Gov. Bryant’s special session

Facing a $75 million shortfall in the state budget, Gov. Bryant called a special session to dip into the state’s rainy day fund to cover the deficit. After much grandstanding, the legislature authorized the governor to pull from the $349 million fund to balance the state’s $6.2 billion fiscal 2016 budget.

After years of demanding that the rainy-day fund only be used to pay one-time costs, Republicans are dipping into the fund for a second time within a year. And this after a year of corporate giveaways and borrowing money to do so. Katherine DeCoito makes the observation that, at this rate, the politicians are incentivized to make every year a “rainy day”–at least until the state is bankrupt–and they can no longer bail themselves out.

Geoff Pender further illustrates the absurdity of the legislative session which cost taxpayers $102,000 which would be comical if it wasn’t so pitiful. Our legislators, Democrat and Republican, apparently think they are playing with “Monopoly” money. Unfortunately, it is not.

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Federal Judge Overturns HB 1523

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves blocked House Bill 1523 from going into effect following the state legislature’s passage during the 2016 Legislative Session. Under the bill, businesses would have been allowed to deny services based on sincerely held religious beliefs without facing reciprocity from the state. Individuals would still be able to bring suit against such businesses but the state would remain neutral.

Judge Reeves’ injunction asserts that the law violates the U.S. Constitution in two places:

  1. The First Amendment by “establish[ing] an official preference for certain religious beliefs over others,” and
  2. The Fourteenth Amendment by explicitly favoring “anti-LGBTG religious beliefs” and providing adherents to those beliefs a special right to discriminate that is not available to others.

Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood believes the federal court ruling was clear and does not expect to appeal. No other officials’ comments were available.

This is not the first time Judge Reeves has ruled on religious freedom issues. In July 2015, he issued a court order to prevent Rankin County School District (RCSD) from including any religious activities at school sponsored events. After receiving a $7,500 fine after failing to satisfactorily comply with the court order, the RCSD prevented the Brandon High School Band from playing “How Great Thou Art” during a halftime show fearing that such an act would violate the court order and subject the district to additional fines.

Although born in Texas, Reeves grew up in Yazoo City and was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi by President Obama in 2010.

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Fight against “adult entertainment” on Canal Road

On February 18th, the Harrison County Planning Commission held their regular meeting and heard a petition to allow “a form of Adult Entertainment” at 18009 Tillman Road.  The subject property is 1,700 feet south of Faith Baptist Church on the corner of Canal Road and Tillman Road.

The following information was available from the Planning Commission proposed agenda posted on the Harrison County website:

Case File 1602HC018 – Other to allow the establishment a juice bar with exotic dancers in accordance to Section 305 Non-Classified Uses – Old Hwy 49– tax parcel 0610H-01-001.001 – Ronald Nance for Danielle Fayard – Supervisor District 3

Said petition was filed by Ronald Nance for Danielle Fayard requesting to add a form of Adult Entertainment in conjunction with a Juice Bar on a 0.6-acre parcel of land as identified on the site plan. Section 305 requires the Planning Commission to make a determination of the district or districts in which such use shall be permitted, either by right or on a conditional basis. The property is currently zoned as C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) and R-2 (Medium Density Residential) District. The subject property is located at 18009 Tillman Road. The ad valorem tax parcel number is 0610H-01-001.001.

According to church members in attendance, the issue was tabled until a future meeting. The property is easily recognizable to those travelling on Canal Road and a photo of the proposed site from Google Maps is below.

18009 Tillman Rd

Site of proposed adult entertainment venue on Canal Road

Per Mississippi law, counties have authority to regulate adult entertainment. Per Section 305 of the Harrison County Zoning Ordinance, adult entertainment is a “Non-Classified Uses” and therefore requires planning commission approval:

For any use not specifically listed, the planning commission shall make a determination of the district or districts in which such use shall be permitted, either by right or on a conditional basis. Any such determination shall be based on the subject use’s similarity in nature, intensity of land use impact and general character to other uses listed in the various districts.

