Hood Running for 4th Term as Mississippi Attorney General | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Hood Running for 4th Term as Mississippi Attorney General

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jim Hood filed papers Friday to run for a fourth term as Mississippi attorney general, saying he considered retiring and going into private law practice but still has things he wants to accomplish as the state's top legal officer.

"I labored over the decision. I've just got some unfinished business," Hood told The Associated Press in a phone interview from his home in his northeast Mississippi hometown of Houston.

Hood said the unfinished business includes a lawsuit he filed in 2008 against Entergy Mississippi, claiming the company had overcharged customers by buying electricity from affiliates at a higher rate than on the open market, then passing inflated costs along to consumers. The company denied the accusation. The lawsuit remains in federal court.

He said another bit of unfinished business is a legal fight with Google over whether the Internet search engine improperly helps people find pirated music and drugs without a prescription. The California-based company says Hood is infringing on its free-speech rights, and it has asked a federal judge to block a subpoena he issued last fall and prevent him from filing civil or criminal charges.

"If Google hadn't jumped out there and sued me, I might've retired," Hood said.

Hood, 52, is the only Democrat currently holding a statewide office in Mississippi and is the first person in the race for attorney general. Candidates' qualifying deadline is Feb. 27, and it's unclear whether a Republican will run.

In 2013, Hood moved his family from the Jackson area back to northeast Mississippi. He has been splitting his time between the attorney general's main Jackson office and a branch office he established near his home.

Even working some of the time away from the seat of state government, Hood has maintained a high profile.

Hood filed papers with the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, asking it to overturn a lower court's ruling that has blocked a 2012 Mississippi law that would require all physicians at the state's only abortion clinic to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the admitting-privileges law could block access in Mississippi to a constitutionally protected medical procedure by closing the only abortion clinic in the state. In his appeal, Hood wrote that the 5th Circuit decision "effectively places the clinic beyond the regulatory reach of the state."

Physicians at the clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, travel from other states and have been unable to obtain hospital admitting privileges, clinic owner Diane Derzis has said. Some hospitals won't grant them to out-of-state doctors, and some religious-affiliated hospitals won't associate with physicians who work at abortion clinics.

The admitting privileges law is similar to one enacted in several other states. Supporters say such laws protect women's health, but opponents say complications from abortion are rare and hospitals are already required to admit emergency patients.

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