Casino-Mogul Trump Going Against the Odds With 'Muslim Ban'By Todd Stauffer
Based on the odds of terrorism actually taking place (as calculated by the right-leaning Cato Institute) a blanket ban on immigrants (much less people actually holding a green card or visa waiver) coming into the country tackles a "problem" that presents a very small threat to most Americans.
California Ban on Travel to Mississippi Goes into Effect Due to HB 1523By Donna Ladd
The demise of the Mississippi picnic in Central Park, news the Jackson Free Press broke early last week, is not the only economic and public-relations fallout of Mississippi's passage of the anti-LBGT House Bill 1523.
On Jan. 1, California's banned state-funded and state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kansas due to anti-LGBT laws passed in all four states. Assemblyman Evan Low, who is gay, co-sponsored the legislation in response to discriminatory legislation in the four states, The Advocate, an LGBT-focused national publication, reports.
"Our state has clearly said our taxpayer dollars will not fund bigotry or hatred," Low told The Advocate. "If other states try to pass similar laws, we will do everything we can in our power to stop any type of discrimination from happening to Californians. As you know, our zero tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California and this bill ensures discrimination will not be tolerated of any kind outside our borders."
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation moved a scheduled racial-healing retreat from Asheville, N.C., to Carlsbad, Calif., in December in response to passage of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 in the Tarheel State.
NSA Chief: 'Nation State' Interfered in U.S. ElectionBy Todd Stauffer
The National Security Administration isn't big on public statements, so this one by Admiral Michael Rogers, the NSA's current chief, is raising some eyebrows.
Cheers from (Some) Mississippi Trump fans: 'Why did we ever give the vote to women and blacks?'By Donna Ladd
The conservative Heritage Foundation came to Jackson last night for a shindig at Gov. Phil Bryant's mansion a block from the Jackson Free Press.
Apparently, at least one conversation happened there between a Crystal Springs, Miss., man and the former U.S. senator from South Carolina who now heads Heritage, which plays footsy with Donald Trump.
Afterward, Ford Crews, who lists himself on his Facebook page as a web developer, posted public comments about what he told DeMint at the mansion under a public post by Charles C. Johnson, a conservative and sometimes controversial journalist and pundit. Johnson had posted a FiveThirtyEight graphic showing that the vast majority of the country would go for Trump if women didn't vote, following a national trend on Twitter today to #repealthe19th (giving women the right to vote). "This would be a better world," Johnson wrote at the top.
Crews agreed, writing below: "I was at a The Heritage Foundation event at the Mississippi governors mansion, and one of the things I talked about with Jim DeMint was how we need to work to get more men out to vote, and encourage women to stay home, because of how overwhelmingly one sided women's support of regressive ideas is. Sadly when women stay home, conservatives win, when they get pissed off and go vote, they not only vote for democrats, they take their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and try to push them to vote for democrats. This whole Trump tape dump was nothing more that a way to piss women of so they go vote against Trump."
Other commenters, male and female, unloaded on women's apparent stupidity underneath that post. "[W]ish I could disagree, but after seeing some of their comments—women who don't know the difference between men trash talking among themselves and actual rape are too stupid to vote," Jennifer Verner wrote.
James Flynn advised: "If she wins if a woman wants a favor. Tell them to ask Hillary."
Then this exchange. "Without the votes of women would FDR have been elected? All the suffering liberals have inflicted on this country can be traced back to women voting liberal," Scotty Collins offered.
"I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been, Carter, Clinton and Obama sure wouldn't have been," Crews answered.
"Women are emotional creatures and most vote with their emotions and not logically," Nancy Bennett added.
Then Craig Kerr red-baited women, and slammed us for Prohibition. "First thing women voting gave us was Prohibition. Then they moved on to cultural Marxism," he said.
"I'm a woman and I totally agree. Women are destroying the west," Zita Norte added.
Susan Klassen agreed: "The majority of women vote based on emotion, not logic, and are grossly uninformed or misinformed. They look at govt as a charity. There are of course, exceptions. I am one of them. But before I educated myself via AM talk radio, starting with Rush, I thought I was a liberal. Studying the Bible at the same time gave ...
Trump Calls Clinton a 'Bigot' While Rallying to Whites in MississippiBy Donna Ladd
The Republican nominee for president chose Mississippi's solidly Democratic and majority-black capital city tonight to call the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, a "bigot."
