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Ashton Pittman

Stories by Ashton

Tease photo Politics

Women's Group Honors Evelyn Gandy: 'A Giant in Mississippi Politics'

Jennifer Ingram Johnson was the featured speaker at a League of Women Voters luncheon meant to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to ...

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The Fight for Family Goes On

After the Obergefell decision, Mississippi’s leaders "made sure to let us know we are still beneath the religious elite," Rev. Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear said. "We may have acquired marriage that day ...

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Black Voting Strength at Stake in Republican Request to 5th Circuit

Mississippi Republican leaders are fighting a court ruling that would increase black voting power in a gerrymandered state Senate district that meanders about 100 miles from Cleveland in the Mississippi ...

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Gipson: Officers Were 'Only Trying to Help' When They Shot His Father

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson said he does not blame the officers involved in the shooting death of his father, Harry Gipson.

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AG Candidates Praise 'Heartbeat Bill,' Anti-LGBT Laws, Tort Reform

About 50 people showed up at a venue that would seat 1,200 on Wednesday night to hear Republican candidates explain why voters should elect them as Mississippi's next attorney general—the ...

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Mississippi Mental Health Lawsuit Poses Concerns for Civil Rights

As a mental-health lawsuit claiming a violation of the civil rights of mentally ill Mississippians moves forward, Joy Hogge has in mind "a young person" who never received the support ...

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Taggart 'Disappointed' That Fitch Plans to Skip AG Debates

Republican candidate for Mississippi attorney general Andy Taggart criticized one of his opponents, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, in an open letter on Monday because she does not plan to attend ...

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Southern ‘Defiance’: The Fight for Roe Rages in Mississippi

Earlier this month, Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, who sponsored an anti-abortion bill in Mississippi this year, told the Jackson Free Press that those laws are indeed intended to trigger a ...

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Top Mississippi Congressman Calls for Trump Impeachment

U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson, a top Democrat in Congress, is calling for House leaders to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

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The Unwritten Story: The JFP Interview with Governor Hopeful Velesha P. Williams

For two hours, Velesha P. Williams shared her vision for moving Mississippi forward, and how she, a former U.S. Army officer who also spent years working at Jackson State University, ...

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Lumumba on Defense: JPD Rape Claims, Suicide a 'Human Tragedy'

Jackson Police Chief James Davis was four words into answering a press question about whether he had any regrets for his handling of sexual-assault allegations against an officer when Mayor ...

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'Brazen Disregard for Trans Health': Trump Ends Protections

Transgender Americans will no longer be protected from health-care discrimination after the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era health-care policy on Friday.

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As Mississippi Debates Abortion, Maternal Mortality Remains High

In Mississippi, pregnant women already die at higher rates than in most of the country, and the state is near the top in infant mortality.

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'I Am Pissed Off': Mississippians Rage Against Abortion Bans

Opponents of abortion bans nationwide held #StopTheBans rallies across the country on Tuesday.

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Mississippi Six-Week Abortion Ban 'Smacks of Defiance,' Federal Judge Says

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves did not rule on whether or not he will block Mississippi's six-week abortion ban in federal court today. He said he will issue a ...

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Activists Warn Against 'World's Largest Pellet Mill' in Mississippi

Enviva says it will bring jobs and millions in revenue to an ailing local economy by building the world's largest wood pellet plant in George County, but environmental groups warn ...

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Mississippi Republicans Vote Against LGBT Civil Rights Bill

U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Republican who represents Mississippi's 4th District, hearkened back to some familiar hyperbole on Friday as he blasted the Democratic-controlled Congress for passing the Equality Act.

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Teachers Vent Frustrations and Share Ideas at Hughes Townhall

On the penultimate day of Mississippi's 2019 legislative session, state leadership dropped an amended version of an appropriations bill for state construction projects on lawmakers just 23 minutes before asking ...

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Mississippi Candidates Raise Millions in Race for Governor

Mississippi candidates vying to become the state's next governor raised millions of dollars in the first political fundraising quarter.

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Mississippians See Growth on Amazon, But Politicians Misstate Report

Amazon reported in a May 1 press statement that Mississippi retailers boasted the fastest year-over-year growth among Amazon retailers. State leaders seized on the news but misstated the case.

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Waller Exceeds Fundraising Expectations in GOP Race

Republican Bill Waller raised more than half a million dollars in his first two months in the race for governor, his campaign announced in a press release on Tuesday.

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Louisiana 'Heartbeat Bill' Relies on Mississippi Taxpayers' Legal Defense

The Louisiana Senate passed a six-week abortion ban modeled after the one Mississippi passed in March, but with one caveat: If the Louisiana one becomes law, it will not go ...

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Mississippi School Discriminated to Avoid White Flight, Lawsuit Claims

Nearly 50 years after federal courts ordered Cleveland High School desegregated, the Delta high school remains embroiled in battles over desegregation.

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As Mississippi Evades Measles, Activists Want Vaccine Exemptions

Mississippians need not worry about developing measles after an infected Tennessee traveler exposed diners at a Hattiesburg fast food restaurant last month, the Mississippi State Department of Health says.

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Mississippi Women Could Benefit Most from Lift on SNAP Ban

Mississippi women stand to gain the most now that the U.S. government will no longer be able to bar state residents with felony drug convictions from receiving federal food assistance ...

