Statewide News

Miss. governor says he'll sign DUI ignition bill

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant intends to sign a bill aimed at strengthening laws against drunken driving, his spokesman said Monday.

The response from the Republican governor came the same day the American Beverage Institute, based in Washington, D.C., urged Bryant to veto House Bill 481.

The group said it represents 80 Mississippi restaurants. It said if the bill becomes law, it would be expensive to enforce and would create too much work for Mississippi probation officers.

The bill is expected to hit Bryant’s desk in the next several days. With his signature, the bill will become law July 1, 2014. […]

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Tornado rips through Noxubee and Kemper counties; 1 dead

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency Thursday for Kemper and Noxubee counties due to the impacts of severe storms and tornadoes that injured many and left one person dead.

A command post has been set up in downtown Shuqualak after a tornado ripped through the area around noon Thursday. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) director Robert Latham was in town as part of the effort to help following the tornado.

MEMA spokesman Greg Flynn says the fatality was reported west-northwest of DeKalb, near Mississippi Highway 493, in Kemper County. […]

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Miss. lawmakers OK partially state-funded pre-K

Mississippi government would directly fund a limited preschool program for the first time under a bill on its way to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The House and Senate on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 2395, which would send money to regional groups of preschool providers. The House favored the measure 97-17, while the Senate voted for it 37-11.

The state would create a preschool program that could serve 1,325 4-year-olds in its first year, using a $3 million appropriation. Groups of preschool providers would have to apply for grants and would use private donations, federal money or other funds to match the state money. […]

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Governor withdraws Board of Health nomination

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he’s withdrawing his nomination of anti-abortion activist Terri Herring to the state Board of Health.   

Bryant’s decision came Monday after The Associated Press questioned whether Bryant was fulfilling requirements of a state law that specifies the board’s 11 members must come from certain parts of the state.

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock says the law is unclear, but the governor is withdrawing Herring’s nomination to “avoid any legal uncertainty.”


Chaney says gov. hands control to feds

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is handing control of a state health insurance exchange over to the federal government by trying to block creation of a state-run exchange, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told the governor in a letter.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, and in it, Chaney tells Bryant, a fellow Republican, that the federal government will run an exchange in Mississippi if the state does not create its own.

“Phil, there is simply no legitimate reason to impede the development of a state-based exchange in this point in time,” Chaney wrote. […]


Tornado hits Pearl River; Gov. declares state of emergency

Mississippi’s governor Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency for several counties hit hard after severe storms and a tornado moved through the state this week.

Emergency management personnel confirmed that a tornado did touch down in Pearl River County on Tuesday, Dec. 25, that destroyed approximately 15 homes sending at least eight people to the hospital, the Associated Press reported.

None of the injuries were life-threatening. […]


Analysis: Miss. GOP renewing charter school push

Gov. Phil Bryant and fellow Republicans who lead the Mississippi House and Senate say they have big plans to overhaul public education during the 2013 session.

However, their inability to enact a new charter schools law in 2012 shows it’s easy to talk about ambitious plans and difficult to round up enough votes to challenge the status quo.


Bryant says voter ID would combat election fraud

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he thinks it would be a good idea for people in the state to voluntarily show identification when they vote today even though it is not required by law.

Republican Bryant says he believes voter ID will help prevent election fraud. He also says if people show ID to buy cigarettes and alcohol they should have to show it before voting. […]