At a rally in the Mississippi Coliseum (with many empty seats) Donald Trump said Clinton is a "bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings. She's going to do nothing for African Americans and Hispanics."
Clinton has strong support among the nation's African American voters and, to date, Trump has very little. Polls routinely show black support for Trump in the single digits. And Trump has long offended many black voters, such as by pushing falsehoods and stereotypes against black Americans.
Trump is also struggling with Latino voters after calling for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and rhetoric about Mexicans being rapists and murderers.
Trump also told the audience—which appeared to be at least 95 percent white— that "the Democratic Party has taken votes of African Americans for granted, and they've done nothing to deserve it."
Pastor Mark Burns, who is African American, spoke early in the rally both pushing the rumor that Clinton is in bad health—which her doctor adamantly denies—and saying that "all lives matter" when it comes to race, as the crowd chanted, "USA! USA!."
At the rally, Trump also continued his fiery rhetoric against undocumented immigrants.
At the end of the rally, Trump walked out with Gov. Phil Bryant to the song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Bryant, who has endorsed Trump, is a staunch supporter of House Bill 1523, which many people consider anti-LGBT.
— Reporting at the Mississippi Coliseum by Arielle Dreher
Gov. Phil Bryant: Trump 'a Chance to Save Our Country,' Unborn Children, Guns, Supreme Court (Verbatim)By Donna Ladd
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant just emailed his supporters urging them to support Donald Trump as the Republican convention gets ready to launch in Cleveland, Ohio. Here is his email verbatim:
In just about every previous election, we’ve all heard people running for office say “this election is the most important one in history.” This year, I think we can all agree—that’s undeniably true.
As we prepare to begin the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio next week, I wanted to send you a brief note about the choice you and I face together in November. It’s a historic time for our Party and for the opportunity for a revival of America’s potential.
America faces massive challenges right now. From economic stagnation and financial uncertainty at home to increasing military challenges and terrorist threats abroad—the election this November will literally chart a new course for our country. The question for all of us is, which direction will we go?
When 17 Republican candidates run for President in the primary, obviously, there are a lot of different perspectives and allegiances. But one thing is now clear: if we don’t come together for the sake of our Party and our nation’s future, we will lose the election—and with Hillary Clinton, we could literally end up with a country that goes into an unrecoverable downhill slide. If we unite to support Donald Trump, we still have a chance to save our country for the future.
This election is not just between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s about standing up for the issues we care about as Republicans including the right to life of the unborn, protecting our 2nd Amendment gun rights and appointments to the Supreme Court that will impact our laws now—and for future generations. That’s what’s at stake, and we can’t sit idly by in this election.
With Indiana Governor Mike Pence joining the ticket as the Vice President selection, he brings strong executive experience as a Governor, plus a good perspective from his previous service in Congress. This will make the ticket stronger and will bring a big boost to the campaign in key states.
Here’s what I hope you will consider doing this week to help us win in November:
Talk to your Republican friends about the incredibly clear choice in this election and the major differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Ask them to join you and me in supporting Donald Trump—and to get actively involved in the campaign.
Please make a donation to the Mississippi Republican Party today so we can run a strong campaign in our state. Your support can make the difference to help our Party.
Thank you for your longtime support of Republican candidates in our state. Because of your support, our Republican Party is in position to be well-organized to turn out a big vote in November—but we can’t do it without you. Please help today by donating to the Mississippi Republican Party.
Governor Phil Bryant
Release: Ministers, Community Leaders Applaud H.B. 1523 Court DecisionBy Donna Ladd
Verbatim release: A group of Mississippi ministers, community leaders, civic activists, and a Hattiesburg church who filed the first lawsuit challenging House Bill 1523 on the ground that it violates the principle of the separation of church and state, today applaud the decision of U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who agreed with their arguments and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the controversial law from taking effect on July 1.
Supreme Court Upholds Race-Aware AdmissionsBy Todd Stauffer
In a 4-3 vote today the Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas' admissions policy that takes into account the race or ethnicity of applicants who aren't automatically admitted under the school's "10 Percent" rule. (The top percentage of all Texas high school graduates are automatically qualified for admittance; it's not always 10 percent, but that's that's the name it's given.)
The case was brought by Abigail Fischer a white woman who claimed that, although she wasn't in the top 10 percent of her college class, she was denied admissions because she is white. She has since graduated from Louisiana State University.
