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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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ALAN TURNER — The importance of quality local journalism

Today, we’ve all heard the use of the term “fake news”. This is a term that was virtually unknown until recent years, just as the words “Google”, “Facebook”, and “Twitter” were unknown just a few years ago. There is no way to over-emphasize the importance of trustworthy, accurate news and information to a free and democratic nation. There is also ...

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TODD SMITH — TV news audience continues to dwindle

Blistering fast wireless networks, digital assistants everywhere, and a coming out bash for augmented reality. Americans are relying less on television for their news, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Just 50 percent of U.S. adults now get news regularly from television, down from 57 percent a year prior in early 2016. But that audience drain varies across ...

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BEN WILLIAMS — Dissecting the December 2017 U.S. Supreme Court Travel Ban Order

When Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson issued his short-lived October 17, 2017 U.S.-wide restraining order of President Trump’s September 24, 2017 Proclamation 9645 (sometimes called the “third travel ban”), the lifetime Article III appointee felt compelled to lead with injudicious humor: “Professional athletes mirror the federal government in this respect: they operate within a set of rules, and ...

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TODD SMITH: 7 technologies to watch in 2018

Blistering fast wireless networks, digital assistants everywhere, and a coming out bash for augmented reality. These and other technologies are worth keeping an eye on in 2018, according to USA TODAY. There is sure to be more digital innovations on the horizon in 2018! All of these new technologies will leverage advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence in a ...

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Analysis: Opponents say school merger won’t save money

Residents trying to prevent consolidation of the Richton and Perry County school districts are trying a new argument — that combining the two would cost more money and not less. Lawmakers last year appointed a study commission of people from the two districts to suggest plans for a merger. That’s a common tactic when local lawmakers are fighting consolidation. Such ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Local government at risk from online sales, store closings

Stagnant tax policies and anti-tax fervor coupled with the Legislature’s inattention to changing business patterns will play havoc with local government financing over the coming years.    Here’s the backdrop.   Municipal finances depend heavily on sales taxes that the state collects and shares with communities where the sales occur. Growing online sales by Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other major retailers ...

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