Good morning, Mississippi editors.
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JACKSON, Miss. —Gov. Phil Bryant signed two bills into law Tuesday, codifying a settlement between the Public Service Commission and Mississippi Power Co. over the company's Kemper County power plant. Mississippi Power, a unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co., filed for a 7-year-rate plan as contemplated under one of the laws less than two hours after Bryant approved the measures. The other law that Bryant approved allows Mississippi Power to sell up to $1 billion in bonds to pay Kemper costs over $2.4 billion. By Jeff Amy.
XGR-INDUSTRY TAX BREAKS
JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House on Tuesday approved tens of millions of dollars' worth of tax breaks for businesses, but it's unclear if the proposals will survive the Senate. A top budget writer, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, says the proposed tax breaks are a big problem. The Republican from Poplarville says the $5.5 billion state budget is already stretched thin. But, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith says he's not trying to deplete the budget. The Republican from Columbus says when businesses get incentives, they can create jobs. He says that boosts the economy and creates more revenue. By Emily Wagster Pettus.
JACKSON — A group of preschool operators is adding to the push for state funding to educate 4-year-olds. Members of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association said at a Tuesday rally at the state Capitol that they support House and Senate proposals to use state money to pay for such classes. The members say that private childcare operators who have been critical of some parts of the proposal don't speak for them. By Jeff Amy.
JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Senate on Tuesday approved $695,000 for the secretary of state to defend a proposed voter identification law, and the budget bill moves on to the House for more work. The secretary of state's overall $13 million budget for fiscal 2014 was rejected last week, but several senators were out of the chamber at the time. During a second vote Tuesday when attendance was better, senators passed the measure, Senate Bill 2901. By Laura Tillman.
MISSISSIPPI PRISON RIOT
JACKSON, Miss. — An inmate pleaded guilty Tuesday to participating in a deadly riot at a prison for illegal immigrants in Mississippi, authorities said. One guard was killed and 20 people were injured in the May 20 riot at the privately run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez. The prison holds illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the U.S. By Holbrook Mohr.
AP Photo MSNAT101.
MISSISSIPPI NEWS IN BRIEF
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi's two Republican U.S. senators split on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. Thad Cochran voted for Hagel, and Roger Wicker voted against him.
JACKSON, Miss. — The state Court of Appeals has denied a post-conviction petition filed by J.C. Higginbotham who wanted a new trial on grounds that his guilty plea was involuntary. Higginbotham was one of four people arrested in 2007 shooting death of 71-year-old L.S. Vowell of McCool, whose body was found Dec. 9 in a chicken house in southern Winston County.
GREENVILLE, Miss. — The city of Greenville has about $12,000 remaining from the $1.6 million in casino revenue budgeted this fiscal year. Some city officials have expressed concern about the depleting casino revenue funds.
VICKSBURG, Miss. — Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong is looking to buy AR-15 or AK-47-type assault rifles for his department. Armstrong says he's trying to put his officers on par with suspects who might have more powerful weapons.
LEAKESVILLE, Miss. — A Greene County man who had been on death row for 20 years has been resentenced to life in prison without parole. Jeffrey Keller Davis, 52, was convicted in 1992 of capital murder for shooting and stabbing Linda Hillman.
MERIDIAN, Miss. — Five people, including two inmates, have been arrested on charges related to attempting to sneak contraband in to the Lauderdale County jail. Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says the five were trying to bring marijuana, tobacco or other items into the jail.
OXFORD, Miss. — NASA's second SpaceX mission to the International Space Station will carry an experiment developed by a University of Mississippi biologist. The launch is scheduled for Friday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The experiment, by John Z. Kiss, dean of the Ole Miss Graduate School, involves seedling growth.
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that would make it difficult to get information on weapon permits, including concealed carry permits. The bill would exclude the permit information from the state public records act. A court order would be required to obtain the data.
FOCUS ON GRADUATION
TUPELO, Miss. — Tupelo High School is again using retired teachers and others to provide extra help to its seniors at risk of not graduating. For the second consecutive year, the school has hired part-time tutors for its seniors who have not passed at least one of the five state Subject Area Tests. Students must pass those exams before they can graduate. By Chris Kieffer, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
The AP-Jackson, Miss.