Southern Dem Heads, Including Mississippi's, to Bernie Sanders: Stop Mischaracterizing Southern VotersBy Donna Ladd
Today, several southern Democratic Party heads, including Rickey Cole of Mississippi, signed a letter asking Bernie Sanders to stop characterizing southern voters as people who "distort reality":
The letter, posted on Politico, started in part:
We commend you on running a spirited campaign that has energized and mobilized a new generation of voters, but we are concerned about the way you and your campaign have characterized the South.
As you may recall in 2006, the Democratic National Committee chaired by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean took two historic steps towards diversity and inclusion. First, the DNC modified its Presidential Primary process and added South Carolina and Nevada (states with sizable minority populations) to join the historic early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Governor Dean stated at the time that he “strongly believed in the importance of broadening participation in the nomination process to better reflect the rich racial, regional and economic diversity of the Democratic Party.” Second, Governor Dean initiated a 50-state strategy to strengthen the Democratic Party and amplify Democratic voices in all states and not just states traditionally dominated by Democrats.
The greatest asset we have as a party is our diversity—a diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicities, experiences, and backgrounds.
Yet over the course of this Democratic primary, you and your surrogates have sought to minimize Secretary Hillary Clinton’s victories throughout the South as a symptom of a region that, as you put it, “distorts reality.” You argue that the South is “the most conservative part” of America; implying states that traditionally vote Republican in a general election are not worth contesting in a Democratic Primary.
Southern Democrats already have to deal with Republicans refusing to expand Medicaid, deteriorating infrastructure, and the lack of adequate funding for our public schools. We need our national Democratic leaders to invest in our races and causes—to amplify our voices, not diminish them. In contrast, Hillary Clinton has spent her entire career trying to help people all across the South. She saw a region full of families and children of every color, and instead of diminishing them, she worked to build them up. She is committed to a long-term strategy of rebuilding our state Democratic parties, to assist candidates up and down the ballot, and to serve as a voice for the voiceless. She has not dismissed the importance of states that you have won, because she realizes s that to be President of the United States you have to be a champion for all of the states. To be leader of the Party, you have to be with Democrats in all states as well. That includes the ones you won and yes, even the ones you lose.
UPDATED: Mississippi Picnic in Central Park Cancelled Due to HB 1523, Expected ProtestsBy Donna Ladd
Organizers today cancelled the 37th Annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park, saying it would not happen this year due to passage of House Bill 1523. The picnic was planned for Saturday, June 11, Noon to 5:00 pm in Central Park at 5th Avenue and 72nd Street. The theme of the 2016 picnic was to be “Nothing but the Blues,” as a tribute to B. B. King.
The New York Mississippi Society organizes the picnic, which has been a huge promotional and networking opportunity that draws together Mississippi natives living in New York City and tourism and other business officials who travel there for the picnic.
A woman who answered the phone at the number posted on the website promoting the picnic earlier today said that an update would be posted on the website soon.
Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Jeff Rent said today, via email, that the State and MDA were not consulted in advance of the decision, which came from the organizers based in New York. "The New York Mississippi Society has made the decision to cancel the Mississippi Picnic in Central Park. We are disappointed in not only their decision, but also their lack of discussion with Mississippi partners before cancelling the event," Rent wrote.
Two years ago, famed Oxford chef and restaurateur John Currence and Ole Miss students brought a pro-LGBT message to Central Park after Gov. Bryant signed the earlier, but less odious religious-freedom act.
A petition had urged New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others to stop the picnic in Central park after the passage of House Bill 1523.
The website states:
Faster than a New York minute, we can tell you one thing, Mississippi should not be proud, nor does it deserve to celebrate their State in this park if they don't share New York’s values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect.
The official website for the picnic lists their mission as "To preserve the culture and heritage of the state of Mississippi." The "heritage" of Mississippi has no business being on full display in the cathedral of parks in New York City. Mississippi has routinely been on the wrong side of history and once again in 2016, the state passes legislation that puts members of the LGBTQ community at risk. At an event of this nature, Mississippi wants to claim the literary great in native son Tennessee Williams, a gay man, who if alive today could now be legally denied a meal in an Oxford restaurant because the owner didn't approve of his sexual orientation.
The front page of the website promoting the picnic changed dramatically in the last half hour, from the top image here to the bottom one:
UPDATE: The Copiah County Courier has a copy of a press statement from the picnic organizers posted. Here is is verbatim:
Annual New York - Mississippi Picnic Cancelled Event was scheduled for June 11 in Central Park
We, the founders ...