While the location is within District 3, all church members and residents of Harrison County need to come together and tell our Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission that such establishments are not desired anywhere in Harrison County let alone on Canal Road.  Notify your Supervisor and plan to attend future Board of Supervisors Meetings and Planning Boards.

Harrison County Board of Supervisors:

Harrison County residents can determine the district of their resident via their voter registration card or by viewing the district map.

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Are rights from God. . . or man? Part II

After Chris Cuomo’s quarrel with Judge Roy Moore, another media-type has expressed her belief that rights come from man. In response to Sen. Ted Cruz invoking God as the grantor of rights, Yahoo News political reporter Meredith Shiner posted:

If rights are granted by men, they can be taken away by men.

The Declaration of Independence declared that humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” and the U.S. Constitution was created to prevent government from trampling them. In a 2001 interview, President Obama recognized the Constitution’s restraint on government: “It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

Rights granted by men are artificial or man-made but certainly not natural and unalienable! Shiner should thank God for all of her rights, including her 1st Amendment right to speak her mind–even if she doesn’t know Who granted them.

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MAEP Initiative 42 on 2015 Ballot

By gathering enough signatures, MAEP proponents have placed Initiative 42 on the 2015 General Election ballot. Per the Secretary of State press release, “Initiative #42 seeks to amend the State Constitution to require the full funding of education and grant the Chancery Court of Hinds County the power to enforce the full funding of education with appropriate injunctive relief.”

Currently, the Mississippi State Constitution entrusts education funding to the State Legislature.  Section 201, states “The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.”

The 2015 ballot will simply read, “Should the state be required to provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools?”

However, Initiative 42 will amend Section 201 of State Constitution to read as follows: “To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity, the State shall, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.”

MAEP is a formula adopted by the State Legislature (MS Code § 37-151-7) in 1997 to define funding levels for public education in Mississippi. Of the $6 Billion 2014 state budget, education received about $2.4 Billion.  Fully funding MAEP would require 10-15% more funding and has been fully funded twice since it’s adoption.

For further information:

Mississippi’s 2014 General Election Set

Prepare now for the 2014 General Election.  As a mid-term election, voter turn-out is generally lower meaning every vote is even more important.

The following are the candidates for the various offices affecting Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.  All links are to the candidates’ campaign websites, if available.  Additional information on each candidate can be found by searching The Blessings of Liberty.

U.S. Senate:

U.S. House of Representatives 4th Congressional District:

Several judicial positions are up for election this cycle as well.  Below are the listings for the coastal counties with Circuit Court judgeships on the ballot:

District 2 (Hancock, Harrison, Stone):

  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 1:  Lisa P. Dodson (unopposed)
  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 2:
  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 3:  Larry Bourgeois (unopposed)
  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 4:  Roger T. Clark (unopposed)

District 19 (George, Greene, Jackson):

  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 1:  Robert P. “Bob” Krebs (unopposed)
  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 2:  Kathy King Jackson (unopposed)
  • Circuit Court Judge, Place 3:  Dale Harkey (unopposed)

Below are the candidates for the coastal counties’ Chancery Courts:

District 8 (Hancock, Harrison, Stone):

District 16 (George, Greene, Jackson):

  • Chancery Court Judge, Place 1:
  • Chancery Court Judge, Place 2:  Jaye A. Bradley (unopposed)
  • Chancery Court Judge, Place 3:
    • Michael L. Fondren
    • Gary L. Roberts

Jackson County is holding a special election for a new sheriff to replace Mike Byrd who resigned in 2013; more information if available here.  Three Mississippi Court of Appeals judgeships are also up for election but none that represent the coastal counties (District 5).

For More Information:

Candidates for Jackson County Sheriff

Jackson County appointed interim Sheriff Charles Britt after Mike Byrd was resigned after being charged with felony crimes in December 2013.

A special election will be conducted in November to elect a permanent replacement.  The following have applied for the job (links are to on air interviews on NewsRadio 104.9FM:

For more information: