Mississippi Republican Party Newsletter for April 17

Dear fellow Republican,

Tonight, a special guest will be in Mississippi as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivers the keynote address at the annual spring scholarship dinner at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Gov. Bryant Launches New Economic Development Advisory Council
Press release from Gov. Phil Bryant

While addressing business leaders at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council, Gov. Phil Bryant today announced the creation of a new group designed to spark job growth and economic expansion.

Bryant named more than 100 businessmen and businesswomen to his “Mississippi Works” committee as part of his long-term economic development initiatives.

Mississippi Development Authority Director Jim Barksdale and businessman Bill Lampton will spearhead the group’s efforts.

“As I said in my inaugural address, my first job is to make sure every Mississippian has a job,” Gov. Bryant said. “From our policy summit in December to Blueprint Mississippi, many great ideas have been put forward to help advance the economic success of our state. I have taken great care in selecting these exceptional leaders who come from across all regions of Mississippi and who reflect the great diversity of industry within our state.”

Mississippi Works is a privately funded, statewide coalition of business leaders who are striving to build and sustain an economic development vision for Mississippi.

The group will collaborate through a series of business roundtables and will develop strategies to expand economic opportunities and workforce development for Mississippi, bring new investments to each region of the state and create new jobs.

Gov. Bryant added: “Together, the members of the Mississippi Works committee will provide insight into the varying economic challenges of communities and will develop comprehensive and resourceful plans to spur development throughout the state.”

Mississippi Works has three primary objectives:

  • Help craft a comprehensive strategy to expand economic opportunities in Mississippi
  • Help bring new investments to new regions of our state and continue to grow existing businesses to expand to new markets
  • Allow for a forum for Mississippi Business Leaders to learn about all the great work going on throughout our state, giving them tools they can use in spreading Mississippi’s good story around our nation and world

“Mississippi Works looks to the businessmen and businesswomen who have a strong track record of generating private sector jobs across the state for recommendations on how Mississippi can most effectively pursue growth opportunities that will create high-paying jobs for Mississippians,” Co-Chair Jim Barksdale said. “It is critical we capitalize on the assets and the expertise we have to ensure our state is well-positioned for long-term economic development prospects, and Mississippi Works will do just that.”

Mississippi Works, Executive Committee 2012-2013

  1. Jim Barksdale, director, Mississippi Development Authority
  2. Carl Chaney, CEO, Hancock Bank
  3. Ed Day, CEO, Mississippi Power
  4. Tommy Dulaney, CEO, Structural Steel Services Inc.
  5. Haley Fisackerly, CEO, Entergy Mississippi
  6. Mayo Flynt, president, AT&T Mississippi
  7. Warren Hood Jr., CEO, Hood Companies Inc.
  8. Bill Lampton, president, Asphalt Div. Ergon Inc.
  9. Hu Meena, CEO, C-Spire Wireless
  10. former Ambassador to Portugal John Palmer, CEO, GulfSouth Capital
  11. Aubrey Patterson, CEO, BancorpSouth
  12. Mary Peavey, president, Peavey Electronics Inc.
  13. Carol Pigott, CEO, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi
  14. Joe F. Sanderson Jr., CEO, Sanderson Farms
  15. Leland Speed, chairman, Eastgroup Properties
  16. Jerry St. Pe, CEO, St. Pe Enterprises
  17. William G. Yates Jr., CEO, Yates Companies
  18. Jerry Host, CEO, Trustmark
  19. David Landrum, senior national sales director, Primerica

For more information about “Mississippi Works” please go to

Senate Approves Legislation Giving Parents Choice In Students’ Education
Press release from Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

The Mississippi State Senate today approved much-needed education reform by passing legislation to allow public charter schools to operate in the state, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves announced.

The Senate amended House Bill 1152 to allow public charter schools to open in Mississippi with approval from a newly created independent commission. The bill, which passed 31-19, heads to the Mississippi House.

Public charter schools will be funded with existing dollars from the federal, state and local levels. The funds within the current Mississippi Adequate Education Program will follow a student to their school of choice.

“It’s time to change the status quo and give parents a choice in their children’s education,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “For far too long, we have had students trapped in failing districts with no options for a better education. This legislation can change that.”

Public charter schools could be allowed in any district in the state. However, the local school boards of districts rated as “star” or “high performing” by the state Department of Education also would have to give a stamp of approval to any charter school seeking to open within those top districts. The bill is similar to a plan approved by the Senate in February. However, this version allows school boards of districts rated as “successful” also to approve charter schools over the next four academic years.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under a contract that allows administrative freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of results-driven accountability. Students attending public charter schools must comply with provisions of the Mississippi compulsory school attendance law, meet health and safety standards, and adhere to state testing model. This legislation does not require charter schools; it simply gives a community the option to support a public charter school to enter into their district.

The newly created commission will be comprised of appointees from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Superintendent of Education. The commission will consider applications from charter school providers with a proven track record of success.

See also: Gov. Bryant commends Senate for passage of public charter schools bill

News & Notes From The Capitol

** Yesterday, Gov. Bryant signed HB 1390 into law. This will require anyone performing abortions in an abortion facility to be an obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at a local hospital, and could effectively end abortion in Mississippi.You can read a statement from Gov. Bryant after signing the bill here.

** Multiple bills were revived in the legislature last week after dying in the opposite chamber. This includes charter school legislation, HB 1152, which again passed the Senate and SB 2771, which would lead to criminal prosecutions of anyone who performs an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, in the House.

** Legislation to implement voter identification, HB 921, passed the Senate last week after previously clearing the House. In 2011, more than 62 percent of voters in Mississippi approved a Constitutional amendment enacting voter ID. The Mississippi Republican Party praised that vote, and provided background on the legislation, here.

** The House passed SB 2398, the Mississippi Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act, last week. It cleared the Senate earlier in the session. Gov. Bryant praised passage of the legislation in this press release.

** HB 211, the Attorney General Sunshine Act, has now passed both the House and Senate.

** The deadline to concur or not to concur on amendments from the other House for general bills and constitutional amendments is April 26.

In Case You Missed It

Gov. Bryant signs abortion bill

WLBT 4/17/2012– Mississippi’s governor makes good on a campaign promise by signing legislation to put more restrictions on doctors working at the state’s only abortion clinic.

House Speaker Philip Gunn reports progress

Commercial Appeal 4/14/2012– New Republican leaders are successfully pushing their conservative agenda through the Mississippi Legislature, most notably making progress in taking a hard line on child sexual abuse and limiting state spending, House Speaker Philip Gunn said Friday after legislators adjourned for a three-day weekend.

Wicker addresses debt, defecit and defense

Daily Journal 4/14/2012– Sen. Roger Wicker says only bipartisan effort will keep Social Security viable, the “Buffett Rule” is a political ploy and the United States must stand with Israel against the specter of a nuclear Iran.

Bryant announces a new research center at Stennis

USA Today 4/11/2012– The National Oceans and Applications Research Center, or NOARC, will be located at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

Palazzo: Country in a ‘debt crisis’

Hattiesburg American 4/5/2012– Palazzo, a first-term Republican who won his primary last month, focused a 25-minute presentation on what he called “the No. 1 threat to national security, the national debt.

Updates From The Congressional Delegation

Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker today reported that they are encouraging U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to challenge new duties proposed by Mexico on imported U.S. poultry.

Wicker encouraged by Senate efforts to spur job creation

Recent bipartisan accomplishments are an encouraging sign that the Senate can work to help job creators. Of course, news headlines are quick to focus on partisan gridlock, and the President has made railing against the legislative branch a central theme in his reelection campaign. But real solutions are attainable – in spite of the disagreements that inevitably play a part in any functioning democracy.

Harper updates Mississippi offices, hours

Rep. Gregg Harper today released a revised monthly schedule for his Mississippi congressional offices in an effort to maintain the highest standard of service for the Mississippians the lawmaker represents in Congress.

Nunnelee’s Newsletter: Tax Day

Today is tax day, the deadline for filing your income tax returns with the IRS. It is a good time to revisit the question: how much are we taxing and spending, and where should we go from here?

Rep. Palazzo: The “Buffet Rule”

This week the President, our Campaigner in Chief, is urging Congress to pass a tax hike known as the “Bufett Rule” in efforts to start closing our massive deficits in a fair, balanced, and sensible way. In fact, if enacted, it would only reduce our deficit by less than one-half of 1%.

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