State Legislature back in session

The Mississippi Legislature convened their 2016 session on Tuesday, January 5th and re-elected Rep. Philip Gunn as House Speaker and selected Sen. Terry Burton as President Pro-Tem.

Gov. Phil Bryant plans to push comprehensive school choice, additional workforce training, tax credits and cuts, and repairing the state’s foster care program.

Eliminating the corporate franchise tax tops Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ agenda. He also wants to expand school choice while prioritizing BP oil disaster settlement funds for South Mississippi and the Coast.

Speaker Philip Gunn has already made waves by pushing to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, creating a new education funding formula to replace MAEP, and ensure the state lives within its budget.

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Republican Primary U.S. Senate Candidate: Chris McDaniel

A lawyer and former state Senator, Chris McDaniel is attempting to upset incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran to become the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.  The Christian Science Monitor listed McDaniel as the top candidate that could be “the next Ted Cruz.”

Representing Jones County in the Mississippi Senate since 2008, he is a Partner at Hortman, Harlow, Bassi, Robinson and McDaniel, PLLC, a general civil and trial practice in Laurel.  McDaniel’s attorney profile lists his practice areas as general litigation, insurance defense, personal injury, commercial litigation, constitutional law (civil rights), education law, consumer products litigation, mass tort litigation, and complex multi-party litigation.

The following positions were taken from McDaniel’s campaign website:

  • Healthcare:  Volunteered his time in Mississippi’s suit against Obamacare.  Opposed Medicare expansion, supports defunding, repealing Obamacare.  Desires commonsense healthcare reform, increased choice, health savings accounts, and allowing insurance across state lines.
  • Taxes:  Believes the tax code is a mess and must be reformed.  Supports scrapping the existing tax code and moving to a simpler, flatter tax system.  [Stated in an interview with Bryan Fischer that he did know whether the Fair Tax or the Flat Tax was best.]
  • Education:  Desires to repeal No Child Left Behind, eliminate federal government control over education, and restore education to the states, local communities, and parents.  Supports school choice.  Opposes Common Core.
  • Immigration:  Opposes amnesty and supports enforcement of existing laws including securing the border.  Introduced the Employment Protection Act to require all companies to check legal status of potential employees.
  • Energy:  Reduce foreign oil dependence by expanding domestic energy use.  Supports offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), Keystone pipeline, and opposes subsidizing alternative energy forms.
  • Agriculture:  Unleash agriculture from federal regulations and control from Washington.  Supports repealing the Death Tax in its entirety to enable the transfer of farms to children without penalty.
  • Economy:  Regulations are strangling jobs and small businesses.  Washington is addicted to spending and our country is on the verge of financial crisis.  Must cut spending, pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Supports making permanent the temporary ban on earmarking.
  • 2nd Amendment:  Opposes all efforts to undermine the 2nd Amendment.  Sponsored legislation that required the state to honor any valid concealed carry permit issued by another state.
  • National Security:  Will fight for the men and women of the military to ensure support in and out of uniform.  Wary of engaging in foreign entanglements but acknowledges the need to remain vigilant of many threats.  Wants to reevaluate foreign aid process.  Will oppose all treaties that compromise American sovereignty.  Committed to the U.S. military remaining the strongest in the world and will not appease our enemies.
  • Abortion:  Pro-life and believes in the responsibility to protect unborn life.
  • Marriage:  Believes marriage is between and man and a woman and will vote to protect that definition.

For more information:

Democrat Primary U.S. Senate Candidate: Bill Marcy

Bill Marcy is no stranger to politics.  Marcy ran unsuccessfully for Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District against Bennie Thompson twice as a Tea Party Republican.

Describing himself as “a conservative with Libertarian leanings” On NewsRadio 104.9’s Gulf Coast Mornings, Marcy said, “I am not happy with the Democratic or Republican Party.”  When asked about his switch from Republican to Democrat, Marcy stated, “We switched so that we could bring in the black base. We are very open about that. Black folks just won’t vote for a Republican. . .”

If successful, Marcy would become the first black Senator from Mississippi since 1881.

