tatereeves

Jackson is issuing a new boil water notice every other day

23 views

Jackson is issuing a new boil water notice every other day

While a massive federal cash infusion is on the horizon for Jackson’s troubled water system, the city’s notorious boil water notices are piling up.

Since Gov. Tate Reeves proudly declared the end of a citywide advisory on Sept. 15 following the ’s takeover of the drinking water system, Jackson — now under the supervision of a federally appointed third-party administrator — has issued 70 new boil water notices, or more than one every other day, including 16 this month alone.

The city hasn’t gone a day without an active boil water notice for over a month, since Dec. 21.

In the U.S. Department of Justice’s complaint against Jackson in November over drinking water violations, the agency listed over 320 boil water notices that had been issued between May 2020 and last October. Mississippi Today mapped out those notices, as well as those issued since then — totaling 381 — below:

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}();

The zip codes that received the most boil water notices in that two and a half-year stretch were 39211 (northeast Jackson) and 39209 (west Jackson) with 56 each.

In terms of Census tracts — a narrower geographic — the parts of the city with the most notices were Belhaven (between Woodrow Wilson Avenue and Fortification Street, east of State Street) with 29, and central Jackson (between Woodrow Wilson Avenue and Meadowbrook Road, including Fondren) with 22.

The average length of the notices was about four days, with the longest notice lasting 49 days; that advisory came in January 2021 for 25 connections on Forest Hill Road in south Jackson and continued during the winter freeze that led to a citywide notice.

On average, the length of boil water notices are longer in south Jackson, the section of the city farthest from the city’s main treatment plant in Ridgeland, than the rest of the city, as mapped below:

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}();

City officials attribute most of these notices to aging and fragile water lines. Ted Henifin, the city’s third-party manager of the water system, said last month he expects a project using $20 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to upgrade 10 miles of water lines in the city to start this summer. With about 100 miles of smaller-than-ideal water lines in Jackson, Henifin estimated it may take five to 10 years to make the necessary replacements.

Currently, the city has three active boil water notices for different parts of the city — Oak Brook Drive, Lakeland Lane and parts of Byram (click here for full details) — affecting 190 connections, as well as a conservation notice that went into effect last summer.

For information on what to do during and after a boil water notice, visit the state Department of Health’s guidelines here.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.biloxinewsevents.com/?p=205367

Reeves orders TikTok ban for state phones

68 views

Reeves orders TikTok ban for state phones

Gov. Tate Reeves has issued a ban on TikTok for all -issued phones and other devices in a letter sent to Mississippi agency heads.

“It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist Party is actively trying to steal U.S. intellectual property and Americans’ personal information,” Reeves said in a press release. “It’s a major threat to our national security and critical infrastructure, costs the U.S. hundreds of billions annually, and jeopardizes American jobs.”

A similar ban has been ordered on federal government issued devices.

Reeves’ directive said state employees must , delete, and uninstall all relevant applications from state-issued devices no later than January 31. The state’s technology department has been ordered to block access to TikTok from the state’s network. The ban applies to all devices except those being used for “bona fide law enforcement or public safety purposes.”

“Mississippi isn’t going to sit around waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to steal our state government data, and that’s why I issued this directive,” Reeves said. “It will help us better protect our state’s sensitive information and critical infrastructure.”

TikTok is owned by a company headquartered in Beijing. In a U.S. Senate hearing last fall, the company’s chief operating officer said when questioned that no one who “makes a strategic decision at this platform” is a member of the communist party, according to Forbes. Nonetheless, nearly two dozen states have enforced bans so far, according to the Washington Post. Concerns have been raised over the application’s tracking of user data and access and transfer of this data to the Chinese government.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Senate can’t muster votes to override Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes

73 views

Senate can’t muster votes to override Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes

An effort by the Republican legislative leadership to override Gov. Tate Reeves’ line item vetoes of a handful of earmarked 2022 projects fizzled Thursday after the Senate couldn’t muster enough votes.

“We had the votes to override,” House Speaker Philip Gunn said Thursday after the House took a long recess waiting to hear if Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann could garner two-thirds support in the Senate. “The Senate tells us they don’t have the votes.”

Gunn and Hosemann had said Reeves’ vetoes were an overreach of executive power into purse-string duties constitutionally reserved for the .

“This wasn’t about the projects,” Gunn said. “This is about does a governor have the authority to line-item veto in a general bill? … There is no provision under the constitution for that.”

READ MORE:Gov. Tate Reeves blocks state funding for major Jackson park improvement, planetarium

Reeves last year vetoed 10 projects, about $27 million worth, out of scores of projects lawmakers approved statewide in a $223 million capital projects bill. The constitution says a governor has line-item veto power on appropriations bills, and the state Supreme Court recently expanded those powers with a ruling in Reeves’ favor in 2020. But the state constitution does not give the chief executive line-item veto power on general bills. They can either veto the whole bill or let it pass into law.

