YP – Lawmakers adopt FY2022 state budget
The total budget for the state will be close to $21 billion, with the majority of that coming from the federal government. The state will fund roughly $6 billion…
…Earlier in the year, members agreed on a $1,000 teacher pay raise, a roughly $51 million budget item. At the end of the session a $6.9 million raise for state employees was also approved to begin next year.
Sen. Briggs Hopson, Chairman of Appropriations, indicated that money would be issued based off of market value for those jobs and that Executive Directors would not be eligible. The last time a raise was given to state employees was a 3% raise in 2019. This could also include a 1% raise for university and community college staff.
MSDH daily COVID-19 reporting
Today MSDH is reporting 288 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, 19 deaths, and 14 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. The state's total of #covid19 cases is now 305,146, with 7,032 deaths. More on case details, vaccinations and prevention: https://t.co/YCv9xPyJDk pic.twitter.com/HcjdTwmeSW
— MS Dept of Health (@msdh) March 31, 2021
YP – Medicaid will live on in the Governor’s office and with a budget
The Mississippi House and Senate have come to an agreement on the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill. However, it did not come without a debate between the chambers on the best way to move forward.
Nearing the end of the Legislative session, Chairman of the Senate Medicaid committee Sen. Kevin Blackwell said that there were disagreements between the chambers on how to finalize the bill. The sticking point seemed to be the desire from the House to remove the Division of Medicaid out from under the Governor’s office and place it under the purview of a seven-member commission. That push made by the House was unsuccessful in the final conference report as it was removed.
YP – MSDH posts job opening, proposed regulations for medical marijuana testing facilities
The Office of Medical Marijuana in MSDH announced Wednesday that they were accepting applications for a Bureau Director II. This position will be responsible for leadership and oversight for the Bureau of Licensure within the Office of Medical Marijuana…
…Also on Wednesday, MSDH in conjunction with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office released the proposed new regulations for medical marijuana testing facilities in the state.
These are described as any facility, entity or site that offers or performs testing of medical marijuana or medical marijuana products, including the equipment provided by such laboratory, facility, or entity and that is licensed/certified by the Department. An independent medical marijuana testing facility may acquire, possess, test and transport medical marijuana and medical marijuana products between its licensed premises and other licensed premises.
YP – Secretary of State shares Municipal Primary Election Reminders
Municipal Primary Elections will take place one week from today, on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Any voter in line at 7 p.m. is entitled to cast a ballot.
Our office will have observers in precincts across the State. Problems at the polls observed by State observers or otherwise reported to the Elections Division will be referred to the authorities, including the Attorney General’s Office or appropriate District Attorney’s Office. As a reminder, the Secretary of State’s Office has no enforcement authority to resolve problems.
YP – Sen. Wicker blasts Delta Airlines CEO over comments against GA election law
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) took to social media Wednesday afternoon to express his appointment with the CEO of Delta Airlines following comments he made mischaracterizing Georgia’s recent election reforms in a staff memo.
“Delta Airlines CEO caves to the left with a false narrative about the new Georgia voting law, which actually expands voting opportunities,” Wicker wrote. “He should be ashamed of himself.”
CNBC reported on the comments by Atlanta-based Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Bastain, who stated that he knew company staff had to face questions from customers about the company’s stance, told employees he and other state executives had worked to change the bill prior to its passage.
YP – Mississippi Members of Congress Announce $24.3M for Mississippi Airports
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., with U.S. Representatives Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., and Michael Guest, R-Miss., today announced the award of $24.3 million in grants to make improvements at 26 Mississippi airfields. The U.S. Department of Transportation on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded the Airport Improvement Program grants.
“Improving aviation infrastructure promotes safety, improves efficiency, and facilitates better transportation for people and goods,” Wicker said. “Through the FAA’s most recent investment, Mississippi’s airports will be better equipped to serve travelers as flights pick back up while the economy recovers from the pandemic.”
“Local airports are key to promoting tourism, investment, and economic vitality in communities across Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said. “These FAA grants will support infrastructure rehabilitation and upgrades, allowing these airports to continue to provide safe and efficient operations.”
YP – Altman named acting director of MDOT
The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) named Jeffrey C. Altman, P.E., acting executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Altman will assume the role effective April 1 following the retirement of MDOT Executive Direct Melinda McGrath after 36 years of state service.
“It was with great reluctance that we accepted Melinda’s retirement earlier this month,” said Commissioner Tom King, MTC Chairman. “Jeff has served the state for 23 years, most recently as MDOT Assistant to the Executive Director. He has the knowledge and leadership skills to take the helm and keep Mississippi moving on a safe, efficient and effective transportation network.”
WLOX – Gov. Tate Reeves extends Safe Recovery Order for another month
Even though Mississippi has seen a consistent decline in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Wednesday that the state’s former Safe Recovery Order will remain in place for another month.
The executive order will be effective at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, and shall remain in full force and effect until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021, unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded.
The governor wanted to ensure that Mississippians continue to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and minimize person-to-person interactions.
WTOK – Congressman Michael Guest addresses Meridian Rotary Club
Guest said that over the last year there’s been a surge of 170 percent of encounters at our borders and feels like the best solution would be returning to some of the immigration policies that were in place under President Trump.
”Most of those people are not coming per say from Mexico,” said Guest. “But they’re coming from the northern triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, those countries. We were returning those individuals back to their country of origin, not allowing them to remain in the United States because of public health emergencies. If we’d return to some of those policies, I think we could very quickly see the surge across our Southwest border decrease to a very manageable number and we could begin addressing many of our immigration issues.”