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Mississippi lawmakers mull more prison time for gang members

Long prison terms for gang members would be imposed under a bill moving forward in the Mississippi House. The House Judiciary B Committee voted Friday to send House Bill 541 forward to the full House for more debate. The measure would require that any gang member convicted of any crime committed, even a misdemeanor, spend an additional five years in ...

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PEE BILL — Mississippi would combat fake urine with ‘Urine Trouble’ law

Shoppers can now buy fake urine to defeat drug tests, but Mississippi lawmakers are fighting back with what they call the “Urine Trouble” bill. Republican Rep. Andy Gipson said synthetic human urine products are being sold in truck stops. During a meeting of a state House committee Thursday, Gipson held up what he said was an $18.99 vial of liquid ...

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Mississippians not required to be 21 to buy tobacco products

A House committee doesn’t want to require Mississippians to be 21 to buy tobacco products. The House Ways and Means Committee, on a split voice vote Wednesday, rejected House Bill 835 . The measure sponsored by Rep. Debra Butler Dixon, a Raymond Democrat, would have increased the age to buy cigarettes and other products from the current 18. States with ages above ...

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Director: Mississippi foster care has budget shortfall

The director of Mississippi’s Department of Child Protective Services says the agency is about $44 million short of what it needs for the final five months of the budget year. But, he is also telling lawmakers Tuesday that they can solve the agency’s budget shortfall by spending only about $12 million. The director, Jess Dickinson, says the $12 million can ...

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School choice rally held as fate of bills remains unclear

Mississippi’s elected leaders say they support letting parents choose private or public schools for students using public money, but it’s unclear if such proposals will advance this year. Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, all Republicans, spoke Tuesday at a school choice rally attended by hundreds of students. Conservative groups that organized the rally ...

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Unemployment rate hits record low in Mississippi

The unemployment rate fell to record lows in three U.S. states last month, as steady hiring soaked up more of those out of work. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the jobless rate fell to the lowest levels since records began in 1976 in Hawaii, Mississippi and California. The rate in Hawaii was 2 percent, while Mississippi’s dropped to 4.6 ...

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2 women file to run for congressional seat in Mississippi

A state lawmaker and a business executive are the latest to enter the Republican primary for an open congressional seat in Mississippi. Sally Doty is an attorney from Brookhaven and has served in the state Senate since 2012. Morgan Dunn is managing director of Vestra LLC, a health care consulting firm in Magee. The two women filed qualifying papers Monday ...

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Analysis: Lawmakers must make decisions on oil spill money

Nearly eight years after an explosion unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi’s elective representatives still must decide how to spend part of the compensation for the spill. Contrasting approaches to that $750 million from oil company BP PLC for lost tax revenue are on display in the state Senate and House. The Senate, led ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Mississippi’s seniority clout looks to dwindle

Powerful seniority has given small, rural Mississippi significant clout in Congress. That clout looks to dwindle sooner than expected.    Since 1940, the state has elected and re-elected U.S. Senators and Representatives for multiple decades to allow them to accrete seniority. For example, Rep. Jamie Whitten served 53 years, Bill Colmer 39 years, John Rankin 32 years, and Tom Abernethy ...

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Gov. Phil Bryant Appoints Drew L. Snyder Interim Executive Director of Mississippi Division of Medicaid

Gov. Phil Bryant Appoints Drew L. Snyder Interim Executive Director of Mississippi Division of Medicaid Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed Drew L. Snyder interim executive director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid. Snyder will replace Dr. David Dzielak, who is retiring. A Eupora native, Snyder is the deputy chief of staff for Bryant. He also serves as his policy director ...

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