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Mississippi lawmakers seek higher reserves, less spending

Top Mississippi lawmakers, seeking to put more money in reserve, propose small cuts for most state agencies in the coming year. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, meeting Monday, adopted a plan that would cut more than 1 percent from overall state spending in the 2019 budget year, which begins July 1. It would be the second straight decline in state ...

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Justices reject appeal over Mississippi Confederate emblem

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from an African-American attorney who called the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag “an official endorsement of white supremacy.” The justices did not comment as they ended a lawsuit by lawyer Carlos Moore that sought to have the flag declared an unconstitutional relic of slavery. Mississippi has used the same ...

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Analysis: Chairmen tamp down talk of big jump in tobacco tax

It’s been nearly a decade since a former tobacco lobbyist signed a law that increased the Mississippi’s state cigarette tax from 18 cents to 68 cents a pack. Now, about 20 health advocacy groups are starting to push for a tax increase of $1.50 a pack, plus “parallel” increases on chewing tobacco, during the 2018 legislative session. They say the ...

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Trade Mart construction to start in the spring

By JACK WEATHERLY Construction of the Mississippi Trade Mart will start in the spring, with expected completion about two years later, Cindy Hyde-Smith, commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce said Tuesday. The 105,000-square-foot building will replace the 67,000-square-foot free-standing structure erected in 1975 that has become outmoded and has a leaky roof. The new mart will be attached to the east ...

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Natchez Trace Parkway Employees Receive Safety, Health, and Wellness Recognition

Twenty-one Natchez Trace Parkway employees recently received Award Coins from the Parkway’s Safety, Health, and Wellness Committee in recognition for providing visitor assistance, improving ATV/UTV safety plans, demonstrating the proper use of a chainsaw brake, adding shade canopies to riding mowers, reporting unsafe work conditions on and off duty, promoting a safe environment, and consistently demonstrating safety leadership. Recognized were, ...

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Gov. Bryant Appoints Lisa Howell Lauderdale County Court Judge

Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed Lisa Howell Lauderdale County Court judge. Howell replaces Judge Frank M. Coleman, who retired. Howell joins Judge Veldore Young Graham on the county court bench. Howell’s post will appear on the ballot in November 2018. Howell has served as assistant district attorney for the 10th Circuit Court District, which includes Lauderdale County, since 1995. Prior ...

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Mississippi Commission Chair Presley Appointed to NARUC’s Board of Directors

Mississippi Public Service Commission Chair Brandon Presley has been appointed to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Board of Directors. Presley was elected to the Mississippi PSC in 2007 and then re-elected in 2011 and 2015. Presley also was the mayor of Nettleton, from 2002 to 2007. He also was vice chair of NARUC’s Natural Gas Access and Expansion ...

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Secretary of State’s Office Earns Two Awards for Y’all Business, Charities Online

Two websites operated by the Secretary of State’s Office have earned top awards in creativity and digital communication. Y’all Business, www.yallbusiness.sos.ms.gov, took home a 2017 Platinum dotComm award, and Charities Online earned a Gold. dotComm Awards is an international competition administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. Y’all Business, Mississippi’s resource for free economic development information, relaunched in ...

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Medical building named for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is naming a building for Gov. Phil Bryant. College Board trustees approved the plan Thursday morning. Bearing Bryant’s name will be the university’s recently opened medical school building in Jackson. The five-story, $74 million structure was officially opened in August, giving the university room to expand the number of physicians it trains. The Republican ...

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Analysis: Mississippi budget practices receive mixed grades

A nonpartisan group that evaluates state government budget practices is giving mostly midlevel marks to Mississippi. The Volcker Alliance was formed four years ago by Paul A. Volcker, a former board chairman of the Federal Reserve, with the goal of making government more efficient. The alliance issued a report Nov. 2 called “Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting,” which evaluates all states’ ...

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