Apil 21: “Capitol Gang” reflects and reports re 2014 Legislative Session

The next meeting of the Forum will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014 when Emily Wagster Petus of the Associated Press, Bobby Harrison of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and Geoff Pender of The Clarion-Ledger, aka The Capitol Gang, take a look back at the 2014 session of the Mississippi Legislature through the eyes of the journalist.

The panel discussion format will be used; Phil Hardwick will serve as moderator. The audience will also be invited to submit questions. No doubt the gang will be asked questions about upcoming political races and state politics, in general. It promises to be an enlightening event.

TCL Pender Column 0413.IMG

Geoff Pender

Emily Wagster Pettus

12121308 Bobby Harrison

Bobby Harrison

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Notes from April 7 Forum with Sen. David Blount and Rep. Andy Gipson

Below are links to media coverage of the Monday, April 7, 2014 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum featuring Democrat Senator David Bount and Republican Representative Andy Gipson.

(NE MS DAILY JOURNAL) State Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, and Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, agreed Monday on what many say were the two biggest issues of the just completed legislative session – changes to the criminal justice system and a teacher pay raise – but differed sharply on Medicaid expansion. Blount, House Public Property Committee chairman, and Gibson, House Judiciary B chairman, provided a recap to the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute/Capitol press corps luncheon of the just completed legislative session. Blount questioned the wisdom of refusing billions in federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level or about $15,000 per year. Gipson again reiterated, “Obamacare has fallen apart at the seams” and said the state is wise not to participate. MORE… 

(BRIAN PERRY column in NESHOBA DEMOCRAT) The Stennis Institute & Capitol Press Corps luncheon Monday featured state Sen. David Blount (D-Jackson) and state Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) and their review and recap of the just completed legislative session. They talked criminal justice reform, Medicaid expansion, teacher pay raises and other issues.  MORE…

(CLARION-LEDGER) Two key lawmakers with different political affiliations agreed Monday that the sweeping corrections and criminal justice reform bill and a teacher pay raise were the two main highlights of the 2014 Legislature. But the Democrat and Republican had vastly different views on the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed. MORE...

(JACKSON FREE PRESS) Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said Monday that the 20 weeks will be determined and regulated “as in accordance with accepted medical practice in the community.” … “That means a sonogram, an ultrasound, and that’s actually used by the Department of Health in other contexts as well,” he told the Jackson Free Press at the Stennis-Capitol Press Forum. “So I think that was an issue that was already addressed in the bill and will be the best way for anyone to know the gestational age of the child.” MORE…

(MS PUBLIC BROADCASTING) Mississippi lawmakers have mixed emotions about the 2014 legislative session. MPB’s Paul Boger reports. MORE…


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Senator Bount and Representative Gipson to review legislative session at April 7 Forum

Senator David Blount,  Chairman of the Senate Public Property Committee, and Representative Andy Gipson, Chairman of House Judiciary B, return to the Stennis-Capitol Press Forum to review and comment on the 2014 Session of  the Mississippi Legislature, which is scheduled to adjourn sine die on April 6. The two members appeared together at the Forum following the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session and presented an informative inside look at the lawmaking activities under the Capitol dome.

Advance registration is required by noon, Friday, April 4, 2014. Click on the “Register for Upcoming Forum” tab above for complete registration information and cost to attend.  The current list of registrants can also be found at an above tab.  We look forward to seeing you at the Stennis-Capitol Press Forum on Monday, April 7, 2014 at noon at The Capital Club, 125 South Congress Street, 19th floor, Jackson, Mississippi.

David Blount

Sen. David Bount

Andy Gipson

Rep. Andy Gipson

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Coverage of March 3 Forum with Senator Kenneth Wayne Jones

Jones, Kenneth Wayne(AP)  Medicaid expansion is one of the biggest issues Mississippi lawmakers are failing to address this year, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus said Monday.

Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, said he doesn’t expect a last-minute push to add more people to the government health insurance program.

With just more than a month left in the session, Jones said debating Medicaid expansion would take too long.

“You open up that can, it’s going to take a long time before you close it again,” he said.

He spoke at a forum sponsored by the Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government and the Capitol press corps.

.. Link to article…

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Notes from Feb 3 Forum with Rep. Bobby Moak

Below is a sample of media reports from the Monday, February 3, 2014 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum with Representative Bobby Moak.


(Clarion-Ledger) - The ranking Democrat in the state House, Rep. Bobby Moak, said today that approving a teacher pay raise is a huge issue. “The Speaker of the House came out and said he was for an across-the-board pay raise,” Moak said in a speech to the Stennis-Capitol Press Corps luncheon in Jackson. MORE…  (includes video)

(MPB) - Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature continue their push to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act. MPB’s Lawayne Childrey reports an estimated 162 thousand uninsured Mississippians could benefit from the expansion. During the Stennis Press Luncheon in Jackson yesterday, House Minority Leader, Bobby Moak, a democrat from Bogue Chitto focused on some of the benefits of accepting federal dollars to expand the state’s Medicaid program. MORE … 

(Daily Journal) – … Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, who is the House minority leader, pointed out Democrats tried to pass a $5,000 across-the-board raise for teachers last year. Speaking at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute/Capitol press corps luncheon Monday, Moak indicated that Democrats might offer their own proposal on the House floor. MORE … 

(NEWMS.) House Minority Leader Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said democrats favor an across the board pay raise for educators.  Teachers haven’t had a raise in seven years, he pointed out during a Monday forum in Jackson that was sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government and journalists who work at the Capital. “I think it is something that should be fought throughout the legislative session unless it is dealt with quickly, but I don’t think that will happen.”  Getting that raise, he said will likely come down to the numbers. “Democrats are now at $5,000, and the republicans are where?” –  MORE … 

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House Speaker Philip Gunn to address January 13, 2014 Forum

Philip Gunn Philip Gunn began serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2004. Since that time Philip has been a leader amongst the conservatives not only in the House of Representatives, but in the entire state. Philip has served on the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party and has served as Chairman of the Republican House Conference since it was formed in 2006. He was instrumental in organizing the Republicans in the House of Representatives for the first time in modern history.

He earned a B.B.A. Baylor University and a J.D. from University of Mississippi Law School, where he was elected Student Body President.

Gunn is an attorney at Wells, Marble, Hurst PLLC in Ridgeland, Mississippi where he practices primarily in insurance defense and civil litigation. In 2010, Philip was named “One of Mississippi’s Top 50 Leading Attorneys” in Mississippi Business Journal’s Leadership in Law Class of 2010

He is actively involved in his community. Before being elected to the House of Representatives, he served on the Clinton Public School Board. He currently serves as an Elder at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, is a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and is a Trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Notes from Jan 6, 2014 Forum with Lt Gov Tate Reeves

The following is a sample of media stories regarding Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves appearance at the January 6, 2014 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum:

Clarion-Ledger - Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will not support raising Mississippi’s gas tax but will support a bond bill, on one condition.“It has to be less than $200 million,” he said.nReeves was the speaker during Monday’s Stennis Capitol Press Corps luncheon in Jackson. Shortly after he said(More) 

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says the state Senate will make a renewed effort during the 2014 session to pass legislation that could reduce office space for some state agencies. During the 2013 session, the Senate passed legislation to develop a centralized policy for the use of state office space, but the proposal died in the House. The first-term lieutenant governor spoke Monday at the Mississippi State University/Capitol press corps luncheon on the eve of the opening of the 2014 legislative session, which convenes at noon today.He said research has revealed that state agencies allocate much more space per employee than do businesses. (More)

Mississippi Public Broadcasting - The 2014 legislative session officially begins at noon today at the capitol in Jackson. MPB’s Jeffrey Hess has a preview of what could be some of the front burner issues facing lawmakers. Crafting the roughly 5-billion dollar state budget is always a high priority item for state lawmakers. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says lawmakers are not only going to look at how much agencies are spending but HOW they are spending it.  (More) 

AP -Mississippi lawmakers will start 2014′s work at noon Tuesday. Even as revenues continue to rise, some leaders are emphasizing holding down new spending and making sure money is spent well. Those were points of emphasis Monday in a speech by Lt. Gov Tate Reeves. (More)

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