READ MORE: Legislative leaders want to override several of Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes

House Bill 1353 last year, although it funded projects, was a “transfer” bill shifting money from one fund to another — a general bill, not an appropriations bill. Lawmakers say allowing a governor line-item veto authority over general bills would be a huge power shift in a state where the governor is, by design, “constitutionally weak” particularly in spending matters.

Reeves, when he issued his veto last year, called the projects “wasteful” spending. But his vetoes selective, and the city of Jackson bore the brunt, with four projects nixed by the governor. These included rejuvenating a golf course and building a nature trail at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park and upgrades to the city’s planetarium and convention center parking lot.

Reeves said Jackson has too many problems such as crumbling water infrastructure and to be spending money on parks and planetariums.

Hosemann, who had been a proponent of the LeFleur’s Bluff project, early this week said the vetoes were improper and he wanted to discuss overriding them with the House.

But Hosemann and other Senate leaders were tight-lipped Thursday on override efforts. Hosemann shrugged and walked away when asked for an update on whether the Senate would have the votes.

Overriding a governor’s veto requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers, and is a rare occurrence. Lawmakers overrode a Reeves veto of education spending in 2020. Before that, no governor’s veto had been overturned since 2002, with then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

READ MORE: Latest Reeves vetoes could again expand governor’s power

Besides the high hurdle of a two-thirds vote and rarity of attempted overrides by lawmakers, the effort to override Reeves’ line-item vetoes faced some political optics issues. The capital projects measure from last year was something of a “Christmas tree” bill with pet projects earmarked across the state, including another public golf course and $7 million in handouts to three private companies that Reeves said bypassed normal state vetting of economic development projects.

At the time, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba was also critical of lawmakers spending $13 million on a golf course and not providing more for water system work.

But opponents of Reeves’ vetoes said they appeared selective, noting he approved most of the scores of projects in the bill, including for museums and greenspace around some courthouses and other public buildings — but not others.

One of the projects vetoed by Reeves was $500,000 to place a green area around the federal courthouse in Greenville.

Sen. Derrick Simmons, the chamber’s Democratic leader who lives in Greenville, said the courthouse project in his district was supported by the federal judiciary; U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican; and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Bolton Democrat.

“It was my hope that I would be given the opportunity to vote to override the governor’s veto of the project in my district and all the other projects in the state that were deemed worthy by the Legislature but vetoed by the governor,” Simmons said.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.biloxinewsevents.com/?p=203084

Legislative leaders want to override several of Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes

63 views

Legislative leaders want to override several of Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes

Legislative leaders hope to override Gov. Tate Reeves’ line-item vetoes of projects lawmakers approved last year, including $13 million to rejuvenate a golf course and build a nature trail at LeFleur’s Bluff Park in Jackson.

“We are looking into overriding it,” House Speaker Philip Gunn said on Tuesday. “That’s because of the precedence it sets — no matter who is governor. It’s the executive branch trying to usurp the power of the legislative branch. We are having discussions now.”

Lawmakers say that besides killing projects approved by the , Reeves’ action was an overreach of executive power. The Mississippi Constitution says a governor may veto or approve parts of any appropriations bill. But it does not give the chief executive line-item veto power on general bills. They can either veto the whole bill or let it pass into law.

While House Bill 1353 last year included $223 million for dozens of projects across the state, it was technically a general bill — a “transfer” bill that shifted money from one account to another — and not an appropriations bill. Reeves vetoed 10 projects, about $27 million worth, of the bill. His vetoes selective, and the city of Jackson bore the brunt, with four projects nixed by the governor, including upgrades to the city’s planetarium and convention center parking lot.

READ MORE: Gov. Tate Reeves blocks state funding for major Jackson park improvement, planetarium

Overriding a governor’s veto — a rare occurrence in Mississippi — requires a two-thirds vote from both the House and Senate. That’s a heavy lift, and the clock is ticking. Lawmakers have three days from official receipt of Reeves’ veto notice on Tuesday to take the vote. Lawmakers successfully overrode a Reeves veto of education funding in his first year. Before that, no governor’s veto had been overturned since 2002, with then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

When he vetoed 10 of the hundreds of capital projects lawmakers passed last year, Reeves called them “wasteful” spending. He said spending on “golf courses, private pools … city and county office buildings” and $7.5 million earmarked for three private companies without going through the state’s incentives vetting process were untenable and “bad expenditures are bad expenditures.”

