Stay up-to-date on what’s in the news with the Y’all Politics Daily Roundup.
YP – Auditor Demands Repayment of Misspent Welfare Money
State Auditor Shad White’s office served demands for more than $77 million of misspent TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) money today. The individuals who signed off on the illegal spending, like former Department of Human Services (DHS) Executive Director John Davis, along with vendors who were paid those funds yet failed to do all the work required under their contracts, received these demands.
“Two years ago my office audited DHS,” said White. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending. Those findings have now been confirmed, this month, by an independent forensic audit commissioned by DHS. It’s time for the taxpayers to attempt to recover what we lost.”
DHS’s forensic audit, which was conducted by an independent, outside CPA firm from Maryland, released its findings on October 1.
YP – What can be done about federal vaccine mandates? YP talks with State Senators England and Wiggins.
President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates on businesses, federal workers and federal contractors have sparked protests in South Mississippi as employees at the state’s largest federal contractor – Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula – have been told to either take the COVID vaccine or face possible termination within weeks.
State Senators Jeremy England and Brice Wiggins both represent Jackson County. They joined Y’all Politics on Tuesday to discuss the issue and expound upon what recourse, if any, workers have when considering how they will respond to the President’s mandate while employed by a federal contractor.
Ag Commissioner Gipson tweets on vaccine mandates
Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates are putting thousands of Mississippians at risk of losing their careers, even their education. Nursing students are being kicked out of school at a time we have a huge nurse shortage. It’s time to take a strong stand for medical freedom.
— Commissioner Andy Gipson (@CommAndyGipson) October 13, 2021
MSDH COVID-19 Reporting
Today MSDH is reporting 820 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, 41 deaths, and 57 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. State #covid19 totals: 496,132 cases, 9,874 deaths, and 1,339,711 persons fully vaccinated. Full information: https://t.co/YCv9xPyJDk pic.twitter.com/oUcbw0lThx
— MS Dept of Health (@msdh) October 12, 2021
YP – Gov. Reeves and DPS Commissioner Tindell talk “Skip the Line” program
The “Skip the Line” program was recently selected as an award recipient in the Center for Digital Government’s annual Government Experience Awards. Additionally, the “Skip the Line” program has reduced in-person wait times at Driver Service Bureau locations from over two hours in 2020, to a current average of 18 minutes.
YP – State Sen. Joel Carter talks energy, potential special session in Y’all Politics interview
State Senator Joel Carter (R) joined Y’all Politics on Tuesday to discuss the impact of energy prices on Mississippians. Carter is the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. He says the decisions being made by the Biden Administration are costing Mississippi families.
Carter also spoke on the draft medical marijuana bill lawmakers and Governor Tate Reeves are reviewing. The Coast state senator says he supports the bill his colleague Senator Kevin Blackwell has put forward, but added that with the 2022 legislative session scheduled to begin within weeks, a special session is looking less likely given the costs associated with a call from the Governor.
YP – NFIB reports optimism slips in September due to labor shortages and inflation
In the September survey, the National Federation of Independent Business slipped due to continued labor shortages and inflation that is impacting business operations.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased one point in September to 99.1. Three of the 10 Index components improved, five declined, and two were unchanged.
“Small business owners are doing their best to meet the needs of customers, but are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations.”
YP – Hyde-Smith signs onto ‘Be Gone’ Act to block, deport convicted sex criminals from the U.S.
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is cosponsoring the BE GONE Act, or the Better Enforcement of Grievous Offenses by un-Naturalized Emigrants Act, which would correct a shortcoming in the nation’s immigration law. The legislation addresses the fact that sexual assault and other forms of aggravated sexual violence are not deportable offenses under the current U.S. immigration Law of 1965.
The legislation states that it would, “include sexual assault and aggravated sexual violence in the definition of aggravated felonies under the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to expedite the removal of aliens convicted of such crimes.”
“More and more we hear about sexual predators being discovered among the already alarming surge of migrants crossing our southern border. It’s clear President Biden and his administration have embraced a lax approach to border security and immigration law enforcement, which makes enacting this legislation to block sexual predators all the more critical,” Hyde-Smith said.
YP – Senator Wicker advocates for expedited approval of new COVID-19 therapies
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider all available options to expedite access to several new COVID-19 therapies that are currently under development.
“The arrival of new COVID-19 therapies could prove pivotal in ending our country’s long and challenging battle with the coronavirus pandemic,” Wicker said. “The FDA must do all it can to expedite access to lifesaving treatments now under development.”
The FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), a special emergency program for possible coronavirus therapies. CTAP uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible, while finding out whether they are helpful or harmful.