlikely. In both the House and Senate it requires a three fifths majority to pass revenue measures. So basically, it takes 32 votes in the Mississippi Senate and I don’t think there are 32 votes in the Mississippi Senate to do either one of those things,” said Lt. Gov. Reeves.One big question on everyone’s mind is, will MAEP see a rewrite this year? So far there is no timeline on when and if that conversation will happen. But Lt. Gov. Reeves said being informed is critically important before any kind of vote on a rewrite could happen in the Senate.Senator Hob Bryan said this attempt to change MAEP is being kept secret.“Let’s remember how the original formula came about. Literally for years members of the legislature discussed the formula in open meetings. For some reason, there is a secret attempt to change the formula. This has been going on for more than a year,” said Sen. Bryan.He said he hopes to see a call of committee meetings to further discuss public education in the state of Mississippi and to see a fully funded formula. As of 2017 MAEP was only about 40 percent funded.The company from New Jersey contracted to provide a recommendation on rewrites is EdBuild. You can find the recommendation they made to lawmakers HERE.The House and Senate both adjourned until 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

  • Conjugal visits could be revoked for inmates with MDOC #billoftheday #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    No more "nookie" for MDOC inmatesBy: Sarah Ulmer Bills have begun dropping for the 2018 Mississippi Legislative session and that includes one authored by Rep. Shirley that would prohibit conjugal visits for inmates with the Department of Corrections.The bill is an amendment to Mississippi Code of 1972 and it's just that simple. In section three of the HB97 it states that all offenders committed to the custody of Department of Corrections would be prohibited from having conjugal visits. If passed the law would take affect July 1, 2018.Read more HERE

  • USM loses playing time after Long Island School refuses baseball tournament in light of HB1523

    yallpolitics.com |

    Religious Freedom’ law wreaks havoc on Southern Miss baseball scheduleA Mississippi law that allows government and businesses to deny services to same-sex couples will take three home games off the schedule for the Southern Miss baseball team this year.Stony Brook, a public university located on Long Island in New York, was scheduled to play USM in Hattiesburg on Feb. 23-25, but a 2016 executive order by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got in the way.HB 1523 makes it legal for businesses to refuse service to anyone based on religious beliefs. It was allowed to go into effect following a lengthy court battle when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused a rehearing by the full court on a lawsuit attempting to block the bill.Cuomo banned all non-essential state travel to Mississippi on April, 5, 2016, after Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, also known as the “Religious Freedom” bill, into law that same day.Sun Herald1/2/2018

