Local News

Wicker, Hyde-Smith vow to vote to block taxpayer funding for abortions

Mississippi Senators are among 48 Senators who pledged to vote against any legislation that undermines the Hyde Amendment. 
On Wednesday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) joined over forty of their Senate colleagues in a unified message to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. The 48 Senators vowed to vote against any legislation that undermines the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion, or any other pro-life protections.
The pledge is similar to a 2021 pledge that forced the President and pro-abortion lawmakers to halt in their efforts to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and other existing pro-life protections from FY2022 appropriations bills (PL.117-103).
In the President’s FY2023 budget request, it recommends ending the Hyde Amendment and increasing taxpayer funding for domestic and international abortion services.

“We write to express our unwavering support for the Hyde Amendment and all other longstanding pro-life protections,” the Senators wrote.”For more than 45 years, the Hyde Amendment has ensured that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, saving the lives of nearly 2.5 million preborn children. As you know, the Hyde Amendment is supported by both a substantial majority of the American public and a bipartisan majority of sitting United States Senators, and was most recently signed into law by President Biden in Public Law 117-103.”

“Nevertheless, President Biden’s budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 once again proposes to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and other existing pro-life protections, while also increasing taxpayer funding for the abortion industry at home and abroad, including through massive funding increases for the Title X family planning program,” the Senators continued.

The group of Senators renewed their commitment from February 2021 for FY 2023, when they wrote to Schumer that they are committed to vote against the enhancement of any legislation that would eliminate or weaken the Hyde Amendment or any other current-law pro-life protections, or otherwise undermine existing Federal pro-life policy.

“We urge you to start where we finished by making a baseline commitment to maintain the same pro-life protections that were included in Public Law 117-103, and to eschew any taxpayer-funded giveaways that benefit the multi-billion-dollar abortion industry. The American people, born and preborn, deserve nothing less,” the Senators concluded.
The letter is endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, March for Life, Catholic Vote, National Right to Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, Concerned Women for America, and Alliance Defending Freedom.
You can read the signed letter below.
Senators pledge to block taxpayer-funded abortions by yallpolitics on Scribd […]

Health

Pre-Midterm Primary Campaign Finance Reports for Mississippi Congressional Candidates Released

See where each candidate stands ahead of Tuesday based on the latest FEC filings.
The 2022 Mississippi Congressional Midterm Primary Elections are days away. Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, June 7th to vote for their party’s nominee, with the top vote-getter in the Democratic and Republican Primary moving on to the General Election in November.
Y’all Politics previewed the Midterm Primaries here in Mississippi earlier this week, giving readers a look at who is in the ballot and what the likely outcome may be when the dust clears on Tuesday night. You can read that article here.
READ MORE: Mississippi Midterm Elections are Next Tuesday. Who’s on the Ballot and What is the Likely Result?
Throughout the Primary season, Y’all Politics has also been tracking the campaign finance reports filed by each candidate with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Below are the latest filing numbers as of the May 18th Pre-Primary reporting from each of the candidates on the ballot next Tuesday:

1st District
Republicans:

Trent Kelly (incumbent)– Raised this period: $112,000– Cash on hand: $227,000
Mark Strauss– No Report Showing

Democrats:

Hunter Avery– No Report Showing
Dianne Black– Raised this Period: $4,900– Cash on hand: $3,100

2nd District
Republicans:

Michael Carson– No Report Showing
Ron Eller– Raised this period: $3,600– Cash on hand: $2,000
Brian Flowers– Raised this period: $16,000– Cash on hand: $14,200
Stanford Johnson– No Report Showing

Democrats:

Bennie Thompson (incumbent)– Raised this period: $133,000– Cash on hand: See note below

NOTE: There appears to be a reporting issue with Thompson’s latest filing. On the previous report ending March 31, 2022, it shows Thompson had a cash on hand balance of $1,804,000. On this latest May 18th filing for April 1 through the reporting date, it shows Thompson only has $214,000 cash on hand. During that period, the report only shows disbursement of $102,000. 