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Joe Biden and the Dixiecrats Who Helped His Career

Vice President Joe Biden talked about his mentor James O. Eastland at a rally for Democrat Doug Jones in Birmingham, Ala., in 2017.

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GOP Rep: Mississippi Needs Hate Crimes Law for LGBT, Disabled People

A Mississippi Republican is calling on her colleagues to support an update to the state's hate-crime laws in the wake of two recent attacks that she believes anti-gay prejudice may ...

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Democrats, Activists 'Infuriated' as Hood Defends Six-Week Abortion Ban

Abortion-rights activists and some Democratic leaders are unhappy with Mississippi's leading Democratic candidate for governor, state Attorney General Jim Hood, after his office filed a brief in defense of the ...

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Reeves Falsely Claims Hood Will Let 'Terrorists and Rapists' Vote

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican candidate for governor this year, misled voters on Tuesday when he claimed that state Attorney General Jim Hood would allow "terrorists and rapists" ...

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Gov. Bryant Declares April 'Unity Month,' Not 'Confederate Heritage Month'

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared that April is the "Month of Unity" in Mississippi, departing from past years when he declared April "Confederate Heritage Month."

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Mississippi Man's Viral Beating Draws Probe of Possible Hate Crime

When Trevor Gray left a local bar to go to an after party in the early hours of April 13, the Wayne County, Miss., native could not have known that ...

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Hood Takes Heat for Blackface Photos, Says Leave Trans Rights Up to Schools

A Hattiesburg woman confronted Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on Tuesday over yearbook photos from the 1980s that show members of his college fraternity wearing blackface.

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The Pink House Deals With ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Fallout

"Jesus loves you, mommy. Mommy, please don't kill me," a child's voice pleads from a large speaker system outside Mississippi's last abortion clinic, which is known among its defenders as ...

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Mississippi AG Candidate Vows to Defend Six-Week Abortion Ban

State Rep. Mark Baker, a Republican candidate for Mississippi attorney general, is pledging to take the state's recently passed abortion ban all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Man Pleads Guilty to Burning Cross in Black Mississippi Neighborhood

A Mississippi man who burned a cross in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Covington County pled guilty to federal charges on Friday.

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AG Candidate Vows to Defend State Funding for Anti-LGBT Adoption Agencies

If Mississippians make state Rep. Mark Baker their next attorney general, he vows to fight so that religiously affiliated adoption agencies that accept state funds can continue to legally discriminate ...

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MSU Digitizes Endangered Citizens Council Radio Tapes

Stephanie Rolph was a graduate student at Mississippi State University in the mid-2000s when she found a collection of reel-to-reel audio recordings of the Citizens Forum, a broadcast once helmed ...

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Mississippi Reps Vote 'Nay' on Violence Against Women Act

All three Republicans in Mississippi's Congressional delegation voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday.

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The Hunt for Vouchers in Mississippi, After All These Years

Republican leaders secretly slipped $2 million for a private-school voucher program into an unrelated funding bill—despite the fact that most Democrats and many Republicans opposed expanding the program.

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Poor Mississippi Counties Are Top IRS Targets in Hunt for Tax Cheats

A new study of IRS practices reveals a tale of two Mississippi counties, with one of the poorest in the state earning the top spot as the most audited in ...

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Reeves Skipping First Debate for Governor Despite Early End to Session

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican candidate for governor, will be a no-show at the party's first primary debate on Tuesday night.

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GOP Leaders Trick House Into Sending $2 Million to Private Schools

Mississippi will use millions in taxpayer dollars to fund private schools after Republican leaders in the Legislature secretly slipped funds into a bill for state construction projects.

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Mississippi Senate Approves New Map to Boost Black Voting Power

Mississippi lawmakers are working to redraw the lines of a state senate district that two federal courts ruled dilutes black voting power.

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Michael Avenatti Defrauded Mississippi Bank, Prosecutors Charge

Michael Avenatti, the high-profile attorney who formerly represented Stormy Daniels, defrauded a Mississippi bank, federal prosecutors in California charged on Monday.

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Teacher Pay in Limbo as Mississippi Senate Balks at $4,000 Raise

The fate of a bill that could grant Mississippi's public-school teachers a $4,000 pay raise over a two-year period remained uncertain Monday morning as lawmakers from both chambers of the ...

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Voting Rights Act Denied Mississippi Its 'Sovereignty,' AG Candidate Says

At a Tupelo campaign stop on Monday, Mississippi State Rep. Mark Baker, a Republican candidate for attorney general, said the 1965 Voting Rights Act violated Mississippi's "sovereignty."

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Mississippi Senate Calls for Constitutional Convention, Raising Civil Rights Concerns

Civil-rights protections could be "rolled back" if Mississippi joins a conservative group's effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, a prominent civil-rights organization is warning.

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Gov. Bryant Signs Abortion Ban in Deadliest State for Babies

With Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at his side, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the nation's most restrictive abortion bill into law on Thursday morning.

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‘Why Can’t I Break That Barrier?’: The JFP Interview with AG Hopeful Jennifer Riley Collins

During our afternoon interview with Jennifer Riley Collins in downtown Jackson, she explained why she believes she is up to the momentous task of becoming the first African American woman ...

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