Ballot shortages in Mississippi created a problem for democracy on the day of a governor's election
People in Mississippi’s largest county are demanding answers about why some polling places ran out of ballots and voters had to wait for them to be replenished on the day the state was deciding its most competitive governor’s race in a generation.
Mississippi sees spike in child care enrollment after abortion ban and child support policy change
Mississippi's human services director says the state has seen a consistent increase in the number of families accepting public assistance for child care since lawmakers banned abortion in almost all circumstances.
Mississippi governor’s brother asked auditor to praise Brett Favre during welfare scandal
As Brett Favre became ensnared in media attention for his connection to Mississippi’s sprawling welfare scandal, Gov. Tate Reeves’ brother suggested the state official investigating the case praise the retired NFL quarterback.
No sign of Mississippi governor fulfilling pledge on campaign funds tied to welfare case
Financial documents show no sign that Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has fulfilled his pledge to give away campaign donations from people charged with misspending welfare money in the state’s largest public corruption case.
NAACP says Jackson's water problems are civil rights issue
The NAACP on Tuesday accused Mississippi of discriminating against Black residents by denying badly needed federal funds for drinking water infrastructure in Jackson and instead diverting money to largely-white communities that needed it less.
A first: US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post
Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on March 24, confirmed Levine to be assistant secretary of health. She becomes the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP, File)Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate has confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. She won confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate.
Mississippi to increase lowest welfare payments in the US
– Mississippi will increase the lowest monthly welfare payments in the nation under a bill signed into law Wednesday by the state's Republican governor. The payments in Mississippi have been $146 for a family of two, $170 for a family of three and $194 for a family of four. AdEven with the increase, the Mississippi welfare payments will still be only a fraction of the federal poverty level, according to the liberal-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Brandon Jones, a Democratic former Mississippi House member and current policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund in Mississippi, called the increase long overdue. “This $90 increase gets Mississippi off the bottom and is desperately needed by struggling families throughout the state."
A first: US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post
Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on March 24, confirmed Levine to be assistant secretary of health. She becomes the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP, File)Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. She won confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate.
Medicaid incentive so far not enough to sway holdout states
Henry McMaster remains firmly opposed to the Medicaid expansion. The bump in federal funding would last two years for the states that join the Medicaid expansion. Laura Kelley this year called for legalizing medical use of marijuana and using the tax revenue to pay for expanding Medicaid. "It’s a nonstarter, and we will continue to oppose the liberal wish list item of Medicaid expansion,” he said. Kay Ivey left open the possibility of expanding Medicaid at some point in the future, but there are no plans to do so.
Mississippi gov signs bill limiting transgender athletes
Tate Reeves signs the first state bill in the U.S. this year to ban transgender athletes from competing on female sports teams, as supporting lawmakers gather behind him, Thursday, March 11, 2021, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. Tate Reeves signed a bill Thursday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. “This law is a solution in search of a problem, and legislators in Mississippi have not provided any examples of Mississippi transgender athletes gaming the system for a competitive advantage because none exist,” David said. In a statement Thursday, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Holcomb praised the Mississippi law. AdRepublican legislators who pushed the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities.
Workers worry about safety, stress as states ease mask rules
Tate Reeves decided to eliminate mask requirements, limits on seating in restaurants and most other binding restrictions. AdAlabama’s state health officer on Friday advised residents to keep following standard infection-prevention recommendations even though the governor is letting the state’s mask mandate expire next month. AdThe National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association in the U.S., issued a statement Wednesday encouraging shoppers to wear masks. McDonald’s cook Cornejo, 43, said the end of Texas’ mask mandate next week alarms her because several of her co-workers already were lax about keeping their faces covered. Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said individuals who wear masks still risk infection from unmasked shoppers and diners.
The Latest: Ontario wants vaccine shot in adults by June 20
Eric Holcomb received his COVID-19 vaccine shot Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the opening of the state’s first mass vaccination clinic. Holcomb wore a face mask in the front passenger seat of an SUV while getting the shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the drive-through clinic. Ad___TORONTO — Canada is getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19, approving the Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose. Canada has pre-purchased 10 million Johnson & Johnson doses, with options to buy another 28 million. The U.S. approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month.
Mississippi gov will sign bill limiting transgender athletes
– Mississippi is on track to become the first state this year to enact a law banning transgender athletes from competing on girls or women's sports teams. Tate Reeves said Thursday that he will sign a bill that the Republican-controlled Mississippi Legislature has passed. AdRepublican legislators who pushed the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities. A Mississippi mother with a transgender daughter spoke Thursday during the Human Rights Campaign news conference. AdSupporters of bills such as the one in Mississippi argue that transgender girls, because they were born male, are naturally stronger, faster and bigger than those born female.
