Amid False 2020 Claims, GOP States Eye Voting System Upgrade
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Jonathan Mattise and Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press
1y ago
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For years, Tennessee Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro’s call to require the state’s voting infrastructure to include a paper record of each ballot cast has been batted down in the Republican-dominated Legislature. But as false claims still swirl around the 2020 presidential election — and some GOP voters remain distrustful of voting machines — Tennessee Republican lawmakers who have held off are coming around on a paper-backed mandate. A similar scenario is playing out in some of the five other states -- four of which are Republican-led -- that do not curr ..read more
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Judge Sentences Two Madison County Men to 150-Plus Years in Prison for Drug Offenses
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Kayode Crown, Mississippi Free Press
1y ago
Madison/Rankin County Circuit Court Judge Dewey Arthur walked into courtroom 1 of the circuit courthouse in Canton at 9:06 a.m. on March 28, 2022. His first order of business was the sentencing of 34-year-old Carlos Dominique Allen for drug offenses. Before the sentence, Assistant District Attorney Todd McAlpin told the court that the judge should treat Allen as a habitual offender. In Mississippi, someone facing a conviction for a second drug offense faces twice the maximum years in prison. Someone with two prior felony convictions gets the maximum sentence for the crimes as a habitual offen ..read more
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Gov. Reeves Signs $524-Million Tax Cut As Education, Infrastructure Funding Woes Remain
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Ashton Pittman, Mississippi Free Press
1y ago
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed an income-tax cut Tuesday afternoon that will eliminate $524 million from state revenues. House Bill 531, known as the Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022, eliminates the state’s lower tax bracket and cuts 1% off the top bracket. The new income tax will phase in over a four-year period, starting in 2023. “This is a tremendous victory, and it will make a massive impact on the lives of Mississippians, and it will make a tremendous impact on our economy for years and years to come,” the governor said at the public bill signing. “… We will be on our way to retu ..read more
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Teacher Raise, Tax Cut Top Issues in Mississippi Session
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators have finished their busiest session in years after enacting the largest teacher pay raise in a generation and setting the state's largest-ever income tax cut. “Clearly, by any stretch, the Mississippi Legislature performed this year,” Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said Tuesday. After more than a year of economic uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi's tax collections rebounded over the past several months, driven partly by massive federal spending for pandemic relief. As they ended their session Tuesday, legislators comp ..read more
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Mississippi Legislators Work to Approve State Spending Plans
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators on Monday were approving parts of a state budget for the year that begins July 1, and it is substantially larger than the budget for the current year. The biggest state-funded portion of the new budget is nearly $6.3 billion general fund. With money from the Education Enhancement Fund, a Capital Expense Fund and two funds connected to Mississippi's lawsuit against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, total state spending will top $7.3 billion. For the current year, the general fund is about $5.8 billion and total state spending is about $6.7 billion ..read more
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Mississippi Joins States Limiting Outside Election Funding
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is the latest Republican-led state to ban election offices from accepting donations from private groups for voting operations—a movement fueled by conservatives' suspicion of donations by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2020. Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1365 on Friday, and it will become law July 1. It says state or local officials who conduct elections cannot solicit or accept donations from any private group for “voter education, voter outreach or voter registration programs." Reeves said in a video posted to Facebook on Mo ..read more
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'Go, Mississippi': State Could Ditch Song with Racist Roots
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is on the verge of scuttling a state song with racist roots, two years after it retired a Confederate-themed state flag. The current song, “Go, Mississippi," takes its tune from a 1959 campaign jingle of Democratic Gov. Ross Barnett. “Roll With Ross" included the lyrics, “For segregation, 100%. He's not a moderate, like some of the gents." Barnett unsuccessfully resisted integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962, and legislators that year adopted a state song setting new words to his campaign ditty: “Go, Mississippi, keep rolling along. Go, Mississ ..read more
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Mississippi Lawmakers Aim to Finish Budget and End Session
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators are returning to the Capitol on Monday with hopes of finishing their 2022 session. They still need to finish passing a state budget for the year that begins July 1. The state-funded portion of the budget will be more than $6.2 billion. Legislators also will allocate billions of federal dollars, including money the state received from a federal pandemic relief package. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday that he intends to sign a bill that will authorize Mississippi's largest-ever tax cut. On March 27, the House and Senate voted by wide margins ..read more
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Mississippi Governor Signs Largest Teacher Raise in Years
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Wednesday authorizing the largest pay raise in a generation for the state's public school teachers, long among the lowest-paid in the nation. House Bill 530 becomes law July 1. Teachers will receive average increase of about $5,100 — a jump of more than 10% over their current pay. Lawmakers and the Republican governor have said boosting the salaries could help Mississippi attract and retain classroom professionals. The average teacher salary in Mississippi during the 2019-20 academic year was $46,843, according to the Southern R ..read more
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Mississippi House, Senate Pass Separate Redistricting Plans
Jackson Free Press – Politics
by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
1y ago
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House and Senate voted by wide margins Tuesday to approve separate plans to redraw legislative districts to account for population changes revealed by the 2020 Census. Republican legislative leaders said the redistricting plans are likely to maintain their party's majority in each chamber. A white Republican senator, Kathy Chism of New Albany, said during debate Tuesday that she had prayed over the issue because she was concerned that Republicans would be harmed by districts with higher percentages of Black voters. Historical voting patterns in Mississipp ..read more
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