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Ballot initiative reform dies in Mississippi Senate Monday

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Ballot initiative reform dies in Mississippi Senate Monday



Parker says he plans to try for ballot initiative bill next year

A push to bring back ballot initiatives, albeit in a more restrictive and cumbersome way than its original process, died in the Senate on Monday when Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee Chair Sen. David Parker, R-Olive Branch, allowed it to fall on a motion to reconsider.

The ballot bills, Senate Bill 2770 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 527, passed through the Senate on a slight majority Thursday afternoon, but were pushed back onto the Senate calendar. Over the weekend, Parker was informed that the Republican support he garnered for the bill, coupled with opposition from Democrats, had been lost, Parker told the Clarion Ledger.

Without the necessary two-thirds of votes to pass onto the House, Parker said he will simply try again next year.

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Parker added that without the necessary support from GOP members in the Senate, he has no plans to move forward House Resolution 11.

MS bills on transgender recognition: MS bills could deny transgender people right to identify with chosen gender

This is a developing story, and it will be updated.

Grant McLaughlin covers state government for the Clarion Ledger. He can be reached at gmclaughlin@gannett.com or 972-571-2335.



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Mississippi

MPCA to test entirety of Mississippi River this year • Minnesota Reformer

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MPCA to test entirety of Mississippi River this year • Minnesota Reformer


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be testing water quality along the entirety of the Mississippi River within the state’s borders in 2024, the agency announced this week.

The MPCA typically only tests portions of the river in any given year, and this year’s effort to sample over 50 locations from Bemidji to the Iowa border represents a first for the agency in what could be read as increasing concern about emerging threats to water quality, including 3M-manufactured chemical compounds known as PFAS.  

Water quality within Minnesota’s stretch of the river has improved dramatically over the past four decades, according to a fact sheet from the Metropolitan Council. But levels of some contaminants — including nitrogen from excessive fertilizer use and chloride from road salt — are rising.

“By monitoring our lakes and rivers, we are supporting safe drinking water, enjoyable recreation, tourism, and Minnesota’s strong economy,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “Our work protecting the mighty Mississippi from its headwaters here in Minnesota is critical to maintaining a healthy river downstream, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”

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The data will include traditional water quality measurements like temperature, transparency and pollutant levels. Crews will also collect and measure samples of fish and invertebrate life from the river.

The MPCA will also be screening for PFAS contamination for the first time, following the imposition of strict federal limits on the compounds.

In the metropolitan area, Mississippi River water quality degrades downstream of the junction with the Minnesota River, which carries large amounts of agricultural runoff. But it improves downstream of the St. Croix River, which is surrounded by undeveloped areas.

Farm runoff from Minnesota and other Midwestern states contribute to a massive “dead zone” stretching of thousands miles around the Mississippi delta in the Gulf of Mexico. Chemicals in fertilizer fuel massive blooms of algae, which rapidly deplete oxygen levels, making the area unsuitable for many forms of marine life.

Closer to home, nearly the entirety of the river within Minnesota boundaries is on the state’s impaired waters list. Impairments include high levels of fecal bacteria, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish, PFAS, aluminum and sulfates.

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1 sister killed, 1 injured during crash with 18-wheeler on Mississippi highway

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1 sister killed, 1 injured during crash with 18-wheeler on Mississippi highway


WARREN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) – One sister was killed and another sister was injured during a crash with an 18-wheeler Monday morning.

According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the incident happened on Highway 27 in Warren County.

It occurred while a Toyota Camry was pulling out of a driveway just as an 18-wheeler was passing by.

The Camry, authorities say, passed in front of the 18-wheeler, was struck, and went into a ditch.

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The driver of the Camry, Adriana Flaggs, 30, was killed, while her sister, the passenger, had non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the 18-wheeler also had non-life-threatening injuries.

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Mississippi Power plans to strengthen power delivery system

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Mississippi Power plans to strengthen power delivery system


MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -Mississippi Power is starting a pair of power pole upgrade projects in Gulfport as part of its storm hardening program.

This is to strengthen the power delivery system for customers in the company’s most storm-prone areas.

Their mission is to replace wooden transmission poles with steel ones, beginning in Gulfport and heading east toward Biloxi.

During these two projects, more than 250 power poles will be upgraded to make the equipment more resistant to storms.

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“When you think about a major storm restoration effort, one of the most time-consuming tasks is replacing damaged or broken wooden poles, so with more robust structures like the ones we are going to be installing, we expect a far less outage time that our customers are going to face, for example, last summer in moss point we had tornadoes that had rolled through we ended up having to replace about 75 broken wooden poles, that took a lot of time if we’d had more robust poles in place we wouldn’t have anticipated in seeing a fraction of that kind of damage,” says Mark Loughman, Coast Division Manager.

The projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2024, as similar system upgrades will be performed in and around Meridian in the future.

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