Thompson first says January 6th Committee will make criminal referrals but then walks it back

The Mississippi 2nd District Congressman Chairs Speaker Pelosi’s select House committee on the matter.
Mississippi’s 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning that the U.S. House committee appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot would be making criminal referrals as their work winds down and this Congress comes to a close.  Thompson chairs the House committee.
CBS News first reported Thompson’s comments.
“Yes,” Thompson told reporters when questioned on the criminal referrals, later adding, “We have made decisions on criminal referrals.”

Congressman Thompson did not reveal the list of names the House committee was considering for such criminal referrals, including whether or not it would include former President Donald Trump, but Thompson did note that those would be separate from the committee’s final report that is to be sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
However, just hours later, Thompson and the committee’s spokesperson walked those fairly definitive statements back, instead categorizing the situation as the committee having reached a “general agreement” to forward some criminal referrals to the DOJ.
“We’re not there yet,” Thompson said, as reported by The Hill, adding that the earlier “gaggle [with reporters] was wrong.”

“The Committee has determined that referrals to outside entities should be considered as a final part of its work. The committee will make decisions about specifics in the days ahead,” a committee spokesperson said in a statement.
The House committee is expected to meet Tuesday afternoon. Thompson told reporters that he believes the criminal referrals will be part of their deliberations.
The Pelosi appointed January 6th Committee has been rushing to finalize their work ahead of the end of the year as Republicans will be in the majority in the House when the next Congress is seated in January 2023, effectively ending the special committee enacted by the outgoing Democrat Speaker of the House. […]


Joint Legislative Budget Committee sets FY 2024 revenue estimate at $7.5 billion, outlines state funding

The 2024 Revenue Estimate is $536.4 million, or 7.7% higher than the 2023 Sine Die Estimate. 
Last month, the Mississippi Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) put forth the Fiscal Year 2024 revenue estimate of $7,523,800,000, significantly higher than the FY 2023 Sine Die Revenue Estimate.
The 2024 Revenue Estimate is $536.4 million, or 7.7% higher than the 2023 Sine Die Estimate of $6,987,400,000.
READ MORE: Mississippi Joint Legislative Budget Committee adopts FY 2024 revenue estimate of $7.5 billion.
The FY 2024 revenue estimate was publicly adopted during a JLBC meeting.

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“I think our committee is recommending a conservative budget,” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said.

The FY 2024 Legislative Budget Recommendation goals include maintaining the 2% set-aside in the General Fund, strengthening the state’s financial reserves, and building a budget using only recurring funds while increasing state support for many budget lines.
It was also noted that the state’s reserve balances sit near $3.9 billion.

The total state support budget recommendation for FY 2024 is $6,989,435,095, which utilizes $55.7 million more in General Funds than were appropriated in FY 2023. 
In FY 2024, some state agencies will see increased funding. Those include:

State Agencies will receive health insurance increase of roughly $32 million.
Child Protection Services will receive $12.3 million for Foster Home and Adoption Payments.
Department of Public Safety will receive $2.4 million for a forensics lab.
The Department of Revenue will receive $1.4 million for Homestead Exemption Reimbursement.

FY 2024 state support reductions include deleting funding of 2,011 vacant positions, reducing funding for travel and contractual services, and eliminating funds for one-time expenditures.
The 10 largest budgets lines receiving state support are: 

MS Adequate Education Program – $2.64 billion
Medicaid – $902.1 million 
Debt Service – $433.9 million 
IHL (General Support) – $415.2 million
Corrections – $363.3 million
Community College – $269.1 million
Mental Health – $241.1 million
General Education – $215.2 million
IHL (University Medical Center) – $190.5 million
Department of Public Safety – $137.9 million

The total available amount of unallocated funds is $3.926 billion.
View the full report below: 

Fy24 Jlbc Rec by yallpolitics on Scribd […]


State Auditor report outlines millions in questionable spending related to federal funds flowing to Mississippi

“This audit is intended to let the taxpayers see how their money was spent, warts and all,” Auditor White said.
The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (OSA) released their Single Audit Report for the State of Mississippi that covers federal funds spent by state agencies from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
According to a press release, State Auditor Shad White’s team discovered millions of questioned costs according to their Single Audit of federal funds flowing through Mississippi.

“This is an audit of federal money flowing through the state agencies and this audit is a bit different from the other audits that have been done during my four-year tenure as State Auditor because this involves a ton of federal stimulus money,” Auditor White said. “I think the fact that this audit involves so much money shows the importance and critical role that State Auditors around the country play in making sure that money that’s handed out to states is spent properly.”

The State Auditor said one of the big picture lessons that they learned from the stimulus dollars that flowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, is that the federal government tried to pump out a bunch of money very quickly and the nation was not prepared to disperse that money and also guarantee that no fraud would happen with it.
“The lesson from this stimulus is: we need to find ways as a country to push money out to prop up our society when that’s necessary without losing a lot of that money to fraud,” White continued.
Notable findings in the audit include:

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) handled unemployment compensation and saw a 301% increase in known overpayments from the previous year. MDES made at least $473 million in improper or fraudulent unemployment payments that year. Those included unemployment payments to prisoners and people outside of Mississippi.
MDES also spent stimulus money on workforce training equipment unrelated to combatting COVID-19, making the spending improper under stimulus rules.
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid continues to provide funding to potentially ineligible recipients. A similar finding was included in last year’s Single Audit.
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) failed to follow proper procurement guidelines. Specifically, MDE allowed an eventual contract-winning vendor early access and the ability to suggest edits to the procurement specifications. The eventual winning bid was chosen due to vague product details. The winning bid was not one of the two lowest-priced bids.
Multiple state agencies failed to properly monitor CRF spending by sub-recipients. This means other organizations—like nonprofits—were not appropriately monitored after being selected to operate government programs. Years of similar findings at the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) preceded the conviction of 5 individuals connected to the largest public fraud scheme in Mississippi history, which was uncovered by the Office of the State Auditor.

Auditor White thanked the dedicated team of auditors and support staff for their work on the Single Audit.
“We are committed to shining a light on how the state handled the massive amount of stimulus funds that flowed through Mississippi,” White said. “This audit is intended to let the taxpayers see how their money was spent, warts and all.”
Click here to read the full Single Audit Report.  […]


Senator Derrick Simmons recognized by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators

Simmons has served the 12th District of Mississippi in the Senate since 2011.
Senator Derrick T. Simmons was nationally recognized as Legislator of the Year by The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), at its annual convention last week in Las Vegas.
The NBCSL represents and serves the interests of African American State legislators. It is comprised of more than 700 members representing more than 60 million Americans.
NBCSL is a national network and advocates public policy innovation, information exchange, and joint action on critical issues affecting African Americans and other marginalized communities. Through research, education, and advocacy, NBCSL strengthens its members and helps ensure their strong, effective, and influential voice on Capitol Hill.

Senator Simmons, a Greenville trial attorney and Chairman of the Senate Municipalities Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance Committee and Judiciary A, and Judiciary B Committees, among others. […]


Senator Blackwell shares takeaways from Medicaid hearing

The committee heard from experts on postpartum care, obesity and autism. All of which emphasized a need for services and care. 
Senator Kevin Blackwell sat down with Y’all Politics to go over last week’s Medicaid hearing in which lawmakers heard from experts on the topics of postpartum care, obesity, and autism.

Suggestions to the Legislature included making Medicaid easier to understand for providers who would be interested in taking on those patients and increasing rate reimbursements in order to secure more professionals that offer specialized care.
Blackwell said the Senate will again push for the extension of postpartum care up to one year in the 2023 session. […]