Arielle Dreher | Stories | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Arielle Dreher

Stories by Arielle

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Alcorn State President Named New IHL Commissioner

The Institutions of Higher Learning board named Alfred Rankins Jr. the new commissioner of higher education for Mississippi on Friday, March 23.

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Governor Defends Choice of Cindy Hyde-Smith to U.S. Senate Seat

Gov. Phil Bryant made history on Wednesday, March 21, when he named Cindy Hyde-Smith to take Sen. Thad Cochran's seat, which he will vacate on April 1. Mississippi has never ...

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Lawmakers Turn to Budgets; Re-Entry Reforms on Governor’s Desk

It's crunch time at the Mississippi Capitol. This week lawmakers will have to finalize the state budget, predominantly behind closed doors, before passing a slim fiscal-year 2019 budget.

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UPDATED: ‘Galactic Trouble’ for Foster Care Ahead?

Jess Dickinson likes to use an ancient maxim he heard in a film, "The Bourne Ultimatum," to illustrate where he sits currently as the commissioner of Mississippi's foster-care system. "Hope ...

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Judge Blocks Newly Signed 15-Week Abortion Ban for 10 Days

It took less than 24 hours for Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban to become law and then be stopped from taking effect.

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'One Lake' Project Could Go to Public for Comment Next Month

Engineers are pumping water at both Pearl River stations after a weekend of storms. The river reached a crest of 21 feet this weekend but is projected to drop down ...

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Indigent Defendants Denied Counsel, Speedy Trials in 10 Counties

Mississippians accused of felonies who cannot afford their own representation have the right to counsel and a speedy trial under the 6th Amendment, but a new report found that access ...

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Black, Male, Arrested: Madison County Case May Go Class Action

Attorneys argue that Madison County's policing program violates black residents' rights outlined in the Fourth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil ...

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Criminal Justice Reform Law Headed to Governor's Desk

If Gov. Phil Bryant signs House Bill 387 into law, Mississippians will not automatically go to prison or jail if they do not pay fines or court fees.

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Who's on the Ballot in Mississippi in 2018?

This year will be an entertaining ride for Mississippi voters, who will have elect all four congressional representatives as well as two senators to represent the state in Washington, D.C.

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Reversing 'Roe'; Outside Group Uses Mississippi as 'Bait' to End Abortion

The State of Mississippi's Republican legislative leadership may have just decided to end all abortions after 15 weeks, but they used a template developed outside the state. The legislation is ...

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Sabotage, Death, Danger: Private Prison on Trial

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Prison Project of the ACLU and two other law firms brought a class-action lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections back in 2013 ...

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Not 'Soft on Crime': Clergy Want Prison Reforms to Become Law

The Mississippi Legislature could approve two re-entry and criminal-justice reform measures this session, which are still alive.

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JPS Closing Four Elementary Schools Due to Funding, Costly Repairs

Four elementary schools will close at the end of this school year in Jackson Public Schools.

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Senate's 'School Safety Act' Tightens Teacher Gun Training, Carry Laws

Schools, colleges and universities around Mississippi could create school-safety programs, designating certain licensed firearm owners who complete approved training courses to carry a concealed gun for the explicit purpose of ...

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Mutiny at the Senate: Bi-partisan Death of New Ed Formula

Twenty-six senators joined Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, to kill the Republican-driven proposal to scrap MAEP, which would have replaced it with a weights-based student funding formula, which EdBuild developed and ...

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Jacksonians Value JPS and Teachers, Poll Finds

The local community supports both Jackson Public Schools and the teachers in a stronger way than in many communities, a poll of 500 local residents in January found.

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Private Prison Trial Starts Today Over Alleged Squalor, Rats, Deaths

Inmates housed at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility alleged squalor conditions, solitary confinement practices, lack of medical and mental health care, and an overall unsafe environment. Five years later, the ...

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Bipartisan Vote Kills New Education Funding Formula Proposal

Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, thought he had the votes to pass the Republican proposal to replace the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, when he stepped up to the speaker well in ...

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UPDATED: Senate Takes Up New Ed Funding Formula Proposal Today

The push to re-write the State's education-funding formula, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, is in the Senate waiting on a full vote.

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The Racist Roots of Disenfranchising Voters

Mississippi is one of 12 states with disenfranchisement laws that can affect people for life. The list of 22 disenfranchising crimes means an estimated 218,181 people in the state are ...

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JPS Board Pushes Supe Search Forward

Jackson Public Schools could have a new superintendent by July if the Board of Trustees gets its way. Earlier this month, the board finalized its top two superintendent search firm ...

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'One Lake' Bond Bill Passes House By Slim Margin After Questions

Proponents of the "One Lake" project along the Pearl River through Jackson got a financial boost when the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a nearly $100-million bond and loan measure ...

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Hood Joins Net Neutrality Fight

Attorney General Jim Hood will challenge the Federal Communications Commission's decision earlier this year to repeal net neutrality regulations.

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Equal Pay Amendment 'Harmful' to Mississippi Workers, Advocates Say

Equal-pay advocates say that an amendment the Mississippi House of Representatives passed to guarantee that women are paid as much as men is actually harmful because it exempts many employees ...

