10 Local Stories of the Week | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

10 Local Stories of the Week

Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, used the tragic murder of Jessica Chambers by a man believed to be associated with a gang to argue for adding additional charges if a crime was committed as part of gang collusion.

Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, used the tragic murder of Jessica Chambers by a man believed to be associated with a gang to argue for adding additional charges if a crime was committed as part of gang collusion. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them:

  1. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the "Back the Badge Act" Friday, which adds law-enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency personnel as protected classes under Mississippi's hate-crime laws.
  2. Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, announced Friday morning that he will retire from the Mississippi House of Representatives after being diagnosed with dementia; he served in the House for 34 years.
  3. Implicit bias starts early in education—really early. New research shows that boys, black children and especially black boys are more likely to be expelled or suspended from early education programs than their peers who commit similar offenses.
  4. Mississippi's top political leaders announced the induction of 18 artists into the inaugural Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame class at the Capitol Thursday morning.
  5. The State of Mississippi is litigating legal challenges to the state's lethal-injection law directly. Mississippi last executed a prisoner in June 2012, Mississippi Department of Corrections records posted online show.
  6. The fate of dyslexia scholarship-voucher expansion efforts, how criminal-justice reforms are implemented and occupational licensing-board oversight are in the hands of a few this week as Mississippi lawmakers conference and compromise on what stays and what goes.
  7. Republican Sen. Brice Wiggins seeks to amend the existing Mississippi Streetgang Act that defines a gang as "any combination, confederation, alliance, network, conspiracy, understanding or similar conjoining in law or in fact, of three ore more persons with an established hierarchy" that commits a felony.
  8. Mississippians in the state's custody could soon have access to a new re-entry program focused on entrepreneurship, rehabilitation and getting a job upon release.
  9. Despite the Affordable Care Act's uncertain future, more than 88,000 Mississippians, many elderly and white, re-enrolled in health insurance-marketplace plans by the Jan. 31 deadline, data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show.
  10. A federal court on Friday permanently blocked Mississippi's law that threatened to close the state's only abortion clinic by setting a hospital-privileges requirement the clinic couldn't fulfill.

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