Initiative 42 and the Legislative Alternative 42A are a ballot initiatives to change Mississippi’s Constitution with respect to public education. The ballot is long and detailed so every voter must study this issue before voting November 3rd. The specific changes to the State Constitution can be studied here.
The anticipated results or consequences vary widely. Proponents say Initiative 42 will require the Legislature to fully fund MAEP (the State’s funding formula for public schools) and phase it in over a number of years based upon state tax revenues. Opponents say Initiative 42 will seriously impact the state budget, reduce other state services including public universities and community colleges, and could tie-up all kinds of education issues in the courts.
Incumbents mostly won the day in Mississippi Gulf Coast primary elections on August 4th. The biggest surprise of the election came in the Democrat primary for Governor. Political unknown Robert Gray won the primary against the Democrat’s chose standard-bearer Vicki Slater. Slater, an accomplished trial lawyer and small business owner, had been the MS Democrat Party favorite and received the most endorsements of any of the primary candidates. Gray, a retired firefighter and truck driver, will face Gov. Phil Bryant and Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara in the November 3rd General Election.
County primaries were mixed with several races heading to runoff elections on August 25th:
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY RUNOFFS:
- Hancock County Supervisor, District 5: Tonya Wayne Ladner and Darrin Ladner
- Harrison County Sheriff: Melvin Brisolara and Troy Peterson
- Harrison County Supervisor, District 2: Ricky Dombrowski and Angel Kibler-Middleton
- Harrison County Constable, District 1: James Morgan and Richard H. Quave
- Jackson County Circuit Clerk: Randy Carney and J.T. Martin
- Jackson County Tax Assessor: Nicholas Elmore and Greta Hearndon
- Jackson County Supervisor, District 1: Barry E. Cumbest and Sabrina Smith
- Jackson County Supervisor, District 3: Michael R. Whitmore and Ken Taylor
- Jackson County Supervisor, District 4: Tommy Brodnax and Troy Ross
- Jackson County Justice Court Judge, District 1: Gerald Wayne Jones and Matt Lachaussee
- Jackson County Justice Court Judge, District 4: David McVeay and Daniel P. Guice, III
DEMOCRAT PRIMARY RUNOFF: Harrison County Supervisor, District 4: Chris Fisher and Kent Jones
Complete results from the primary election are linked below.
The Biloxi City Council set the mayoral special election for April 28th. The position became vacant when former mayor A.J. Holloway resigned on March 5th after serving 22 years. Kenny Glavan is serving as the acting mayor until the special election.
Candidates must qualify for the special election by April 8th. The following have announced their intent to run:
- Cono Caranna, former Harrison County district attorney
- Andrew Gilich
- Felix Gines, Biloxi Councilman
- Dixie Newman, Biloxi Councilman
- Windy Swetman, Harrison County Supervisor
- Paul Tisdale, Biloxi Councilman
Mississippians voted overwhelmingly to support a state constitutional amendment to preserve the right to hunt and fish. Nearly 90% of voters approved House Concurrent Resolution 30 (HCR 30) which will amend the state constitution and become the 18th state with hunting and fishing protected as a constitutional right.
Winners in the 2014 General Election:
- U.S. Senate: Thad Cochran
- 4th Congressional District: Steven Palazzo
- Chancery Court Judge, District 08, Place 2: Jennifer Schloegel
- Chancery Court Judge, District 08, Place 3: Sandy Steckler
- County Court Judge, Place 3: Margaret Alfonso
- Chancery Court Judge, District 16, Place 1: D. Neil Harris, Sr.*
- Chancery Court Judge, District 16, Place 3: Michael Fondren
*As of November 7th, D. Neil Harris, Sr. led the election against Paula Yancey by 18 votes with 18 affidavit ballots outstanding.
Two races will require a run-off. In the Harrison County race for Circuit Court Judge (District 02, Place 2), Chris Schmidt earned 42% of the vote and will face Robert Fant Walker who received the second highest vote total with 34%. In Jackson County, Mike Ezell garnered 43.9% of the vote and will face Scott McIlrath who came in second with 15.9%.
