Stay up-to-date on what’s in the news with the Y’all Politics Daily Roundup.
YP – Sen. Blackwell, Rep. Yancey negotiating medical marijuana bill in hopes of agreement
Senator Kevin Blackwell, the lead lawmaker on the issue in the upper chamber, is currently working on medical marijuana legislation and expects to have a measure ready for negotiation in August. Blackwell has been in communications with Representative Lee Yancey in the House over the legislation.
“I continue to believe we will have a drafted bill ready to go by mid-August. The Senate has already started on drafting using the Senate’s amended version of HB 119 from last session as a base,” said Senator Blackwell.
Blackwell told Y’all Politics that with the information they learned in the hearings combined with the research the staff has done on programs across the nation they are positioned to deliver a model bill.
YP – Does the continued expansion of eligible entities negatively affect the long-term solvency of PERS?
You probably know that the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi, or PERS, provides retirement benefits for individuals working in state government, public schools, universities, community colleges, cities and towns, counties, and the Legislature.
But you may not realize that PERS also provides retirement plans for select hospitals, libraries, convention and visitors bureaus, tourism commissions, museums, airports, utility authorities, the levee commission, and others…
…In all, PERS is available for nearly 860 entities statewide representing approximately 12% of the state’s labor force.
Employer contributions to the PERS system tops $1.2 billion annually while employees invest another $600 million. The average age of an employee in PERS is 45 years old with 10 plus years of service and earning roughly $41,000 per year.
As for how the solvency of PERS is impacted by the addition of employers, whether it places PERS on a better footing or further strains the system, Executive Director Higgins says the additions should not have a material effect on the stability of PERS.
MSDH COVID-19 Reporting – For 3 Days
Today MSDH is reporting 3,608 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, 6 deaths, and 72 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. State #covid19 totals: 336,788 cases, 7,508 deaths, and 1,020,362 persons fully vaccinated. Full information: https://t.co/YCv9xPyJDk pic.twitter.com/vaxPifJ1Ns
— MS Dept of Health (@msdh) July 26, 2021
YP – MS Association of Educators ask Gov. Reeves for mask mandate in schools
Monday afternoon the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) is hosting a conversation with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers regarding back to school and COVID-19.
MAE called upon Governor Tate Reeves in a letter discussing the spike in COVID-19 cases and the state’s low vaccination rate.
“With the Delta variant taking hold in communities across Mississippi, the concerning trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, and our state’s low vaccination rate, we are asking the governor to reconsider his position on masks in Mississippi schools and mandate the use of masks for all individuals inside our buildings,” said MAE president Erica Jones.
YP – Christmas at the Mansion back for its second annual competition
First Lady Elee Reeves has announced the second annual ‘Christmas at the Mansion’ competition.
It began in 2020 when First Lady Reeves contacted florists and designers all over the state to submit ideas for ‘Christmas at the Mansion’. The competition came about to honor those who are working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Due to the overwhelming response last year, the First Lady has decided to make the contest an annual tradition.
YP – NFIB: Back-to-School Tax Holiday a Time to Support Small, Local Businesses
NFIB State Director Dawn McVea says the upcoming back-to-school sales tax
“Our economy is better than it was last summer, but a lot of local stores still are still recovering,” McVea said. “Our hope is that people remember that the sales tax holiday applies to local businesses as well as the chain stores and that they’ll support the small, independent businesses that contribute so much to Mississippi’s economy.”
Small businesses account for 99.3% of all businesses in the state, and they employ 46.5% of Mississippi’s workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Pelosi, Thompson’s January 6 Committee starts today
Today, the bipartisan @January6thCmte will begin its work investigating the #January6th attack on the Capitol by hearing powerful testimony from the brave law enforcement heroes who defended the Capitol that day.
Tune in @ 9:30am ET here: https://t.co/wNWkZ9xRln
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) July 27, 2021
WLBT – Secretary of State seeking court order to certify Canton municipal elections
Another legal front has been opened in the battle over Canton’s elections.
Friday, Secretary of State Michael Watson filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court seeking a court order requiring the Canton Municipal Election Commission to certify the June 8 election results.
The commission has refused to certify them, pointing to the fact Senior Status Judge Jeff Weill ruled that the committee overseeing the Democratic primary was invalid. Winners from the Democratic primary went on to the general election, and in most cases, were unchallenged.
The secretary’s suit represents yet another legal challenge filed in response to the 2021 Canton elections.