  • New Coalition Aims to Eliminate the Digital Divide in Rural Mississippi

    yallpolitics.com |

    Innovators & rural advocates join forces to deploy TV white spaces technology for high-speed broadband coverage across rural AmericaRallying around a plan to eliminate the digital divide by 2022, a diverse group of community leaders, rural advocates and top innovators today announced the national launch ofConnect Americans Now (http://www.connectamericansnow.com) and the formation of local partnerships in Mississippi. The new alliance will work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) andother policymakers to ensure that there is sufficient unlicensed low band spectrum in every market in the country to enable broadband connectivity.“All Americans – regardless of where they live – deserve access to high-speed internet,” said Richard T. Cullen, Executive Director of Connect Americans Now (CAN). “Without a broadband connection,millions of students struggle to keep up with their assignments, Americans in rural areas are unable to fully utilize telemedicine, farmers are denied the promise of precision agriculture and businesses are unable to tap into the world of online commerce. Congress and the FCC must stand with rural America by allowing internet service providers to deliver broadband via white spaces spectrum.” CAN’s founding partners include Microsoft, ACT: The App Association, the National Rural Education Association, the Schools, Health and Library Broadband Coalition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Alaska Communications, Axiom, the Mid-Atlantic Broadcasting Communities Corporation, the American Pain Relief Institute, HTS Ag, and others. As a part of the initial launch, CAN is forming partnerships across rural America to educate stakeholders about the opportunities available via long-range, wireless broadband over TV white spaces. They also are spearheading an advocacy campaign in Washington, D.C., where FCC regulators have the authority to make sufficient unlicensed spectrum available in each market for high-speed internet.“It’s critical to expand broadband access, especially for the millions of rural Americans who are on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. “I applaud Connect Americans Now’s efforts to extend high-speed access to the internet in rural America and urge the FCC to reserve white space channels in the U.S. market to better enable access to broadband internet.”“A reliable and cost-effective broadband connection will change the lives of millions of Americans who live each day without this basic necessity,” said Tad Deriso, President & CEO of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. “Through our pilot project with Microsoft, we have witnessed the transformative effect that providing broadband via TV white spaces brings to rural families who otherwise could not obtain internet service, and hope that the FCC will embrace the potential of Connect Americans Now’s plan to close the digital divide.” The plan endorsed by CAN will rapidly accelerate the deployment – and reduce the cost – of high-speed internet service for 23.4 million rural Americans who live each day without broadband access.It does so by taking advantage of unused but powerful bandwidth below the 700 MHz frequency range, also known as TV white spaces, made available on an unlicensed basis. Wireless signals inthis range can travel over hills and through buildings and trees and therefore are great for last mile broadband access in rural areas. From education to telemedicine and precision agriculture to business development, closing the digital divide could transform the lives and livelihoods of rural Americans from all walks of life.Implications of the Digital Divide in Mississippi and Around the U.S.- 6.5 million students lack access to high speed internet, but 70 percent of teachers assignhomework that requires a broadband connection. More than 215,000 Mississippi studentsreside in rural areas, where more students struggle to keep up with their assignments and failto learn the computer skills they need to succeed and enter college or the workforce.- Telemedicine could collectively save lives and millions of dollars annually for underservedpatients and rural hospitals that pay up to three times more for broadband than their urbancounterparts. Forty-three percent of Mississippi’s hospitals are in rural areas, and broadbandconnectivity could allow their patients, regardless of where they live, to access specialists andbenefit from advanced monitoring services that would normally require hours of travel forpatients or their providers.- Mississippi is home to more than 38,000 farms, and broadband access could bring thempromise of precision agriculture, including remote monitoring equipment that helps farmerssave money by optimizing irrigation, conserving resources and increasing yields. It also allowsfarmers to search for new customers, find buyers willing to pay higher prices and identify themost affordable sources of seeds, fertilizers and farm equipment.-Small businesses employ 47 percent of Mississippi’s workforce, and broadband access willdrive economic growth and job opportunities by enabling them to expand their customer basefrom local to global and attract new industries to rural communities.-High-speed internet supports workforce development by allowing rural job seekers to accessservices online, develop new skills through cloud-based training and secure additionalemployment opportunities like remote teleworking. It will also allow rural communities to keepand attract new workers who require a broadband connection to carry out their dailyresponsibilities.Connect Americans Now Press Release1/2/2018

  • Sun Herald preview of #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    Can we have better schools, better roads and BP money? The next 90 days will tell.And, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office said he still backs the Coast.“As Lt. Gov. Reeves has said previously, the BP disaster happened on the Gulf Coast and that is why the Coast should receive the vast majority of settlement funds,” Hipp said. “The Senate passed Sen. Wiggins’ legislation in 2017 that set that money in a special account, and unfortunately, that measure did not make it through the House. Lt. Gov. Reeves believes the funds should be spent on projects that add to the Coast economy because that is good for the entire state.”BP money aside, Baria said, lawmakers face huge issues in health care — “That would take an hour to go through all of them” — and the debate over how to pay to maintain and repair roads and bridges.Dawkins said the Legislature also likely will be dealing with an unruly budget. “I’m shocked, shocked that we haven’t seen huge revenue increases because they cut all these taxes,” she said sarcastically.DeLano said lawmakers also will probably take up a lottery, something he supports as long as it’s played on paper, like the Powerball, and not on electronic machines that look like cousins to video poker.Sun Herald1/2/18