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Budgets, Infrastructure Funding and What’s Still to Come

It's halftime in the Mississippi legislative session, and the heavy lifting for lawmakers trying to pass a balanced budget is just beginning.

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Judge: Charter School Funding Constitutional

Mississippi's charter-school law does not violate the state's Constitution, Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Dewayne Thomas ruled almost a year after getting the case.

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Better Together Commission Hires Contractor for JPS Study

The Better Together Commission, an independent group of community leaders and stakeholders tasked with soliciting input from Jackson Public Schools families, hired Insight Education Group to complete an in-depth study ...

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'Brain Drain' Tax Credit Legislation Passes Mississippi House

The Mississippi House of Representatives wants young people to stay in Mississippi. It unanimously passed a measure Wednesday to offer tax breaks to recent college graduates who stay in Mississippi ...

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Gang Bill Could Increase Prison Costs, Disparately Affect African Americans

Proposed legislation to crack down on gangs statewide could lead to increased prison costs, a move that would counteract the state's progress in decreasing the number of inmates—and taxpayer dollars ...

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Medicaid and Guns Bills Live, Vouchers Die

Rep. Jason White, R-West, who is largely responsible for writing the House's Medicaid bill, supported Rep. Cheikh Taylor's amendment to the House Medicaid legislation and asked the House to vote ...

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Re-Entry Reforms Still Alive in Legislature

Mississippi can begin to look at justice reinvestment, and it should be a priority, Andre de Gruy, the state public defender who is also on the state's Corrections and Criminal ...

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Proposed School Board Election Changes Dead by Bipartisan Vote

In a bipartisan shutdown, Sen. Kevin Blackwell's bill to change school-board elections statewide died in the Mississippi Legislature on Monday.

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Proposed Gun Law Would Allow Lawsuits over Conceal-Carry Laws

Mississippians with enhanced concealed-carry licenses, who are required to take an instructional course on firearms training before they receive their license, could file a lawsuit against public entities, like state ...

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Jackson Schools Start New Schedule Monday to Make Up Missed School Days

Jackson Public Schools students missed seven days of school in January after freezing temperatures caused more than 200 water main breaks throughout the city.

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Surprise! House Targets Attorney General Jim Hood Again

Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, is consistent at least. His annual trip to the podium to limit Attorney General Jim Hood—the only Democrat in a statewide elected office—went well for him ...

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'Anti-Gang' Bills: One Alive As Experts Warn About Downside

Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, did not want to debate the "anti-gang" bill for long this morning, and after about half an hour, he tabled House Bill 541, noting that the ...

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Ed Department Awards 90 Vouchers in a Lottery After Some Went Unused

The Mississippi Department of Education held a lottery for 90 unused vouchers in the current school year as the Legislature could debate this afternoon whether to expand the program beyond ...

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Funding the ‘School Choice’ Lobby

In just one year, the Mississippi Legislature has gone from slightly tweaking its voucher program for students with dyslexia to a push to allow any public-school student to apply for ...

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15-Week Abortion Ban Moves Ahead

Abortion would be illegal after 15 weeks in Mississippi if a bill the House of Representatives passed late Friday becomes law.

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Equal Pay Included in Bill Prohibiting Cities from Raising Minimum Wage

An equal pay amendment is included in a bill the Mississippi House of Representatives passed this morning prohibiting cities from raising the state minimum wage.

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Vicksburg, Wingfield, Lanier High Schools Top 'Chronically Absent' List

More than 70,000 students were chronically absent in the 2016-2017 school year, chronic absentee data the Mississippi Department of Education released today show.

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House Passes Equal Pay Amendment, But Its Future Is Unclear

The Mississippi House of Representatives was expecting a leisurely Friday, but when Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, took up House Bill 1241 this morning, things got interesting.

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What Legislation Is Still Alive; What's Dead at the Capitol

Lawmakers have about a week to pass hundreds of bills out of each chamber, after committee chairmen and women made their first round of cuts to proposed legislation this year.

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Cops Learn to Help Mentally Ill Mississippians

The celebration was small, but the impact is likely to be large. On Friday, Jan. 26, nine local law enforcement officers who work in Hinds County graduated from week-long mental-health ...

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An Immigration Fight on Multiple Fronts

The City of Jackson's anti-profiling ordinance will stay on the books, as far as Chokwe A. Lumumba is concerned.

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'Nonpartison' School-board Election Reform on Legislative Agenda

Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, has introduced legislation to standardize all school-board elections for districts that already elect school-board members.

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'Anti-Gang' Bill Heads to Full House to Expand Policing Powers

Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, called the "Mississippi Anti-Gang Act" one of the most significant pieces of legislation the Legislature could pass in 2018. The bill would make "criminal gang activity" ...

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Re-entry Reform Hits Wall, But Kids No Longer Face Death Penalty

Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, had a tough time convincing the House Corrections Committee to pass additional re-entry criminal-justice reforms on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

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What’s in ‘UPS’ Ed Formula, What’s Not?

The Mississippi House Education Chairman, Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, repeatedly told House members that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program is too complicated to understand and not reliable for school ...