CEO of Corporation Started by pro-HB1523 Rep. Bomgar Comes Out Against BillBy Donna Ladd
Rep. Joel Bomgar started the very successful company that still bears his name, although he no longer owns it. The CEO of Bomgar has now come out against House Bill 1523—a bill that the Republican representative supported. Here is Matt Dircks' full statement, verbatim:
Bomgar Corporation was founded in Mississippi 13 years ago, and we are extremely proud of the unwavering commitment to living Bomgar’s core values from our employees who work in our Ridgeland, Mississippi, office as well as our offices around the globe. That’s why I feel it’s important to state that Mississippi’s ‘religious freedom’ legislation, House Bill 1523, is inconsistent with the values and principles that are at the core of Bomgar’s culture.
At Bomgar, we strongly believe every individual has dignity and worth and the right to be treated equally. As Bomgar’s CEO, I’m personally disappointed in any legislation that does not provide equal treatment and rights for all, regardless of color, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Bomgar embraces diversity, and the principles of equality and integrity are at the heart of everything we seek to accomplish and stand for as a company.
Bomgar opposes discrimination, and we respect, support, and welcome all current and future Bomgar employees and customers.
Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association Creates Campaign in Response to HB1523By amber_helsel
This morning, the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association announced plans to create the Everyone's Welcome Here Campaign in response to HB 1523.
Here is a press release, verbatim, from the association:
The Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association has announced its plans to create the EVERYONE’S WELCOME HERE campaign.
Mike Cashion, the Executive Director of the MHRA states, “When HB 1523 was signed, Mississippi was thrust into the national spotlight. Regardless of its intent, this legislation has created a level of controversy and public perception that affects the image of our state and the hospitality community. And while we may not be able to manage the image and brand of the entire state, we can affect the image of our restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses. When our industry is challenged, we as an organization will take prudent steps to protect and promote the restaurant and hospitality industry"
The "EVERYONE’S WELCOME HERE" Campaign is a voluntary, no cost program for members of the hospitality and tourism industries.
The MHRA will design, print and distribute door decals to restaurant or hospitality related business that would like to convey the message that "EVERYONE’S WELCOME HERE." The MHRA will create a web presence that will list a master directory of participating restaurants and businesses. The Association and its members will use social media to support the campaign and convey a message of inclusivity.
Cashion adds, “Our industry serves a diverse customer base and we want to make sure all customers are appreciated and welcomed. We have a very clear and strong message to convey. Mississippi's restaurant industry is open for everyone's business.”
The official launch date is scheduled for late April.
If you would like to participate in the program or would like more information contact the MHRA office at 601.608.0221 or by email at [email protected]
The Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association is a non-profit association composed of over 1400 food service operators, lodging properties, casinos, suppliers, manufacturers, and other professionals who realize the importance of working together for the good of our industry. Mississippi’s 4300 restaurants contribute significantly to the economy. Over 80,000 people are employed in the industry. Restaurant sales will exceed $3.2 billion this year and contribute over $228 million in State taxes.
Corporate CEOs Call on Bryant, GOP Leaders to Repeal HB 1523By Todd Stauffer
The Human Rights Commission has releases a statement that includes an open letter to Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn, calling on them to repeal HB 1523.
U.S. Rep Bennie Thompson: HB 1523 Backers Paint Mississippi as 'Backwards, Insensitive and Discriminatory'By Donna Ladd
The responses to Gov. Phil Bryant's signing of HB 1523 today are coming fast and furious, but this one by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson really stands out. Here it is, verbatim:
“Last week, the Mississippi Legislature agreed on a version of House Bill No. 1523, the so-called “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” and, today, Governor Phil Bryant – in an act that could have long lasting negative impacts on the state – chose not to resist the forces in this state that paint Mississippi as backwards, insensitive and discriminatory but instead sided with those forces and signed the bill into law. The bill will allow circuit clerks to deny marriage licenses, prevent certain individuals from having access to adoption, stop citizens from having access to medical treatment and will go as far as to regulate clothing choices for kids in school, and generally, provide for government-regulated discrimination.”
“The effect of signing this bill could be far-reaching and gravely damaging to our state. Industries that are considering bringing jobs to our state and talented individuals considering bringing their skills to our state could decide to turn their backs on Mississippi just as the Governor and State Legislature have turned their backs on our own citizens and neighbors. Much needed federal funding for things like transportation, infrastructure, and agriculture might be jeopardized now that this ill-advised and, indeed, discriminatory bill has been signed into law in Mississippi.”