Marcy spells out his positions on his 2012 campaign website as follows:

  • Economy:  The tax and spend mentality of our President and the Democrat-led congress is making it harder to create new private industry jobs. The only way out of this recession is to permanently lower taxes and cut the size of government.  Opposes the 1993 NAFTA agreement.
  • Taxes:  Believes the tax burden is abusive and has been used for political reward or punishment.  Willing to pay for constitutional items such as national defense, bridges and highways but not pork.  Supports the Fair Tax plan.
  • Bail-outs:  Against bailing out people or businesses that created the current economic crisis.  Believes that no one and nothing is “too big to fail”.
  • Education:  Wants to requires all students to study the U.S. Constitution.  Supports education vouchers to drive competition to improve quality education; tax dollars should follow the given child, not the schools.
  • Drug Legalization:  Supports legalizing marijuana use for adults.
  • Defense:  Believes in a strong national defense as this is the first responsibility of government as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Energy:  “Drill here, Drill Now!”  Incredulous that U.S. policy does not take advantage of domestic resources.
  • Health Care:  Does not believe our health care system is broken but the best in the world; Against the takeover of healthcare under Obamacare which has destroyed full-time jobs.  Supports Health Savings Accounts.  Wants to guarantee insurance portability from job to job and across state lines.  Supports tort reform to reduce cost of healthcare.
  • Immigration:  Wants to enforce existing laws.  Supports legal immigration but need to secure the borders not only to prevent illegal immigration but to prevent terrorists from entering.
  • Abortion:  “[A]bortion is really the killing of unborn children.”
  • Marriage:  Supports the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • 2nd Amendment:  “[G]uarantees law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms. This is not up for debate.”
  • 10th Amendment:  Believes the need for a limited central government with most everything delegated to the states.

For more information:

Lt. Gov. Reeves’ 2014 Legislative Summary

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves filed a summary of the legislative session headlined “Session Ends with Balanced Budget, Efficiency Measures, Investment in Education.”  The release documents the major legislative achievements to include education initiatives, the budget, public safety, reinforcing 2nd Amendment issues, and efforts to make Mississippi “business-friendly.”

Rep. Williams-Barnes’ Legislative Update

Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes (D-Gulfport) gave an update of the state legislatures “Conference Weekend” where the house and senate work-out differences between bills passed in their respective chambers so it can be forwarded to the governor for signing into law (or veto).

In January, House Bill 48 was passed and signed into law by Gov. Bryant.  The law requires public and private Mississippi schools to “adopt and implement a concussion management and return to play policy.”

Barnes does not like the requirement to drug test TANF applicants as required under House Bill 49.   The bill was championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-56) and Rep. Sam C. Mims (R-97) and the governor signed into law on March 24th.

For more information:

Democrat Primary 4th Congressional District Candidate: Trish Causey

If the Republican Candidates for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District all look too similar for you to make a choice, look no further than the Democrat candidates.

As outlined by Paul Hampton, Trish Causey labels herself as “Staunchly progressive.”  Described as an artist and grassroots activist, Causey calls herself a lifelong activist on her campaign website.

  • National Security:  A pacifist; repeal the Patriot Act, close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.  The “humanitarian side of the military [as in post-disaster relief] should be lauded and fostered.”
  • Gay Issues:  Fully supports equal rights and privileges for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons.
  • Abortion:  Supports  unrestricted abortion.
  • Education:  Raise teacher pay, make student loans more available, and teach “students skills they will need for college and in the real world.”
  • Public Health:  Support marijuana legalization, expand Medicaid, supports Obamacare.
  • Economy:  Supports a “living wage” (increasing the minimum wage, legalizing and taxing marijuana, pro-union, and supports “fair pay and equal representation” for women.
  • Environment:  Address climate change, promote alternative fuels, ban genetically modified foods, preserve natural resources, protect the environment.

For more information:

Republican Primary 4th Congressional District Candidate: Ron Vincent

Ron Vincent is one of 5 candidates certified by the Miss. Republican Party for the June 3rd Primary election.  Vincent squared-off against Steven Palazzo in the 2012 Primary and received 18.7% of the vote to Palazzo’s 73.9% according to Ballotpedia.

Born in Hattiesburg, Vincent retired from GE Energy and has international business experience according to his campaign website.  He is listed as the organizer of the Hattiesburg Tea Party, a member of Main Street Baptist Church, and was honorably discharged after 3 years in the U.S. Army.

Based on his website, the following are his positions on various issues:

  • Economy:  Remove barriers to business and growth, develop domestic energy sources, reform and strengthen education system.
  • Constitutionally Limited Government:  Supports term limits and abolishing the EPA, HUD, and Department of Education.  Wants to restore constitutional checks and balances and restore government by legislation instead of regulation and executive order.
  • Fiscal Responsibility:  Wants to balance the federal budget, pay-off national debt, eliminate government bailouts and corporate take-overs, reform of entitlement programs, and audit the Federal Reserve.
  • Tax Reform:  Supports the Fair Tax and abolition of the IRS.
  • Obamacare:  Supports the complete repeal of Obamacare.
  • National Defense: Secure the borders and enforce immigration laws.  Restore military strength, end fighting undeclared wars.  End foreign treaties and get out of the United Nations.

For more information: