Judge Denies JPS’ Request to Stop Takeover


As the State Board of Education met to vote on whether or not Jackson Public Schools was in a state of “extreme emergency,” the district took legal matters into their own hands by asking a Hinds County Circuit judge for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the state from taking over their school district last month. On Monday, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge William Gowan denied the district’s request for a restraining order and injunction, saying that both the Commission on School Accreditation and the State Board of Education had followed state law by taking all of the proper steps to declare a district to be in an “extreme emergency.” JPS took issue with the Commission not following internal rules that allow a district 30 days to respond to an audit report, but Judge Gowan writes that since those internal rules are not statutory law, they are “subject to exceptions in certain necessary situations.” Gowan also notes that all state law allows school boards of any school district “aggrieved by any final rule, regulation or order of the State Board of Education…shall have the right to appeal therefrom to the chancery court.” In other words, if JPS wanted to dispute an order of the State Board, they should file a suit in chancery court, not circuit court. Continue Reading

Gov. Bryant Taps Top Senate Lawmaker for Court of Appeals

Gov. Phil Bryant tapped Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, to fill an open spot on the Mississippi Court of Appeals this week, leaving a hole in the state Senate’s leadership. Tindell chaired the Judiciary A Committee, which approved of and pushed out the “Blue Lives Matter” and anti-sanctuary city legislation in the 2017 session. Tindell also let House Bill 1523, House Speaker Philip Gunn’s “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination” bill, out of his committee in 2016. HB 1523 is still in federal court, challenged by Bryant. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will have to find a replacement for Tindell to chair the Judiciary A Committee, and Bryant will have to set a special election to replace Tindell soon. Continue Reading

Poll: Mississippians Less Optimistic about State’s Future, Support More Ed Funding

A new poll released by Millsaps College and Chism Strategies shows that Mississippians are less optimistic about the future of the state and the direction Mississippi is headed. Forty percent of the over 500 Mississippians polled believe the state is on the wrong track, while a little more than 36 percent believe Mississippi is headed in the right direction. The poll also asked Mississippians about support for public education, and the majority of Mississippians believe funding for the state’s public schools is too low. Political party had little affect on the response for public education funding, with 45 percent of Republicans polled agreeing that funding for public schools is too low. Mississippians also gave approval ratings of three top lawmakers in the state: Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Attorney General Jim Hood. Continue Reading

Royal Commonwealth Society Comes to Mississippi: Did Bryant’s Loyalty Pays Off?

A year ago, Nigel Farage, a well-known Brexit-believer and former leader of the UK Independence Party in the United Kingdom, graced the stage for then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally in Jackson, Miss. Farage shared the stage with Trump, encouraging Mississippians to beat back the “Establishment” in the 2016 presidential election. Gov. Phil Bryant also graced that stage in August 2016, and after Trump won the election, Bryant found himself in good company with the Brexit boys again. Bryant reportedly invited Farage to the inauguration in D.C., where he introduced him to a room full of partygoers:

“We got the bad boys of Brexit here!” hollers Phil,” Guardian writer Marina Hyde wrote. Bryant’s connection to the United Kingdom did not stop in D.C. apparently, and on Sept. Continue Reading

Gov. Bryant Appoints New Judge to Mississippi Supreme Court

Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge David M. Ishee to the Mississippi Supreme Court, after he tapped Justice Jess Dickinson to lead the Division of Child Protection Services, vacating his seat on the high court. Ishee served for 13 years on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. “The Mississippi Court of Appeals is a hard working court that handles a high volume of cases. We look forward to Judge Ishee joining the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said in a statement.  

Ishee will serve in Dickinson’s spot on the court; Dickinson was only halfway through his second eight-year term on the state’s high court when Bryant pulled him to be CPS commissioner. Continue Reading

How to Help Those Affected By Hurricane Harvey

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency released a comprehensive guide explaining how Mississippians can help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Below is a press release from the agency, explaining how to donate, volunteer and help:

To donate to relief efforts:
The most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations. Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster. Continue Reading

Part of Ridgewood Road Closed Until Saturday Due to Sewer Maintenance

The City of Jackson issued a press release today about road closures due to sewer maintenance this week:

Ridgewood Road northbound from Douglass Drive to Meadowbrook Road will be closed starting Wednesday, August 16, to allow sewer maintenance to replace a caved in section of sewer line in the middle of the intersection of Ridgewood Rd. and Meadowbrook Rd. Traffic will be detoured onto Eastover Dr. west, I-55 Frontage Rd. north, and Meadowbrook Rd. east to Ridgewood Rd. Continue Reading

Hinds County Residents Overwhelmingly Pass School Bond Measure

Residents who live in the Hinds County School District approved a bond measure by almost 85 percent of the vote cast on Tuesday, August 15 to help improve their district’s schools. The bond will fund building renovations, construction and in-class improvements within the district. The vote allows HCSD to issue a $59.9 million bond to make their planned improvements to the school district in the next three years. There are 55 planned projects in the school district. “I would like to thank Hinds County residents for displaying their overwhelming supporting for our children and our schools by passing this bond,” Superintendent Dr. Delesicia Martin said in a press release. Continue Reading

Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Asks Gov. Bryant for Special Session to Change State Flag

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has renewed its calls for lawmakers to change the state flag, and in the wake of violence at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally this weekend, MLBC members sent Gov. Phil Bryant a letter asking for a special session to change Mississippi’s state flag. The full text of the letter is reproduced below:

Dear Governor Bryant:

The deaths and acts of terror in Charlottesville are the latest evidence of a rising tide of white-nationalism and hatred in America. The images out of Virginia were another clear reminder that Confederate symbols have no place in Mississippi’s state flag. Governor Bryant, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, strongly urges you to call an immediate extraordinary session of the Mississippi legislature to change the state’s flag. If a pending economic development deal required legislation, you would rightly call representatives and senators back to Jackson to do their job. Continue Reading

House Speaker Gunn Calls (Again) to Change State Flag After Charlottesville Rally

After several state officials weighed in on the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, House Speaker Philip Gunn decided to weigh in on the situation on Monday afternoon. His first Facebook post, posted in the afternoon on August 14, condemned white supremacy and bigotry. “Bigotry, hatred and the promotion of racial superiority, like that of white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, have no place in our society. I condemn, in the strongest sense possible, what occurred in Charlottesville. These are not the acts of true Americans. Continue Reading