  • @Politico - Chris McDaniel’s past criticisms of @realDonaldTrump can be weaponized #mssen

    yallpolitics.com |

    The 10 must-watch candidates of 20188. Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R)Establishment Republicans have long said Sen. Thad Cochran’s victory over McDaniel in Mississippi’s 2014 Republican Senate primary was a shot in the arm ahead of an election that ended with them picking up nine seats and grabbing control of the chamber. McDaniel, a firebrand conservative, is now aiming to take out Sen. Roger Wicker in the state’s June primary, this time with former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s backing. The political environment is even worse for the GOP establishment than it was in 2014, and the Mitch McConnell-led cavalry just failed to save appointed Sen. Luther Strange in neighboring Alabama.Still, there are reasons for establishment Republicans to be optimistic. Public polling has given Wicker a lead to start the race. And McDaniel’s past criticisms of Trump can be weaponized, potentially allowing Republicans to vaporize him the way they demolished Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama.Politico1/2/08

  • State Rep. Anderson takes issue with Moss Point School Board appointment

    yallpolitics.com |

    Barbara Dumas-Marshall appointed to Moss Point school board, state rep. displeasedSenate Bill 2463 places the power of the vote back into the citizens hands for who they would like to see represent their children. After seeing Dumas-Marshall had been reappointed, Rep. Jeramey Anderson, who proposed the amendment, expressed his displeasure with her serving on the school board again."It is disappointing that the Moss Point Board of Aldermen would continue their regressive practices in their appointment to something so precious and important as our school board," Anderson said. "The city failed to do their due diligence by delaying the appointment, causing them to rush and appoint someone at the last minute."Anderson continued, saying, "There failure to be proactive has once again effectively cut qualified individuals out of serving on the Moss Point School Board. Furthermore, it is disappointing that the individual appointed was not interested in serving in the democratic process.By wishing to be appointed only, she rejected the notion that parents, teachers, and others in the community have the right to decide who is best fit to serve the need of the district's children and those who work hard every day to educate them.The Board's appointment gave credence to circumventing the laws of this state. Their decision reinforces the need for this new school board election law and the decisions thereof to be entrusted to the people of this city as a whole."Gulflive12/31/17

  • Infrastructure, MAEP rewrite, budget await 2018 #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    2018 session begins with same issues as 2017The issues confronting members of the Mississippi Legislature during the 2018 session, which starts at noon today, will be essentially the same as the ones they faced in the 2017 session.They include:Efforts to enhance spending on transportation to deal with what many say is a deteriorating transportation system.Attempts to deal with sluggish revenue collections resulting in budget cuts.Attempt to rewrite the state’s school funding formula.Daily Journal1/2/18

  • After AG opinion, Aberdeen to hold another special election for Alderman

    yallpolitics.com |

    ANOTHER SPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR ABERDEENABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) – A special election will take place in Aberdeen on January 30 for the Ward 2 seat on the Board of Aldermen.Last week, aldermen voted to remove Cloyd Garth, Jr., from the seat he was elected to during a special election in September.The vote came after the attorney general issued an opinion stating Garth could not serve as an alderman and an interim school superintendent in another county.The opinion said holding both positions violated the separation of power statutes in the Mississippi constitution.WTVA12/29/17

  • State Rep. Banks pushing municipal option tax to address infrastructure in #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    Lawmakers preview legislation they plan to file this yearLawmakers had varied ideas on how to tackle road and bridge issues at the end of last year's session. This year, they'll pitch even more."One thing I'm advocating for is that we give locals, municipalities and counties, the option to raise 1 cent or 2 cents a gallon to repair local roads and bridges," said Representative Earle Banks, D-District 67.Senator Dean Kirby has made public that he'll also file a bill that would put the decision-making about transportation needs in your hands.He says it would call for a statewide referendum in each transportation district. MDOT would give a list of projects to voters so they'd see where the money would be spent.WLBT1/1/18

  • Waynesboro city employees out of a job, at least temporarily, due to wrangling by Alderman, Mayor

    yallpolitics.com |

    Lack of quorum prevents vote to rehire Waynesboro employeesWAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - About 60 employees with the City of Waynesboro will be unemployed after midnight Friday. That’s after a lack of quorum by the board of aldermen prevented a vote to rehire the employees.Mayor Richard Johnson and the five aldermen were supposed to meet for a special meeting Friday at 4 p.m. to rehire the employees who worked for the city in Johnson's first term. But, only two aldermen showed up.The positions in question are called “holdover employees” who have to be rehired within the first 180 days of a new administration. The deadline for their rehiring was Friday.The employees who will be let go include 16 police officers and the entire fire department.WDAM12/29/17

