SRHS wants Jackson County to contribute up to $2 million to ease burden of unfunded care


  

Singing River Health System leaders presented their proposed 2016 budget to Jackson County supervisors and asked for up to $2 million in annual contributions from the county.

If the county made that pledge, SRHS CEO Kevin Holland said, it would offset the system’s losses on unfunded care, help fund the pension plan and help ensure SRHS continues as an economic engine in Jackson County.

Rather than SRHS paying retirees 88 percent of their benefits, the county’s contribution could also help push that base benefit to about 95 percent, Holland said.
SRHS asked for $1.8 million to $2 million, which Holland called a reasonable amount that could hopefully be pledged without a tax increase.

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Key figure in expanded prison probe netted big dollars from payday lending groups


  

Madison businessman Irb Benjamin, indicted last week in connection with paying bribes in exchange for prison contracts, made $198,000 in recent years lobbying for Mississippi’s check cashing & payday loan industry.

Benjamin pleaded not guilty Aug. 21 to federal bribery and kickback charges that could land him in prison for 20 years and a $250,000 fine for each of the multiple bribery counts. Benjamin also faces the forfeiture of any money gained from the alleged scheme, authorities said.

Records of the Secretary of State show Benjamin received $66,000 annually from 2012 through 2014 from the Consumer Lending Alliance and the Financial Services Center of Mississippi, two advocacy organizations for check cashers and payday loan lenders.

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Update: Mississippi State confirms active shooter on campus


Update: The Clarion Ledger reports that the shooter is now in custody. 

Original: Mississippi State University has confirmed an active shooter on campus via Twitter: 

@maroonalert: Active shooter reported at Carpenter hall. Last seen in vicinity of Lee hall. Seek Safety immediately

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Deadline for commenting on Common Core standards is September 15


  

The Mississippi Department of Education says the deadline is just weeks away for education stakeholders to give their input on the Mississippi College and Career-Ready Standards.

The standards describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of each grade.

The department has launched the Mississippi College- and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS) Feedback Forum until September 15 to give teachers, parents and other stakeholders a chance to voice their support or concerns of the standards.

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Sponsors of new initiative to keep Mississippi’s 1894 flag say AG’s title is incorrect. 


Organizers of a new ballot initiative are seeking to keep the Confederate battle emblem on Mississippi’s flag by putting the flag design into the state constitution.

A statewide vote could be more than three years away, and the sponsors of Initiative 54 say Attorney General Jim Hood is mischaracterizing the proposal in a way that could confuse voters.

Every initiative must have a title, or short description of a proposed amendment, before sponsors can circulate petitions to try to get it on the statewide ballot.

Flag amendment sponsors want the title of Initiative 54 to refer to the flag that’s now in use as “the 1894 flag.” It includes the Confederate emblem in the upper left corner.

Instead, a title written by the attorney general’s staff refers to the “current” flag.

Initiative supporter Greg Stewart said in an interview Wednesday that he worries legislators might remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag before an initiative comes up for a vote, so the term “current” flag would no longer be accurate by then.

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JFP Editorial Board: Barbour’s Katrina legacy much different from one he’s trying to write for himself. 


  

The JFP Editorial Board writes: 

Not coincidentally, Gov. Haley Barbour is currently on tour to promote the book he co-wrote with Democratic strategist Jere Nash.

While Barbour apparently calls the Port of Gulfport the “one that got away,” the truth is, the project stands with other shining beacons of the “Haley Barbour Victory Tour”—Silicor, Kior, Twin Creeks, HCL Cleantech—as corporate-welfare projects that failed to deliver on Barbour’s empty trickle-down promises of jobs and prosperity.

Hurricane Katrina offered Barbour (and others) a real opportunity to lead on housing, education and opportunity in the so-called opportunity zones; with his stronghold on Mississippi politics, he could easily have creating stability and opportunity by fully funding public education and expanding health care to the state’s citizens during his eight-year political career.

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RELATED: Haley Barbour relative defrauded FEMA after Katrina, judge rules

RELATED: PLUNKETT: Cochran Enables Barbour to Skim Federal Money for Family and Clients

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Instead, he spent that time crafting his reputation as Mississippi’s Corporate Welfare King, writing checks to business buddies that were payable by the Mississippi treasury. (Oh … and getting the coast casinos back open on dry land.)

As we celebrate the heroes of Katrina and remember those who lost a great deal in its wake here and in Louisiana, let’s remember to put Haley Barbour in his correct slot in history, even if it’s not the one he’s trying to write for himself.

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MS casino revenues continue upward trend. 


  

Strong July results from Gulf Coast casinos continue to buoy overall results at Mississippi’s gambling halls.

Meanwhile, an improving trend since April among casinos along the Mississippi River hints revenue may finally stop shrinking there.

State Revenue Department figures show casinos statewide won $189.6 million from gamblers in July, up 5 percent from $180.3 million in July 2014.

The 11 coastal casinos won $104.2 million, up 9 percent from last year. The 17 river casinos won $85.4 million, up slightly from July 2015.

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