Jerry Kerner– Raised this period: $15,100– Cash on hand: $2,500

3rd District
Republicans:

Michael Guest (incumbent)– Raised this period: $148,000– Cash on hand: $293,000
Michael Cassidy– Raised this period: $7,100– Cash on hand: $79,600
Thomas Griffin– No Report Showing

Democrats:

Shuwaski Young– Raised this period: $1,200– Cash on hand: $300

4th District
Republicans:

Steven Palazzo (incumbent)– Raised this period: $147,000– Cash on hand: $283,000
Carl Boyanton– Raised this period: $1,700– Cash on hand: $464,000
Raymond Brooks– Raised this period: $5,000– Cash on hand: $500
Mike Ezell– Raised this period: $19,000– Cash on hand: $77,000
Kidron Peterson– No Report Showing
Clay Wagner– Raised this period: $16,000– Cash on hand: $208,000
Brice Wiggins– Raised this period: $47,000– Cash on hand: $94,000

Democrats:

Johnny DuPree– Raised this period: $11,500– Cash on hand: $15,000
David Sellers– Raised this period: $3,000– Cash on hand: $3,400

Polls for the June 7th Primary will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.  Any voter in line at 7 p.m. is legally entitled to cast a ballot. Check with your local Circuit Clerk if there is a question as to where you should vote on Tuesday. […]

No Picture
News

CALDWELL: Less with More or More with More

Submitted by John Caldwell, Northern District Transportation Commissioner
“The challenge is clear! Fix our highways. That costs money. Additional and alternative revenues must be considered,” Caldwell writes.
Hold on to your coffee. Whether it’s a rough stretch along your favorite highway, or random potholes on our interstates, there’s no need to go looking for trouble. You can find examples in every direction. Our state highway infrastructure is in serious need and has been for some time now.
We were way behind and losing ground. We are still behind and still losing ground. Funding is well short of need and more than a decade behind the pace of inflation. High costs and increased demands of basic maintenance leaves little capacity for making substantial improvements. Old, promised projects languish in varying levels of dormancy. Time continues to pass, and we wait. We wait and argue. We wait and agree. Still, we wait. While we wait, things deteriorate. While we wait, we also work.
This year the needle moved. Thankfully, some last-minute wrangling and unique resolve from state leadership found a way to send MDOT additional state funds for highways. That coupled with an increasing amount of federal infrastructure dollars provided MDOT much needed albeit temporary relief in the midst of skyrocketing inflation. But these new monies have been praised by some as if our highway funding shortfalls are behind us. They are not.

Mississippi roads and bridges are crumbling faster than we can repair them.  We chip away at our list of priorities at a ridiculously slow pace because we can’t and won’t outrun our money. Prior to this year’s one-time infusion of revenue, the fuel tax proceeds had been basically flat and falling. That is why the 2022 MDOT Budget of $1.2 billon barely matched the $1.2 billion dollar budget of twelve years ago. In 2023 our budget will be about $100 million more than a previous peak of $1.3 billion reached at a time prior to this commission and today’s legislative leadership team. Even with an additional $80 million in lottery funds (also not adjusted with inflation) we saw our MDOT budget drop to $1.1 billion during COVID.
Fuel taxes have been and will continue as the mainstay for funding the Mississippi Department of Transportation in the foreseeable future, although current fuel tax receipts leave worthy projects on the shelf. Maintenance also suffers when revenues are flat. State fuel taxes, currently 18.4 cents per gallon, do not rise with gas prices.  In fact, if demand is slowed the overall collections can fall further.
The challenge is clear! Fix our highways. That costs money.

Additional and alternative revenues must be considered, and frankly discussions have already begun with ones willing to face reality. States like Missouri which have kept their own fuel tax rates low, annually supplement their DOT with state general funds beyond the expected shortfalls from fuel taxes. Nearby states, like Arkansas and Georgia have raised their fuel taxes to fund highway improvements. Colorado and others are implementing delivery fees on internet purchases to help fund highways. With Amazon, FedEx, USPS, and UPS moving to electric vehicles (EVs) that delivery fee keeps a modicum of the original user-pay theory of funding highways. Mississippi already has a modest fee applied to hybrids and EVs that brings in just over $1 million annually. Better and more convenient toll road processes in nearby Florida and Texas have also funded highways and bridges. Oregon goes so far as to charge an invasive and complicated mileage tax to its residents. Indiana has a wheel tax. The debate will increase in search of solutions.
Mississippians, business leaders, economic development professionals and elected officials will be addressing our transportation challenges one way or another. We will have a proactive response or a reactive response. Status quo cannot, should not and will not hold.
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Submitted by Northern District Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell. […]