Mississippi Wind Pool will end rate breaks for big business and government, residential rates could drop.


Large businesses and government agencies have been getting a big break on premiums in Mississippi’s coastal insurer of last resort, but it’s coming to an end.

Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association representatives told the Sun Herald that the wind pool’s residential policyholders in the state’s six southernmost counties should benefit, although lower rates aren’t certain.

“The wind pool shouldn’t have been doing this,” said Fox Everett Inc. insurance agent Bobby Portwood, who is also a member of the wind pool’s board. “It was actually making the residential rates subsidize private business.”

The wind pool sells insurance against damage from hurricanes, hail and other windstorms to people who can’t buy it elsewhere in George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties. Most policies are concentrated close to the coast.

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Musgrove adds 5 more school districts to list filing #MAEP lawsuit against state


Five more Mississippi school districts are joining a lawsuit against the state over shortfalls in education funding.

With the additions announced yesterday, there are now 19 plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

Musgrove spokesman George Shelton said the new plaintiffs are school districts in Greene County, Humphreys County, Leland, North Bolivar and West Bolivar. Shelton yesterday originally announced the Forest municipal school district as a new plaintiff, but a short time later said that was a “miscommunication.”

The lawsuit seeks money to make up for budget shortfalls since 2010 because the Legislature has not fulfilled obligations of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. MAEP is a complex formula designed to give schools enough money to meet midlevel academic standards.

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Gov. Bryant Sets Special Election Date for Senate District 17


Gov. Phil Bryant today issued a Writ of Election, setting Nov. 4 as the special election date to fill the Senate seat left vacant in District 17 with the passing of Senator Terry Brown in early September.

“In issuing this order I am ever mindful of the service to the people of Mississippi provided by my friend Terry Brown,” Gov. Bryant said. “He will be missed long past the next election.”

The qualifying deadline for candidates is Oct. 6.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the special election, a runoff election will be held Nov. 25.

View the Writ of Election HERE

 

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Are Mississippi’s taxes ‘fair’?


Mississippi’s state and local taxes ranked 44th out of 50 states in “fairness” in a new survey.

Whether fair or not, Mississippi’s state and local taxes are among the lowest in the nation, and may soon be cut.

First, WalletHub conducted a nationally representative survey of what Americans consider fair was conducted. Most said a fair tax system taxes higher-income households at a higher rate than lower-income. Most said a progressive tax system is more fair, but nearly every state has a regressive state and local tax system.

Mississippi also was listed fourth of the top 10 states where the middle class is most over taxed.

Montana’s taxes rated most fair; Washington’s least fair. Nearby states ranked: Alabama, 37th; Louisiana, 39th; Tennessee, 41st; Arkansas, 48th and Florida, 46th.

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Auditor Stacey Pickering addresses MAEP formula flaws


The Mississippi Adequate Education Program, also known at MAEP, is the formula used to fund public school districts in the state. The State Auditor, Stacey Pickering says there is a flaw in the system when it comes to districts reporting the number of students attending school.”What we’ve found in the last 12 months is most of the school districts we’ve audited are not actually following the 63 percent law and have not implemented it,” says Pickering. He adds for the last few years he hasn’t validated and certified the MAEP formula for the state. In 2013 legislatures agreed that students must be in school for 63 percent of the day to be counted as present. “That’s addressed about $1.9 Billion of the funding formula. So these aren’t small numbers we’re talking about,” says Pickering.

Funding is partly based on the number of students attending school. Another part of the formula and Pickering’s audit, includes free lunches for students. “Potentially 53 school districts in Mississippi could have 100 percent of their students on free lunch,” says Pickering.

>>>PLUNKETT: Time for Republicans to exorcise the education demons and fully fund MAEP

It’s part of a federal program that requires the state to provide free lunches for “At Risk” students. What that means, legislation hasn’t defined “At Risk” but the state would be required to pay additional money to the school for them.

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WILSON: MS Highway Patrol policy allows blood to be drawn at DUI checkpoints.


BY: Steve Wilson | Watchdog.org

Vampire movies, books and TV series are all of the rage these days. Guess the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol wanted to get in on the act.

Over the long Labor Day weekend, the patrol ran a no-refusal DUI checkpoint in Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi. In a no-refusal checkpoint, a driver who refuses a sobriety test — either a breath test or a standard field sobriety test — could be compelled to undergo a blood test.

A judge is either on site or on call to rule on probable cause and can issue a warrant for the test. A certified phlebotomist is at the ready, and blood is drawn at the checkpoint.

According to state law , drivers in Mississippi give their “implied consent” to a blood or breath sample if an officer lawfully requests it. A search warrant becomes necessary if a driver refuses, and a first-time refusal results in a 90-day license suspension.

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol did not return repeated requests for comment.

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Hosemann to co-chair national voter participation committee.


Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will co-chair the standing committee on voter participation for the National Association of Secretaries of State.

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