  • Cigarettes tax, HBCUs funding draws attention as #msleg session begins

    yallpolitics.com |

    Tobacco tax, college desegregation money among 2018 issues for MS lawmakersMississippi last increased its cigarette tax in 2009. Now, about 20 health advocacy groups are pushing a cigarette tax increase of $1.50 a pack, plus "parallel" increases on chewing tobacco. The two Republican leaders of the tax-writing committees - House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith of Columbus and Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane of Sumrall - said chances of approving the full request are slim.......Mississippi's three historically black universities face another decline in funding with the expiration of a 15-year agreement from a lawsuit settlement. Jake Ayers Jr., a parent, sued the state in 1975, saying the three universities had been neglected. A 2002 settlement of the case has provided Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University more than $450 million designed to help them catch up to what the state spent on its five universities that were once all white. The current state budget includes $6.7 million in settlement funding for the final year such spending is mandated. Sen. Willie Simmons, a Democrat from Cleveland, says African-American members of the Legislature will fight to maintain spending, even if it's no longer legally required.WDAM1/1/18

  • State Sen. Fillingane, new Rep. McGee anxious for 2018 #msleg session

    yallpolitics.com |

    State lawmakers prepare for 2018 legislative sessionFillingane is a longtime state senator who represents District 41, which includes Jeff Davis, Covington, Smith, Lamar, and Forrest counties. Finances will be near the top of his to-do list this legislative session.“I’m looking forward to getting the budget done this year. We’ve got some pretty good revenue numbers coming in over the past couple of months. We have been hitting or exceeding our expectations by a little bit, so that is very encouraging,” said Fillingane. “With the federal government just signing into law the new tax reform bill, we are hopeful that that will translate into increased business activity in the states as well. Hopefully, our revenues will adjust even better than they have been.” ......McGee was recently elected to represent District 102 in the Mississippi House of Representatives. McGee said she's anxious to get started and make a difference for the community.WDAM1/1/18

  • State Rep. Zuber holds town hall in lead up to #msleg session

    yallpolitics.com |

    State Representative hears residents' concerns at town hall meetingOCEAN SPRINGS, MS (AP) - State Representative Hank Zuber now has new concerns to take back with him to Jackson for the next legislative session.Zuber hosted a town Hall meeting in Ocean Springs on Thursday night.WLOX12/29/17

  • What to look for in the 2018 Legislative Session: Medicaid, MAEP, a Lottery and much more

    yallpolitics.com |

    Here's what you need to know going into the 2018 Legislative Session:1. Medicaid “tech” billWhat will probably be the most talked about topic of the 2018 session, the Medicaid tech bill will reauthorize the Division of Medicaid. Legislature has been asked to reexamine the program and make changes to funding. Those changes will include the Managed Care Program that was implemented under the former director Dr. David Dzielak.Over the last few months a Medical Care Advisory Committee was put in place to help with the reauthorization and have made multiple recommendations regarding the state’s current policy. For instance, they recommended Medicaid’s fee-for-service patients be given unlimited doctor’s visits, currently those not on Managed Care only get 12 a year.Any changes made to Medicaid could potentially affect over 740,000 Mississippians who rely on its services.2. MAEP Formula RewriteWill they or won’t they, that’s the question when it comes to rewriting the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), the state’s current education formula. Last year legislators met with a company called EdBuild who provided an analysis of what a more student-based funding program would do for the state. They say those facts have not changed. EdBuild_MS_10272016 by yallpolitics on ScribdLt. Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will push for a student-weighted formula. He told Mississippi Today “It is Imperative that we ensure classroom needs are being met, and the best way to do that is through a student-weighted funding formula, meaning the education and needs of each child in a desk are being met. Using much of the data collected last session, both chambers will work through a funding plan that prioritizes Instruction over administration and support for teacher training and programs that work.”Amidst the potential rewrite, changes are taking place within the House Education committee. Senator Gray Tollison remains the Chairperson for the Senate Education Committee but a decision on who will replace John Moore, as the chairperson of the House Education Committee remains up in the air. Lawmakers are confident that it will be resolved if not before session, then early on.3. Roads and BridgesJust like last year, roads and bridges across the state are a focal point for lawmakers in the 2018 session. In 2017 no agreement between the House and Senate could be made on potential funding for the state’s failing infrastructure.“Infrastructure is something we believe is a primary function of government,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “The house has shown a commitment to finding solutions to the problem.”After Sine Die in 2017 several options like a Local Option Fuel Tax, New Road Moratorium, MDOT taken off of the State Personnel Board and even a Bond Issuance were proposed by the Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. As the Special Session came and went in July, no agreement was made to use any of these programs to increase funding for an overhaul of reconstruction to infrastructure.Gunn said he will continue to push those same programs in the 2018 Session.4. Trooper SchoolThe Mississippi Highway patrol continues to operate under capacity with only 462 of their roughly 640 trooper goal met.Commissioner of The Department of Public Safety Marshall Fisher said that last year the legislature approved a 60 person trooper school and that began almost immediately after session ended in April. This year the ask will continue to provide for the school’s operation and provide equipment for troopers.“It’s in the $7 million dollar range, it could be less but it could be a shade more. Some of that depends on what equipment we may have to buy, based on how many troopers are able to retire,” said Fisher. “if we could just be able to keep a pool of qualified applicants on file we could cut down some of that space in the process and move a little quicker.140-150 troopers are eligible for retirement this year, which puts a strain on the department to replace them. Fisher said that amount of funding for trooper school will potentially keep the numbers even.5. LotteryThis year lawmakers could debate again on whether or not to implement a statewide lottery system. Since last year, a lottery commission was established by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn to examine the effects of a lottery on the state. The support is split nearly in half of those who were apart of the commission’s research.According to the Clarion Ledger, organizations like the Mississippi Baptist Convention are opposed to a lottery citing that they are corrupting and do not help individuals participating who are already struggling to pay their own living expenses.Mark Baker, Representative of District 74, said the Committee was not responsible for making a recommendation“Setting aside the arguments of for or against, something that must be acknowledged regardless of how you feel about a lottery, it is happening. We are surrounded by states that have a lottery. Mississippians in large numbers are spending a substantial amount of money on lottery tickets,” said Baker.Baker said that if substantial revenue from Mississippians is going to be used by neighboring states to educate their children and fix their roads, why could It not be used in Mississippi to educate our children and fix our roads.The Department of Revenue said for Mississippi the last three years average collections of $26.5 million from withholding on gaming winnings. Annually, they receive an average of 268,000 W2G’s from Mississippi gaming establishments and 32 percent of them were issued to Mississippi residents for collections of $7.6 million per year.

  • Wicker Proposal for a Stronger Navy Bolsters Trump’s National Security Strategy

