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Legislators approve final version of religious practices bill

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers yesterday passed the final version of a bill that says state and local governments cannot put a substantial burden on religious practices, a measure that sparked debate about possible discrimination against gay people and other groups. An early version of the bill, considered weeks ago, was similar to one that Arizona’s […] [...]

Bryant says he will sign new abortion-restricting bill

JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant said yesterday that he looks forward to quickly signing a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy. “This measure represents a great effort to protect the unborn in Mississippi,” Bryant said in a statement after House Bill 1400 passed the House 91-20 and […] [...]

Coast city getting FEMA funding to fix Isaac-damaged piers

GULFPORT — The city of Gulfport is getting nearly $1.6 million to repair piers and jetties damaged by Hurricane Isaac in 2012 — work that U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran says has been languishing because of bureaucratic environmental hurdles. Cochran, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency […] [...]

Lawmakers pass new bill concerning DOR’s tax collections

JACKSON — Lawmakers are moving ahead with changes to tax collections that the state Department of Revenue warns could ultimately cost Mississippi more than $100 million a year. Supporters, though, say the department’s tax collection powers put taxpayers at an unfair disadvantage, especially after a recent state Supreme Court decision. They also dispute whether the […] [...]

Commissioners want to review nuclear waste plan

JACKSON — Two members of the Public Service Commission say they want more time to study a resolution urging a stop to payments into a federal nuclear waste fund and a rejection of any plans to store or reprocess nuclear waste in Mississippi. Commissioner Brandon Presley sought immediate action today, but Commissioners Lynn Posey and […] [...]

KiOR borrows $25M; avoids defaulting on loan

COLUMBUS — Alternative-fuel maker KiOR Inc. has borrowed enough money to keep operating through August. The Pasadena, Texas, company, which has a $225-million plant in Columbus, had warned last month that it had to raise more money for research and plant improvements. KiOR, in a stock filing today, said it had completed a deal to […] [...]

Ex-alderman candidate sentenced for voter fraud

CANTON — A former candidate for alderman in Canton has been given a five-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to submitting a false voter registration application on behalf of a convicted felon. District Attorney Michael Guest says in a news release Cobby Williams allegedly was going door-to-door in March of 2013 and registering people to […] [...]

House, Senate agree to teacher pay-raise plan

JACKSON — A teacher pay-raise plan calls for Mississippi public school teachers to get two across-the-board pay raises worth $2,500 and then be eligible for merit payments in 2016-2017. House and Senate negotiators agreed to the plan yesterday. The full House and Senate must still both pass House Bill 504 and send it to Republican […] [...]

Bryant signs criminal justice system bill into law

JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant yesterday signed a bill designed to make the criminal justice system more efficient and less expensive. Bryant said House Bill 585, which becomes law July 1, will protect public safety and could save the state $266 million in prison expenses, spread over 10 years. The bill is modeled on criminal-justice […] [...]

Lawmakers hammer out budget just before deadline

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers has to approve dozens of bills in the state’s $6-billion budget before today’s deadline. Representatives and senators will be getting first looks at some measures for the budget year that begins July 1, because place-holder bills, filed Saturday, were sent back to committees to be rewritten yesterday. Several dozen spending bills […] [...]

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