Supreme Court rules McDaniel ruling in lower court will stand.


The Mississippi State Supreme Court is upholding a lower court’s decision to dismiss Chris McDaniel’s lawsuit challenge to the June 24 Senate runoff election.

In an order released Friday afternoon, the court writes, “We find that McDaniel failed to file his election contest timely, and the trial judge did not err by dismissing the case.”

You can view the entire order online: http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Orders/CO98646.pdf

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‘Ready To Run’ Initiative encourages more Mississippi women to run for public office.


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Evelyn Gandy was the first female elected to statewide office in Mississippi, serving as Treasurer. Today that office is held by Lynn Fitch. Fitch is currently the only female holding a statewide office in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi is one of just two states to never elect a female congressman, senator, or governor. A new initiative is underway to recruit more women to run for political office.

Called Ready To Run, the goal is to provide women with the skills, knowledge, and encouragement to get involved in the political process.

The series of day long educational sessions is aimed at women like Greta Kemp, a 30 year old attorney from Jackson who is considering a run for the state legislature.

“I was born and raised and got my education in Mississippi. I feel like I have an aptitude for public service. And I feel like its time that women have a greater voice in state politics,” Kemp said.

Roughly 15-percent of the Mississippi House and Senate are women, even though the state is more than half female.

The program is sponsored by the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women.

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Hearing date for challenge to MS same-sex marriage ban set for November 12.


A hearing has been set in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, a federal challenge to Mississippi’s law banning same-sex marriage.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. on November 12. Both sides in the case will gather in federal court in Jackson before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Plaintiffs are also represented by Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson.

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MS Hospitals continue pressing for Medicaid expansion.


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(graphic credit: Kaiser Family Foundation via MPBOnline.org)

St. Dominic’s president Lester Diamond says Mississippi hospitals are working on a proposal that would include changes to the existing Medicaid program to help convince reluctant state lawmakers to expand it.

Diamond says there is a sweet spot that includes conservative changes to Medicaid but still open access to hundreds of thousands of more Mississippians.

RELATED>>>Plunkett: DSH payments will never be cut. Dems should vote to reauthorize Medicaid now.

“Hopefully some of those alternatives will be appealing to the leadership in our state and also allow us to draw down some of the federal dollars that are available as part of a quote ‘Medicaid Expansion,” Diamond said.

Medicaid expansion is an optional part of the health care reform law.

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Filed under health, Legislature, Medicaid, Mississippi, Obamacare, Politics, State Government

Chairing Space Subcommittee brings Palazzo campaign cash from out of state PAC’s.


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As chairman of a House Science and Technology Committee panel over the last four years, Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi has been a vocal advocate of U.S. space exploration, calling for the resumption of manned flights.

That stand has served his re-election campaign well, too, bringing a pile of cash that helped him stave off a primary challenge last spring.

From Jan. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30 of this year, the chairman of the Space Subcommittee has collected at least $73,000 from political action committees and employees for aerospace contractors. Among them is a PAC for Tesla creator Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp., founded with the goal of colonizing Mars.

The out-of-state donations are in keeping with Palazzo’s overall fundraising pattern as he closes in on winning a third term in office. More than half of the $882,620 he collected through Sept. 30 came from PACs representing special interests, nearly all of them from outside Mississippi, a computer-assisted McClatchy analysis of his donations found.

Only $13,731, or 1.5 percent of his total, came in small donations – those under $200.

The percentage of small donors “is far, far lower than we usually see, even with incumbents, who tend to get less of their money in small donations than challengers do,” said Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan Washington-based group that tracks campaign fundraising.

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Mississippi adds 6000 jobs, but 4400 stop searching.


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Mississippi’s employers added 6,000 jobs to their payrolls in September and the state’s unemployment rate fell again, although it remains the second-highest in the nation.

The numbers, compiled by two separate surveys, continue to send mixed signals about the state of Mississippi’s economy. The payroll survey records subdued growth, while the household survey used to compute the unemployment rate suggests an economy stuck in neutral at best.

Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released Tuesday by the U.S. Labor Department.

Mississippi’s jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in August and 8.4 percent in September 2013. But the decrease in the unemployment rate was thanks to 4,400 people stopping their job searches. The survey found that the number of Mississippians with a job fell by nearly 1,000.

The report found 96,000 Mississippians were unemployed in September, down more than 3,000 from August and below September 2013’s total of 107,000.

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Lawsuit challenges Mississippi gay marriage ban


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Two same-sex couples seeking marriage equality in Mississippi filed the first federal challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban on Monday, the latest in a string of similar lawsuits nationwide.

“We’re hoping the case will move quickly,” said Aaron Sarver of the North Carolina-based gay-rights organization Campaign for Southern Equality, which filed the suit on behalf of the women in the U.S. District Court in Jackson.

Rebecca Bickett and her long-term partner Andrea Sanders want to get married in Mississippi, the lawsuit says, while Jocelyn Pritchett and her partner Carla Webb already got married in Maine and want their union recognized in Mississippi.

Both couples have children and say Mississippi’s ban deprives them – and their children – of their constitutional rights simply because they’re gay. They want the ban overturned and also seek a preliminary injunction while the case is pending.

“My family is no less a family than any other,” Bickett said in a statement.

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