    yallpolitics.com |

    Navy Plays Key Role in President’s Foreign Policy AgendaDuring his first year in office, President Trump has focused on strengthening the economy and America’s standing in the world. At home, that has meant working with Congress on pro-growth policies, including tax reform and the rollback of harmful regulations. Globally, the President has continually reinforced U.S. interests, speaking frankly at the United Nations about the threat of a nuclear North Korea and supporting free and fair trade deals during his five-country tour of Asia. In a speech on December 18, in which he outlined his national security strategy for the coming years, he firmly stated, “America is coming back, and America is coming back strong.”Congress, Administration Approve Navy BuildupThis message came just days after the President signed the “National Defense Authorization Act” into law – one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress passes each year to ensure our troops are prepared for their missions. I worked directly on this bill as a member of the Armed Services Committee and as chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, sponsoring a major proposal for the United States to achieve a 355-ship Navy. The Navy has set a minimum force requirement of 355 ships but currently operates a fleet with only 279 ships. The defense bill makes it the national policy of the United States to meet this minimum requirement.Naval power goes hand in hand with the President’s bold national security vision. In his speech, President Trump focused on four key areas: protecting the homeland, promoting economic security, supporting ‘peace through strength,’ and expanding America’s international influence. Our Navy helps fulfill all of these objectives by deterring aggressive behavior by rogue nations, projecting force, and maintaining an open flow of commerce and trade.Declines in naval capability can have far-reaching consequences. It is alarming that our naval commanders around the world are already experiencing coverage gaps, and adversaries like China and Russia are actively building up their fleets in an effort to exploit our vulnerabilities.The challenges of military preparedness are not isolated to the Navy. Our national security interests are best served when all branches of the armed services – Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard – are ready and capable.Resolve to Deter Aggression, Defeat TerrorismEfforts to deter Russian aggression reach beyond the sea. As a longtime critic of Russia’s siege of Crimea and its clear disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty, I am encouraged by the Trump Administration’s recent decision to authorize commercial sales of lethal arms to Ukraine. The Ukrainian people should be able to defend themselves from Russia’s illegal invasion. This arms sale reaffirms that the United States will not tolerate Russia’s flouting of international law.I am also encouraged by the Trump Administration’s relentless pursuit of jihadist terrorists. Our military has taken resolute steps to defeat the Islamic State, with U.S. special operations forces part of the coalition that liberated the terrorist group’s stronghold of Raqqa in October. Our troops also helped Iraqi forces achieve victory over Islamic State forces in early December.These strategic steps are encouraging. So is the support by Congress and the Administration for a stronger military, reaffirming that America’s standing in the world will again be on solid ground.Senator Roger Wicker Press Release12/29/17

  • @SenatorWicker Responds to Mississippi Joining FirstNet

    yallpolitics.com |

    RELEASEWicker Responds to Mississippi Joining FirstNetTUPELO – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, today issued the following statement regarding Mississippi’s participation in the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet):“Congress has an important oversight role as this nationwide network is being deployed. I am committed to ensuring that FirstNet meets its obligations to Mississippi and our emergency responders.”In July, Wicker convened a hearing to examine the progress of the network’s deployment. During that hearing, Wicker said, “By any estimation, the development of this nationwide public safety broadband network is a challenge, but it is an essential endeavor to ensure that first responders can fulfill their daily mission to save lives. At the center of this effort is the courage of our nation’s first responders, who put their lives on the line every day – in Mississippi and across the nation – to protect our families, neighborhoods, and communities. They deserve a network that is interoperable, reliable, and secure.”Dr. Damon Darsey, an Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was a witness at that hearing. Click here for Mr. Darsey’s testimony.12/28/17

  • Lt. Gov. Reeves, Speaker Gunn express opposition to a state lottery but recognize support in #msleg

    yallpolitics.com |

    Lottery has momentum, not embraced by Legislature's presiding officersIn response to emailed questions, Meghan Annison, a spokesman for Gunn, said, “The speaker does not support the lottery. He will not vote for the lottery and does not support a lottery bill originating in the House. We’ll see how the session develops. If the Senate introduces a bill, we will address the issue then.”......Of the possibility of a lottery being enacted in 2018, Reeves said, “I personally am opposed to the lottery in Mississippi, and I do not see it being the windfall many others do. But I do believe a majority of senators would like to vote to enact a lottery.”Daily Journal12/29/17

  • Newly elected HD 38 state Rep. Cheikh Taylor says of 2018 #msleg, “we are in for a fight”

    yallpolitics.com |

    NEWLY ELECTED STATE REPRESENTATIVE CHEIKH TAYLOR GEARS UP FOR FIRST LEGISLATIVE SESSIONSTARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- The new legislative session is less than a week away, and for District 38 state representative Cheikh Taylor, this will be his first.Taylor said being the state representative for District 38 is a dream come true.He’s taking over the seat after longtime state representative Tyrone Ellis stepped down back in June.Though he’ll be a new face at the capital, Taylor is eager to begin serving his new term.“I’m hopeful because I’m new at this, but I can tell you from some of the things I’ve heard and seen so far that we are in for a fight,” said Taylor.WCBI12/28/17

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