Runoff election will be November 25th.
For more information:
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:
Leading into the 2014 General Election, Sen. Thad Cochran is trying to heal a rift in the Republican Party after the close Primary battle with Chris McDaniel. Democrat Travis Childers is trying to overcome a lack of name recognition to take advantage of that rift and become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi since John C. Stennis in the 1980s.
The Neshoba County Fair set the stage for the speeches from Cochran and Childers as well as other elected officials such as Gov. Phil Bryant and House Speaker Philip Gunn. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves closed Wednesday’s political speeches heralding his successes in filling up the state’s rainy-day fund, increasing revenues, and pushed for a tax-cut.
For more information:
News Mississippi commemorates the state’s 10th anniversary after passing tort reform in Looking Back at Mississippi Before Tort Reform.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that prior to tort reform, doctors were seeing 25% annual increases in malpractice insurance. Jones County had more plaintiffs than residents. And doctors were fleeing the state. Haley Barbour, who was elected governor in 2003 on a tort-reform platform, stated that Toyota and several Fortune 500 companies would not consider coming to Mississippi under the conditions prior to tort reform.
The 2004 tort reform law did not limit the amount a plaintiff could get for lost wages, medical bills or other quantifiable costs but only limited the subjective elements such as “pain and suffering.” The state passed a $500,000 cap on these subjective, non-economic damages although business in the state lobbied for a $250,000 cap.
Medical liability insurance in Mississippi has dropped 60% as medical liability suits dropped by more than 90% in one year. Overall, tort cases have dropped from 10,600 in 2002 to about 3,500 in 2012 according to the Clarion-Ledger.
For more information:
NewsMS reported a fourth Mississippi city has passed a resolution recognizing people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in Another LGBT Resolution Passes, Add Magnolia to the List. In a 3-2 vote, the Magnolia Board of Aldermen passed the resolution affirming the “dignity and worth of all city residents – including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)”.
On the heels of Magnolia’s resolution, [Human Rights Campaign is] planning $8.5 million LGBT campaign in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the self-proclaimed largest civil rights advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, will be opening offices in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas and staffing them with around 20 people each.
HRC asserts that people who know and care for gay people are more likely to support expanded LGBT rights. With “Project One America,” HRC hopes to convince those concealing their sexual orientation to become public and accelerate the acceptance and adoption of gay rights in Mississippi and across the South.
When the Mississippi legislature adjourned April 2nd, it adjourned sine die which in parliamentary speech means that there is no appointed time for a future meeting (in other words, the legislative session is ended). The Latin phrase is pronounced “sī-ni-ˈdī.”
The sudden and frustrating finish (at least to the House) inspired Chris Davis, News Mississippi News Director, to write the parody, “Sign or Die” which was featured on the Paul Gallo Show April 3rd. Listen to the ditty via Paul Gallo’s twitter feed:
After claiming credit for stripping language from Senate Bill 2681 that would have allowed individuals to deny service based on religious beliefs, the Campaign for Southern Equality is continuing their push for gay rights in Mississippi.
Via their “WE DO Campaign,” the Campaign for Southern Equality is seeking a sympathetic, local elected official in the south to grant a marriage license to a gay couple. Short of that goal, homosexuals around the state of Mississippi and the South are planning to apply for marriage licenses on March 25th. Since gay marriage is not legal in the state, gay rights advocates expect to us the denials as evidence of the harm that is caused by prohibitions against same-sex couples. Undoubtedly, gay rights advocates will use those experiences in law suits to force their will upon the people.
Prodded by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), three Mississippi cities, Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Oxford have passed resolutions this year that recognize the “dignity and worth of . . . lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [residents].” HRC’s mission statement declares, “HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.” Vice President Joe Biden addressed HRC on March 22nd and stated, “Barack [Obama] and I believe that the rights of [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] people is an inseparable part of America’s promotion of human rights around the world.”
For more information: