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Magnolia Mornings: January 8, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: January 8, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 8, 2024

Magnolia morning

Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. Prayer service held prior to Reeves’ inaugural

A prayer service was held Sunday in downtown Jackson, ahead of the second inauguration of Governor Tate Reeves.

“I’m incredibly thankful for all those who joined us for the inauguration prayer service today,” Reeves wrote on X. “It was a wonderful service and Elee and I feel truly blessed by all of your prayers and support!”

The Governor’s inauguration is set for 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol at 10:30 on Tuesday, followed by a parade at 2:00 p.m. There will be an open house at the Governor’s Mansion from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the Governor’s Ball that evening at the Mississippi Trade Mart starting at 7:00 p.m.

2. Speaker White announces staff

Newly minted Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Jason White announced six staffers joining his team at the Capitol. They are:  

  • Chief of Staff – Clarke Wise 
  • Communications Director – Taylor Spillman  
  • Executive Assistant & Scheduler – Tammy Cowart  
  • Policy Advisor – Sara Bailey Jones  
  • Policy Advisor – Chole Butler  
  • Legislative Assistant – Jimmy Cockroft 

White said his new staff is ready to hit the ground running.

“I have been fortunate to work with this team throughout the campaign cycle and they all bring valuable input in their own way,” Speaker White said. “Right now, we are preparing to have Committee Chairmen and Members placed then we will shift our focus to our policy initiatives of education, healthcare, and the Public Employees Retirement System. With this team in place, we have a strong focus to make meaningful strides for the people of our State.”

3. Brashier to serve as Reeves’ Chief of Staff

Anne Hall Brashier

Governor Tate Reeves announced on Friday that he has appointed Anne Hall Brashier as Chief of Staff effective immediately. Brashier has served as Interim Chief of Staff since June 2023. She previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff of Policy and Legislative Affairs.
“Anne Hall Brashier is incredibly smart and talented,” said Governor Reeves in a statement. “I’m confident that she will do a fantastic job managing this office and our legislative agenda as we enter the second term. I look forward to working with her to build on the past four years of historic accomplishments.”

Brashier joined Governor Reeves’ staff following his election in 2019 as Deputy Policy Director. She previously served on staff for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Trent Kelly and as Military Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis.

National News & Foreign Policy

Congressional negotiators agree on $1.6 trillion spending level

(Photo: Scrumshus, Wikimedia Commons)

On Sunday, congressional leaders announced a deal between the U.S. House and Senate that sets the 2024 spending level at $1.6 trillion.

Leaders in both chambers are working to finalize spending packages, with deadlines looking for January 19th and another in February, based on the agreed upon continuing resolution passed late last year to avoid a federal government shutdown.

The deal faces a bigger challenge in the House where staunch conservative members looking to reduce government spending while securing the southern border, among other Republican priorities, remains top of mind. Two concessions from the Senate touted by Speaker Mike Johnson are the cancellation of unspent pandemic aid and the cut of $20 billion for the Internal Revenue Service.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Saints eliminated from playoffs

With Green Bay’s win over the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon, the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from playoffs, as the Packers secured the 7th and final seed.

The Saints finish the season at 9-8, a two-game improvement from last year where they finished 7-10.

New Orleans ran up the score versus Atlanta on Sunday in a 48-17 win over the Falcons. Yet, with Tampa Bay’s win, the Buccaneers secured the division title and the playoff spot. A late-game touchdown caused tension between Head Coach Dennis Allen and his Falcons counterpart, with the two exchanging words at mid-field in their post-game meeting.

2. Ole Miss Basketball loses SEC openers

(Photo from OleMissWBB on X)

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Ole Miss lost their Southeastern Conference openers over the weekend.

For the men, it was their first loss of the season, having risen to No. 22 in the AP Top 25. The No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers overwhelmed the Rebels, now 13-1, in nearly every phase, taking the 90-64 win. Ole Miss will host Florida on Wednesday.

Tennessee will play another Magnolia State team on Wednesday when they face Mississippi State. The Bulldogs (11-3) also lost their SEC opener against South Carolina 68-62 on Saturday.

As for the lady Rebels, they lost to No. 7 LSU in a packed-house contest in Oxford. The Ole Miss women now sit at 11-5 on the season and play Auburn on Thursday.

3. Southern Miss finds success on court and in the transfer portal

(Photo from SouthernMiss on X)

Southern Miss had a big weekend in its athletics program, both on the court and on the gridiron.

The Golden Eagles men’s basketball team (8-7) picked up a huge 81-71 win versus No. 19 and previously undefeated Sun Belt opponent James Madison on Saturday.

It was the first time since 2011 that USM has beaten a ranked opponent in Hattiesburg.

Across campus, Head Coach Will Hall’s football staff announced a major signing from the transfer portal. Former Florida State backup-turned-starter quarterback Tate Rodemaker is joining the Golde Eagles QB room. Rodemaker, a former three star out of high school, is coming off of his redshirt junior season and has played in 23 games over four seasons with the Seminoles.

Markets & Business

1. Futures down ahead of Monday trading

Stocks were off to a rough start in the first week of the new year. Ahead of trading on Monday, Dow futures fell 0.45% and both the S&P and Nasdaq showed declines.

Boeing’s decision to ground some of its 737 Max-9 jets following a Friday incident mid-air in Alaska where the jet lost part of its fuselage saw its stock dip 8%.

Also in pre-opening moves, crude oil fell 3% after Saudia Arabia announced a February cut to prices.

2. Buying home, auto insurance more challenging today

A report from the Wall Street Journal says “getting insurance for both their cars and homes has gone from a routine, generally manageable expense to a do-or-die ordeal that can strain household budgets.” WSJ reports:

Insurers are coming off some of their worst years in history. Catastrophic damage from storms and wildfires is one big reason. The past decade of global natural catastrophes has been the costliest ever. Warmer temperatures have made storms worse and contributed to droughts that have elevated wildfire risk. Too many new homes were built in areas at risk of fire.

Read more on the latest challenges in buying home and auto insurance in this WSJ report.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.