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.
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 for the best; plan for the worst," Dickinson says.
It took less than 24 hours for Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban to become law and then be stopped from taking effect.
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.
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 designed to "bait" abortion-rights proponents into a fight over ending abortion outright, the bill's architect group admits.
The Mississippi Legislature could approve two re-entry and criminal-justice reform measures this session, which are still alive.
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 resisting violent intruders on campus.
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 from the protection.
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 by a three-vote margin on Thursday.
It's halftime in the Mississippi legislative session, and the heavy lifting for lawmakers trying to pass a balanced budget is just beginning.
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 and work in the state, immediately after graduation from a four-year college or university.
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 used to incarcerate those inmates—since 2014.
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 Justice Oversight Task Force, told the re-entry council earlier this month.
In a bipartisan shutdown, Sen. Kevin Blackwell's bill to change school-board elections statewide died in the Mississippi Legislature on Monday.
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 agencies or universities, with policies limiting their right to carry a gun if House Bill 1083 becomes state law.
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 this week.
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 Senate had already passed its version of the legislation.
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.
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.
Most of the state's public university and college presidents crowded into the Mississippi House of Representatives' appropriations room on Monday with a united message.
The Mississippi House of Representatives voted to use approximately $108 million in tax revenue for roads and bridges on Thursday in a bipartisan vote. House Bill 722 will divert 35 percent of the state's use tax collections to cities, counties and a grant program to pay for infrastructure.
It's hard to prosecute someone for a violent crime if you do not know how the victim died. The Mississippi Legislature is grappling over that question in the new session; the Mississippi crime lab is in crisis.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will not budge on the state's massive tax cuts, and he wants more school vouchers enabling families to use public funds to send their children to private schools.
While few House members seemed ready to begin work on legislation, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, three House committees met and passed five transportation-funding related bills, which Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, primarily authored.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, made up of lawmakers, adopted a budget that cuts the State's general fund by $66.1 million or 1.3 percent. The legislators' plan includes small increases for the Department of Public Safety to fund 60 state troopers who will graduate from in 2018.
Infrastructure funding and workforce development are the two primary legislative goals for the state's business community, Mississippi Economic Council Chairman William Yates said at the organization's "Capital Day" on Thursday, Jan. 4.