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Analysis: Troubled prison system requires intense attention

Top Mississippi officials acknowledge the state is facing a crisis with its prison system, with five inmates killed and others injured in recent mayhem. Two days after he was inaugurated last week, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves described the violence as a “catastrophe.” He appointed a group to conduct a nationwide search for a new commissioner to lead the Mississippi Department ...

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ANALYSIS — Tax hike is one thing, bright outlook for gasoline is another

By JACK WEATHERLY A hike in Mississippi gasoline tax has been bandied about for years as a solution for much-needed improvements in the state’s roads and bridges. But it continues to draw, at best, a luke-warm response from governmental leaders. Whether the increase were to occur, the good news is that the historical price of gasoline in the state continues ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Republican strategist questions what GOP now stands for

Longtime Mississippi Republicans will remember political consultant Stuart Stevens for his work on early campaigns for the late Sen. Thad Cochran. Since those early races he has become a highly successful media strategist and has helped elect numerous Republican governors and senators. His client list sounds like a who’s who of Republican leaders – President George W. Bush, Gov. Mitt ...

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TODD SMITH — What readers want in news

As we launch into 2020, it’s a great time to check the presses on what readers seek in the news media. A recent study by The Center for Media Engagement aimed to get the scoop on what readers don’t understand about the news process and how newsrooms can build trust with their audiences. For this study, The Center for Media ...

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PHIL HARDWICK — What is the purpose of business

Last summer, The Business Roundtable, a nonprofit organization of CEO’s of major businesses, redefined its Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation to include stakeholders in addition to shareholders. The action has produced much discussion about the primary role of the corporation. To put it another way: What responsibility does business have to society? Nobel prize recipient Milton Friedman and ...

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Analysis: Hosemann delves into role as lieutenant governor

Mississippi’s new Republican lieutenant governor, Delbert Hosemann, has a reputation for working hard and expecting others around him to do the same. Hosemann was an attorney in private practice before he served three terms as secretary of state. He moved from that job to lieutenant governor on Thursday when he was inaugurated to succeed Republican Tate Reeves, the man who ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Ignored problems don’t disappear, they become crises

Mississippi’s prison crisis is about to teach new legislators a hard lesson. “Prison brass warned of dangerous conditions a year ago, but lawmakers did not act,” read the headline in Mississippi Today following gang violence and deaths in Mississippi prisons. That was just the latest warning. In 2012, then Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Christopher Epps, now in prison ...

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MISSISSIPPI PROFILES — Forman Watkins: A firm with solid roots in Mississippi

I had the opportunity to talk with Trey Watkins, a partner in the firm of Forman Watkins & Krutz LLC, and learn about what sets the firm apart. Watkins grew up in Jackson and it’s been his home for most of his life. Trey went to law school at Ole Miss, completing his education in 2001. After a couple of years serving ...

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Analysis: 6 women have held statewide office in Mississippi

Republican Lynn Fitch will be sworn in as Mississippi’s new attorney general Thursday, becoming the first woman in that job. Fitch is one of only six women ever elected to statewide office in Mississippi. Two of them — Nellah Massey Bailey and Julia Henrich Kendrick — are often overlooked. Bailey was elected three times as state tax collector, in 1947, ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Can civic education save democracy from social media?

As two of the three branches of government become more and more politicized, the posture of the third will play a crucial role in how our federal government works. The two politicized branches, of course, are the executive and legislative. The third, and supposed to always rise above politics, is the judicial branch. Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice ...

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