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Bill repeals law requiring later start to school year

JACKSON — House leaders are giving up on requiring school to start later in August. The House passed Senate Bill 2571 Tuesday, repealing a 2012 law saying public schools can start class no earlier than August’s third Monday. The bill was held for more debate. If House members reject that, it would go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his consideration. ...

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Union-restricting legislation moves forward

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers are moving ahead with a package of bills to restrict some labor union organizing and picketing practices. The House passed a package of five bills yesterday, four of which will return to the Senate for more work because they were amended by the House. The other, Senate Bill 2689, would stop local governments from restricting employer ...

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Senate passes teacher pay raise legislation

JACKSON — The Mississippi Senate has unanimously passed Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ plan to raise teacher pay and reward academic progress at schools. Under the plan, current Mississippi teachers would see a $3,500 increase in pay by July 2015. The plan also raises beginning teacher salaries to keep Mississippi’s brightest teachers in the state. “This plan establishes the first true ...

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Reeves, Tollison introduce teacher salary legislation

JACKSON — Current Mississippi teachers would see a $3,500 increase in pay over the next 16 months while starting salaries would rise under a plan presented yesterday by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison. The proposal also includes a stipend to reward teachers for academic improvement at schools. “The Senate’s plan for teachers makes Mississippi ...

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Lawmakers believe disaster assistance will help oyster, crab industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) say they are optimistic that $10.9 million in disaster assistance awarded to Mississippi will help the state’s commercial oyster and blue crab industries recover from setbacks caused by flooding in 2011. Cochran, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Wicker, a member of the Senate Commerce ...

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Legislation passes that would merge school districts

JACKSON — Three pairs of school districts would be merged under bills passed today by the Senate Education Committee. Separate measures would combine school districts in Greenwood and Leflore County, Winona and Montgomery County and Claiborne and Jefferson counties. Leflore and Claiborne have been in the spotlight after they were taken over by the state for poor academic performance and ...

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House bill would require more information from insurers

JACKSON — Lawmakers could require insurers to disclose how much they collect in premiums and how much they pay in claims in each ZIP code. House Bill 753 could spark more debate over how much coastal homeowners are charged to cover against hurricanes, as well as make it clearer what areas private wind insurers are avoiding. The House Insurance Committee ...

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Bill to finance new UMMC facility passes in committee

JACKSON — Lawmakers are advancing a $31-million bond bill to finance a new medical school building at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. House Bill 787 passed the Ways and Means Committee yesterday. It moves to the full House for more debate. After that, it would go to the Senate. UMMC officials say the current medical school building is decades ...

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Session shows divide between Democrats, Republicans

JACKSON — Democrats are starting their third year as the minority party in both chambers of the Mississippi Legislature, and they’re not making life easy for Republicans. The first big House debate of the year was over a welfare drug-testing bill pushed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. The four-hour fight demonstrated that Republicans have enough votes to pass almost anything ...

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Lawmakers pass bill transferring Trace land to city, state

WASHINGTON — Congress has approved legislation authorizing the transfer of surplus land within the Natchez Trace Parkway to the City of Natchez for public recreation purposes. The House of Representatives voted 419-1 to approve the Natchez Trace Parkway Conveyance Act of 2013 (S.304), legislation introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and cosponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss). Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) ...

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