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Magnolia Mornings: March 21, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: March 21, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 21, 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. Wicker, Hyde-Smith oppose Labor rule that could harm MS Apprenticeship Program

Sen. Roger Wicker and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Mississippi’s U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith announced that they have joined colleagues in seeking the withdrawal of a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed rule that would impose new mandates on registered apprenticeship programs in Mississippi and across the country.

The proposed rule titled, “National Apprenticeship System Enhancements,” would enforce universal classroom and training requirements on all programs while also giving the DOL the ability to dissolve non-union apprenticeships.  The Senators say the burdensome new mandates would be especially troublesome for programs in rural states like Mississippi.

The proposed rule would also allow the DOL to dissolve a non-union apprenticeship program accused of misconduct or noncompliance without verification by the National Labor Relations Board.

The Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP), administered by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, has supported almost 13,000 apprentices between 2016 and 2023.

2. Smith named Director of Talent Solutions for AccelerateMS

Trey Smith

AccelerateMS has named Trey Smith as Director of Talent Solutions to strategize and implement recruitment and training initiatives to bolster economic development in Mississippi. 

Smith will lead the customization of solutions for emerging and growing businesses. His responsibilities include crafting recruitment strategies, designing personalized training initiatives, and providing organizational development services, all geared toward meeting the specific needs of clients.

“Trey’s expertise in both human resources and manufacturing positions him as a valuable asset for fostering collaborations between education and industry statewide,” said Dr. Courtney Taylor, Executive Director of AccelerateMS “His wealth of experience will play a pivotal role in advancing workforce development in Mississippi, and we are excited to welcome him aboard.” 

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Trump “couldn’t care less” if Pence endorses him or not

Former Vice President Mike Pence, Aug. 19, 2023, at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Former Vice President Mike Pence recently said he would not be endorsing his former running mate, Donald Trump, in the 2024 election cycle.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Pence said.

According to Fox News, Trump told the press corps following him this week that he couldn’t care less.

“Oh, I couldn’t care less. I couldn’t care less. We need patriots. We need strong people in our country. Our country is going downhill very fast, very rapidly,” Trump said as reported by Fox News, adding, “Millions of people coming across the border, coming from jails, from prisons, coming from mental institutions and insane asylum terrorists. We need strong people in this country. We don’t need weak people.”

Pence has said that he plans to spend the rest of the year talking about “what we should be for” in the conservative movement.

2. U.S. happiness score hits new low

The Washington Post reports that the United States is no longer among the world’s 20 happiest countries, according to a new report — with young people hit particularly hard and reporting lower levels of well-being than any other age group.

“The United States fell from 15th in 2023 to 23rd in this year’s World Happiness Report, which was released Wednesday to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness,” the Post reported. “The country’s results varied dramatically among different age groups, however, with young people under age 30 ranking 62nd out of 143 countries for happiness, while U.S. adults age 60 and above ranked 10th.”

According to the Post, this is the first time the United States has slipped out of the top 20 since the report was first launched in 2012. 

Sports & Entertainment

1. Southern Miss women advance in WNIT

(Photo from Southern Miss Athletics)

The Southern Miss women’s basketball team fought back from a 10-point 4th quarter deficit to win 79-74 over UAB in the opening round of the WNIT Tournament on Wednesday.

The Golden Eagles will now host Murray State at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, in Hattiesburg.

The women’s team is 19-13 overall and 10-8 in the Sun Belt this season.

2. M-Braves announce final season promotions

In their final season in Pearl, the Mississippi Braves announced their 2024 promotional schedule for the season this week. April 9 is the team’s home opener against the Biloxi Shuckers at Trustmark Park. Opening Week, April 9-14, will feature back-to-back fireworks shows and magnetic schedule giveaways on Opening Day and Friday, April 12.

Promo nights this season include Dog Days Tuesdays, First Responders Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, Giveaway Fridays, Fireworks Saturdays and Family Fun Day Sundays.

The team will also theme and special giveaway nights through the season, along with nights slated to recognize local cities and colleges.

You can view a PDF schedule here.

Markets & Business

1. Fed keeps rates steady

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that they were holding interest rates at their current target range of 5.25% to 5.50% for now once again.

The Fed also stood by their plan to offer three rate cuts during 2024.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed was committed to seeing inflation reach 2%, their target rate. The U.S. inflation rate remains over 3%, higher in this month’s reporting than the Fed would have liked.

2. EPA releases pollution standards in push for move EVs

On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced final national pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond.

The rule comes as the Biden Administration continues to push electric vehicles (EVs). However, it does give automakers more time to phase-out gas engine vehicles and ramp up production of EVs.

“EPA’s final rule gives manufacturers the flexibility to efficiently reduce emissions and meet the performance-based standards through the mix of technologies they decide is best for them and their customers,” the agency states. “EPA’s analysis considers a broad suite of available emission control technologies, and projects that consumers will continue to have a wide range of vehicle choices under the final rule, including advanced gasoline vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and full battery electric vehicles.”

The EPA said it was finalizing the same standard proposed for 2032 while allowing additional time for the auto sector to scale up clean vehicle manufacturing supply chains in the first three years covered by the rule.

According to the Biden Administration, the final rule is expected to avoid 7.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055, roughly equal to four times the emissions of the entire transportation sector in 2021.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.