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Key decisions to be made this week before legislators finalize budget

How much money the Legislature will have to fund education, health care, law enforcement and other vital services for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1, will be dependent on some key actions during the coming week. As of right now, the Legislature’s official revenue estimate is that the state will have slightly less revenue – $1.5 million or .03 ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — McDaniel switcheroo shifts hot seat from Wicker to Bryant

Call it what you will, state Senator Chris McDaniel blinked. Despite his earlier caustic rhetoric, he will not challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker in the Republican Primary. Instead, he will compete in what he hopes will be an easier pathway to the Senate, the special election to fill retiring Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. Assuming his billionaire funders stick with ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Legislature has flubbed responsibility for good schools

With all the noise about school funding, school choice, vouchers, and teacher shortages, perhaps a look at some fundamentals would be helpful.   Remember 2015? The Initiative 42 referendum to put full funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) in the state constitution? That initiative and the Legislature’s alternative both failed. So Section 201 of the Mississippi Constitution remains ...

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Mississippi demands $100K from Canton utilities board members

Officials say utility board members in a Mississippi city owe nearly $100,000 to the state auditor’s office after using public funds for personal use. The Clarion Ledger cites a Thursday statement from State Auditor Stacey Pickering as saying five members on the Canton Municipal Utilities Board of Commissioners used board funds to pay for an attorney when they were not members. Cleotha ...

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BEN WILLIAMS — Alexander Hamilton v Robert S. Mueller III: Can a president be indicted?

At the end of Act I of the box-office smash Hamilton: An American Musical, the play’s namesake beseeches his murderer-to-be to co-author a “series of essays, anonymously published” defending the proposed U.S. Constitution.  Alexander Hamilton’s entreaty to Aaron Burr probably never occurred, but Hamilton – with assistance from fellow Founding Fathers James Madison and John Jay – would publish incognito ...

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Mississippi gov won’t appoint self to Senate

The Latest on the upcoming vacancy U.S. Senate vacancy in Mississippi (all times local): 12:35 p.m. Mississippi’s Republican governor says he will not appoint himself to succeed longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Gov. Phil Bryant says there’s “something nefarious” about a governor appointing himself to another office. Bryant also says: “Washington’s not where I want to be just now” and ...

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AG Hood wants restitution for child pornography victims

Attorney General Jim Hood joined 54 attorneys general today in calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017 (S.2152), which would establish guidelines for restitution and ensure that victims receive timely and meaningful restitution. Currently, a child pornography victim must pursue every case in which a ...

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2 Senate seats up in Mississippi as GOP defends its majority

Republicans suddenly find themselves defending two seats in Mississippi this year as they try to maintain their slim majority in the U.S. Senate. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker is already up for re-election in the deeply conservative state. And 80-year-old Republican Sen. Thad Cochran announced Monday that he is resigning April 1 because of poor health. Cochran is just over halfway ...

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Mississippi mayor to leave Democratic Party, be Independent

The Democratic mayor of Vicksburg thinks he’s figured out a way to straddle the partisan divide in politics: He’s going to declare himself an independent, so that in the future he’ll only have to run in general elections, not primaries. The Vicksburg Post reported Tuesday that Mayor George Flaggs Jr. says he’ll formally leave the Democratic Party by March 20. Flaggs says ...

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Who’s next? Speculation begins on who will replace Cochran

Thad Cochran, who was first elected to the United States Senate in 1978, announced Monday he will step down on April 1. In a statement, the 80-year-old Cochran said, “I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 ...

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