“We have seen these types of ‘religious freedom’ bills in other states and we have seen the negative impact that they have had on industry and tourism in those states. I am deeply concerned that the same negative economic impacts will now befall Mississippi. For example, the NCAA has already placed the state of Mississippi under a postseason ban because the state still flies a flag bearing the emblem of the confederacy. Now, the state has upped the ante and adopted a bill that has the potential of legalizing discrimination. Who knows what penalties and consequences this law will bring from the NCAA and any of a number of other governing bodies with interests in the state?”
“Today, by signing this discriminatory bill, Governor Phil Bryant turned the clock back to a time when discrimination was codified through Jim Crow laws and poll taxes instead of looking forward to a more inclusive and tolerant future. This is no religious freedom bill but rather a bill that gives freedom to those who discriminate.”
See jfp.ms/lgbt for ongoing coverage of HB 1523 and the fight for LGBT rights in Mississippi.
Mississippi Manufacturers Association to Bryant: Veto the Anti-LGBT BillBy Todd Stauffer
The Human Rights Campaign this evening announced in a release that the Mississippi Manufacturers Association—a frequent contributor to conservative candidates and supporter of "pro-business" legislation in Mississippi—is calling on Governor Phil Bryant to veto HB 1523, which has passed both houses and awaits the Governor's response.
Will New Anti-LGBT Laws in Mississippi, North Carolina Block Federal Funds?By Donna Ladd
The New York Times is reporting that new religious "conscience" law allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people, and perhaps others, could block federal funding for the states, such as Mississippi, that are considering such laws:
The Obama administration is considering whether North Carolina’s new law on gay and transgender rights makes the state ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing, officials said Friday.
Cutting off any federal money — or even simply threatening to do so — would put major new pressure on North Carolina to repeal the law, which eliminated local protections for gay and transgender people and restricted which bathrooms transgender people can use. A loss of federal money could send the state into a budget crisis and jeopardize services that are central to daily life.
The Times reported that several federal agencies are reviewing the funds their agencies provide to the states that are adopting discriminatory laws:
Anthony Foxx, the secretary of transportation, first raised the prospect of a review of federal funding in public remarks on Tuesday in North Carolina. The Department of Transportation provides roughly $1 billion a year to North Carolina. The New York Times then asked other federal agencies whether they were conducting similar reviews.
A Department of Education spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, said on Friday that her agency was also reviewing the North Carolina law “to determine any potential impact on the state’s federal education funding.” She added, “We will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.”
The agency said it provided $4.3 billion to North Carolina last year for kindergarten through 12th grade as well as colleges.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was doing a similar evaluation. “We’re reviewing the effects of the law on HUD funding allocated for North Carolina,” said Cameron French, a department spokesman.
The backers of Mississippi's HB 1523 vigorously claim that the bill isn't discrimination, but a protection of religious "conscience," even as the language of the bill belies that claim. In Mississippi, HB 1523 could go to Gov. Bryant as early as Monday for signature.
Read full coverage of the long fight for LGBT rights at jfp.ms/lgbt.
Brilliant SNL, Daily Show Videos Respond to Trump, Racist Supporters—As We All MustBy Donna Ladd
This weekend, I've seen a lot of excuses for Donald Trump's bigotry and xenophobia from his supporters, who don't seem to have many reasons for supporting him other than they are sick and tired of the way things are now. One gentleman showed up on my Facebook page to defend supporting Trump, saying it's not about bigotry and calling me "intolerant toward those holding different opinions" because I was willing to call out Trump's blatant bigotry.
I looked at his Facebook page, and he had reposted a letter to the RNC supposedly explaining why Trump supporters are fed up. The gist of it was about getting rid of "rabid, messy, mean raccoons":
You’ve been on vacation for two weeks, you come home, and your basement is infested with raccoons. Hundreds of rabid, messy, mean raccoons have overtaken your basement. You want them gone immediately…You call the city and four different exterminators, but nobody could handle the job. There is this one guy however, who guarantees you he will get rid of them, so you hire him. You don’t care if the guy smells, you don’t care if the guy swears, you don’t care how many times he’s been married, you don’t care if he was friends with liberals, you don’t care if he has plumber’s crack…you simply want those raccoons gone! You want your problem fixed! He’s the guy. He’s the best. Period. Here’s why we want Trump: Yes he’s a bit of an ass, yes he’s an egomaniac, but we don’t care. The country is a mess because politicians have become too self-serving. The Republican Party is two-faced & gutless. Illegal aliens have been allowed to invade our nation. We want it all fixed! We don’t care that Trump is crude, we don’t care that he insults people, we don’t care that he had been friendly with Hillary, we don’t care that he has changed positions, we don’t care that he’s been married three times, we don’t care that he fights with Megan Kelly and Rosie O’Donnell, we don’t care that he doesn’t know the name of some Muslim terrorist.
When I asked the gentleman on my Facebook page (whom I don't know) who he thought the "raccoons" are, he said he "assumed" that the piece he was reposting meant "illegal immigrants"—perhaps not knowing that he is speaking of human beings that Trump has said the most horrible things about, especially the darkish ones south of the U.S. border. He also added: "Not agreeing on issues or politicians or political parties is one thing but when either side turns to vile hate towards others that don't agree with them then that is bigotry."
I'm seeing this argument all the time now from Trump supporters: It is just as "racist" — ??? — to point out someone's bigotry as it is to be the bigot, at least according to their twisted rationalization. In addition to being incredibly absurd logic, this is a straight-up defense of ...
Updated: Visual Guide to Super Tuesday & ResultsBy Todd Stauffer
Super Tuesday is here, with 865 pledged delegates up for grabs for the Democratic candidates and 595 available to the Republican candidates. Here's a visual guide to the states in play and the delegate counts.
Here's the Presidential Primary tracker, updated as results come in:
Clinton Leads Going into S.C., Sanders Leads Among Youngest VotersBy toddstauffer
Rolling into the South Carolina primary this weekend, here's a visual look at some of the polling data.
While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is favored by a significant margin (59-40), it is interesting to see the older candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, with stronger support among the youngest voters.
Sanders polls at 63% among 18-29 voters and 55% of 30-44 voters, according to the YouGov/CBS News poll.
Clinton swings back with 69% of the over-45 vote among Democratic primary votes.
Mississippi Solar Alerts Fans of Solar Power (and Energy Oversight) to Legislative "Power Grab"By toddstauffer
Mississippi Solar LLC, a solar panel installation company, sent an "urgent alert" today to media and followers regarding House Bill 1139 and Senate Bill 2089 in the Mississippi legislature, which they say would gut the power of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, reverse recent moves toward net metering and widely deregulate the companies that offer electric power in Mississippi.
In one section of the House bill, the authority of the PSC to oversee rates set by these corporations (which have a monopoly granted by the states) appears to be completely overturned, as well as the ability of the PSC to regulate consumer benefits such as net metering and smart-grid investment:
A corporation * shall have the power to fix, adjust, charge, collect and pay reasonable rates for electric energy and other facilities, supplies, equipment, products, commodities, goods and services furnished by, offered by or furnished to the corporation. All rates of a corporation formed or operating under the provisions of this article shall be established by the corporation's board and shall not be regulated by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
The commission also shall not regulate nor attempt to regulate corporations formed or operating under this article with respect to the subject matters of standards established by the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, including, but not limited to, those established at 16 USC Section 2621(d), and including, but not limited to, the following matters: cost of service; declining block, time-of-day, seasonal, and interruptible rates; load management techniques; integrated resource planning; conservation and demand management; energy efficiency; wholesale power purchases; net metering; fuel sources; fossil fuel generation efficiency; time-based metering and communications; interconnection for distributed generation; and smart grid investments and information.
The House bill was introduced by Republican Charles "Jim" Beckett, chair of the Public Utilities committee, whose 2015 campaign filings show nearly all of his campaign contributions were from corporations or PACs, many of which are subject to oversight from the PSC.
Rep. Beckett accepted $2000 from Entergy's PAC (and another $1000 in 2014), $1000 from Mississippi Power's PAC, $500 from the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi's PAC (pre-election in August); he also accepted money from Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, Cable PAC MCTA, Verizon and Comcast Corp., AT&T PAC, Chevron, North American Coal PAC, Atmos Energy Corp PAC and others.
Beckett began the year with $73,447 in the bank (including repaying a $10,000 loan on the same day he received it February of 2015, according to campaign filings) and ended it with $75,518, thanks in part to a post-victory $2500 donation from Electric Power Associations of Mississippi in December.
Seems they're already big fans.
[Note: The above was corrected; I originally thought the $10,000 repaid in February was loaned in the previous year. If you know of some clever political accounting reason to loan yourself money the same day you repay it, clue me in.]
Here's the text of Mississippi Solar LLC's ...