Congressional District 1 special election field set (and crowded)

There is no shortage of candidates for Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District seat which was vacated when Alan Nunnelee died in February. The following candidates qualified for the non-partisan special election on May 12th:

  • Boyce Adams, Columbus businessman
  • Sam Adcock, Columbus businessman
  • Nancy Collins, State Senator
  • Ed Holliday, Tupelo dentist
  • Starner Jones, Pontotoc ER physician
  • Trent Kelly, Saltillo District Attorney
  • Chip Mills, Itawamba County prosecuting attorney
  • Greg Pirkle, Tupelo attorney
  • Henry Ross, Eupora attorney and former Mayor
  • Daniel Sparks, Oxford attorney
  • Mike Tagert, Northern District Transportation Commissioner
  • Quentin Whitwell, Oxford attorney and former Jackson city councilman
  • Walter Howard Zinn, Jr., Pontotoc attorney

Danny Bedwell, a businessman from Columbus, announced intentions to run but failed to qualify by gathering the required 1,000 signatures by the March 27th deadline.

If needed, a runoff election will be June 2.

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2015 Candidates for State Auditor

Both Democrats and Republicans will Primary elections on August 4th to choose their candidates for State Auditor.

Incumbent Republican State Auditor Stacey Pickering is being challenged by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler for the Republican nomination.

Engineer and same-sex marriage advocate Jocelyn Pritchett and retired firefighter Charles Graham, both of Jackson, will vie for the Democrat nomination.

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Jackpot Justice: Mississippi Before Tort Reform

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.

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Gay rights supporters gain ground in Mississippi

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.

‘Sine Die’ means it’s all over

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:

Miss. Legislature adjourns with Senate & House Civil War

Geoff Pender’s article “Legislature has adjourned sine die” is an interesting look at the politics between the Mississippi House and Senate.  The House rejected the MDOT budget bill due to it being loaded with pork projects voting 121-1 on Monday, March 31st which all but killed funding for MDOT.

However, Gov. Bryant called a special session during the regular legislative session that allowed the Senate pass the bill last night and then adjourn for the legislative session.  This left the House no alternative but to pass the bill if they were to fund MDOT at all.

The $927 Million MDOT budget included $22 Million of pet projects the House did not like.  One of those projects is the $10 Million Mississippi-25/Lakeland Drive project which happens to be in Rankin County and near the home county of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

While much of the House was up in arms, the project had its defenders.  Rep. Mark Baker (R-Brandon) said the project has been planned for years to relieve congestion northeast of Jackson.

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