Mississippi close to putting limits on transgender athletes
– The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' or women's sports teams in the state's schools and universities. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year. The House voted 81-28 to pass Senate Bill 2536. The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the bill 34-9 on Feb. 11, with five senators not voting and four voting “present." During the Senate debate, nobody asked whether any transgender athletes are competing in Mississippi.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities," Pennsylvania Gov. The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered all states to make teachers, school staff, bus drivers and child care workers eligible for shots. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. In Texas, where teachers have been battling to gain access to shots, state officials on Wednesday ordered vaccine providers to begin administering shots to school workers. “The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” Michigan Gov.
Water crisis continues in Mississippi, weeks after cold snap
More than two weeks have passed since the cold wave shut down the main power grid in Texas, leaving millions in freezing homes, causing about 50 deaths and disabling thousands of public water systems serving those millions. AdFour public water systems in Texas remained out of commission Wednesday, affecting 456 customers, and 225 systems still have 135,299 customers boiling their tap water, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Also, 208 of the state’s 254 counties are still reporting public water system issues. Jackson's water system has not been able to provide a sustainable flow of water throughout the city since the mid-February storms, city officials say. She said Jackson’s water system “needs to be fixed, not patched.”“That’s the issue now — poor maintenance for far too long," Hanlin said.
The Latest: SKorean economy shrinks for 1st time in 22 years
It marked the first annual contraction for the country’s economy since 1998, when it was in the midst of a crippling financial crisis. In comparison, the federal government previously said 38% of people would receive two doses by the end of June. Still, that’s 700,000 doses on hand, when the state is getting 200,000 doses this week, rising to 223,000 next week. AdBharat Biotech has already signed an agreement with Brazil to supply 20 million doses of the vaccine by September. ___COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s mask mandate will continue until a “critical mass” has been reached of people who have received the coronavirus vaccine, a spokesperson for Ohio Gov.
Texas and other states ease COVID-19 rules despite warnings
Tasha Arevalo, right, laughs with Joseph Butler while eating at Mo's Irish Pub, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Houston. Greg Abbott announced that he is lifting business capacity limits and the state's mask mandate starting next week. The Lone Star State will also do away with limits on the number of diners who can be served indoors, said Republican Gov. She added: “We are not where we need to be yet, but we’re getting there, San Francisco.”Mississippi Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s virus policies, and many people are ignoring mask requirements and other measures, said group leader Erik Kiilunen.
The Latest: Mexico sees near-record daily coronavirus deaths
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported a near-record 1,707 confirmed coronavirus deaths Wednesday, as the country runs out of vaccines. Ad___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:Spain surpasses 60,000 confirmed virus deaths. British officials say Oxford study backs up their decision to delay second vaccine shot for up to 12 weeks. Ad___OKLAHOMA CITY -- About 11,500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be shipped to pharmacies across Oklahoma next week, state health officials said. ___MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s government says it has approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.
The Latest: Protesters temporarily block LA vaccination site
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, Drivers wait in line at a mega COVID-19 vaccination site set up in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Some of them carried signs decrying the COVID-19 vaccine and shouting for people not to get the shots. California surpasses 40,000 coronavirus deaths. ___BALTIMORE — Baltimore public health officials are canceling some COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for next week after overbooking hundreds of first-dose appointments. ___ROME — The Italian Medicines Agency known has approved the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for persons older than 18.
Deep South falls behind in coronavirus vaccine drive
The coronavirus vaccines have been rolled out unevenly across the U.S., but some states in the Deep South have had particularly dismal inoculation rates. In Georgia, the state’s rural health system has been decimated in recent years, with nine hospital closures since 2008, including two last year. Local health departments have become the primary vaccine providers in some locations, as officials work to add sites where doses can be administered. Officials in all four states also said some health care workers — among the first groups eligible for a vaccine — are choosing not to get inoculated. Mississippi officials said Thursday that they will open an additional drive-thru site for vaccinations soon in the state's largest county.
The Latest: California counties ask for more virus vaccine
California counties counties want more coronavirus vaccine from the governor. ___AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has distributed more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. State health officials say Texas had more than 14,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals and its death toll has passed 30,000. ___COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will now allow medical students, retired nurses and other qualified professionals to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. ___MADRID — Spain reported 35,878 confirmed coronavirus cases and 201 new deaths from the coronavirus.
Mississippi governor signs law for flag without rebel emblem
Members of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Honor Guard prepare to raise the new Mississippi State flag at the Capitol in Jackson, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Tate Reeves signed a law that created the new state flag with magnolia at the center, six months after the state retired the last state flag in the U.S. that included the Confederate battle emblem. The law retiring the old flag also specified that the commission's proposed new flag would go on the Nov. 3 ballot for a yes-or-no vote. The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have waved the Confederate battle flag for decades. A few dozen people demonstrated on the south steps of the Mississippi Capitol in support of reviving the old flag.