Reeves also said Jackson has too many problems such as and failing water infrastructure for the state to be spending money on such projects. But he approved scores of other projects across the state. Multiple county courthouses received funds for renovations as did various museums and other projects.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, said on Tuesday as the 2023 legislative session started that he also wants to discuss an override with Gunn and other legislative leaders.

“I thought the governor’s veto of those items in a general bill was improper,” Hosemann said. “We have a few options. One, obviously, we could override his veto. Second, we could reappropriate those funds. Then, if he vetoed it a second time, we could try to override it then.”

Hosemann said he supports the projects Reeves vetoed for Jackson and does not consider them wasteful spending.

“While I realize the many needs Jackson has, such as water, the federal government just approved $600 million for it. We put up another $100 million … The question is whether or not we will support cultural attractions so our young men and women will come live and work here. LeFleur’s Bluff is a jewel for Jackson and for the state, and we need to treat it as such.”

Hosemann continued: “We could spend our entire budget on fixing water, but we don’t need to ignore other needs. The planetarium, LeFleur’s Bluff, Thalia Mara Hall — those are attractions for the whole state and region. We can’t ignore things like crime in Jackson, and we are not. We are spending tens of millions of dollars on combatting crime. But we can’t ignore the cultural parts of this state.”

State Rep. Christopher Bell, a Democrat representing Jackson, said: “Personally, I believe every veto the governor signed should be subject to a veto override. The governor has always displayed his hate for the city of Jackson. I wasn’t surprised by hearing the majority of the projects in the city of Jackson were vetoed.”

If Reeves’ line item vetoes of a general bill stand, it would mark another expansion of executive branch power in Mississippi.

In 2020, the expanded the governor’s authority when it upheld two partial vetoes despite multiple Supreme Court cases dating back to the 1890s that had greatly limited that authority.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.biloxinewsevents.com/?p=202956

Bill Waller Jr. ‘strongly considering’ a primary challenge of Gov. Tate Reeves

69 views

Bill Waller Jr. ‘strongly considering’ a primary challenge of Gov. Tate Reeves

Bill Waller Jr., the former chief justice of the Supreme Court and son of a former governor, is “strongly considering” challenging Gov. Tate Reeves in the 2023 Republican primary.

Waller’s entrance into the governor’s race would rattle the ’s political environment and set up a dramatic rematch of the 2019 Republican gubernatorial primary, which Reeves won by eight points after a bitter runoff election with the former justice.

Waller told Mississippi Today on Tuesday he’s been weighing a for several weeks, talking with family, friends and political advisers. He’s ruled out running as an independent, which several politicos have suggested he do, and would instead run in the August Republican Party primary.

“I’m praying about it, I’m looking at who else might be in the race and what else might happen, but I think there’s a critical need for a change of leadership at the top,” Waller said. “In a lot of ways, the issues I ran on in 2019 are more dire, more pronounced now. So many people in this state are hurting or frustrated, and the response (from the governor) just isn’t there. It’s undermining the fabric of this state.”

Reeves, beginning the final year in his first term as governor, is expected to formally announce at a Tuesday press conference at the Mississippi GOP headquarters that he is running for reelection.

Candidates for statewide office face a Feb. 1 deadline to qualify for the 2023 election.

The potential GOP primary rematch will turn heads across the state. Waller, who announced his 2019 bid in the eleventh hour and battled a name ID deficiency outside the Jackson metro area, forced a runoff with Reeves in the August GOP primary. Waller lost that runoff by 8 points, but he won 17 counties — including most of the state’s metropolitan and suburban counties packed with more educated Republican voters.

Waller also forced Reeves to spend more than $7 million to win the primary — a staggering figure that made Reeves’ general election bid against formidable Democratic nominee Jim Hood more difficult. That history looms large as whoever wins the 2023 Republican primary could likely face another strong Democratic challenger, longtime Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, who is also considering running for governor this year.

“I can tell you this, whatever I do next in my career will continue to be focused on improving the lives of average who can’t write a $1,000 campaign check, and who need state officials with some real backbone to stand up for them, their families and their communities,” Presley said Tuesday when asked of his 2023 plans.

Reeves spent much of the 2019 primary blistering Waller as “too liberal” for Mississippi. But Waller, a longtime Republican voter, earned the endorsement in 2019 of several former Mississippi Republican Party leaders.

READ MORE: ‘I think he’s more electable than Tate’: Four past GOP chairmen endorsed Waller over Reeves

Waller supports expansion, which economists say would provide for poor, working Mississippians and help struggling hospitals keep their doors open. Reeves vehemently opposes the measure and reiterates, without evidence or research backing, that the state cannot afford it.

Waller also talked openly about wanting to greatly increase teacher pay and said he would consider raising the state’s second-oldest-in-the-nation gas tax to help fund needed repairs to roads and bridges. Reeves blocked several efforts in his eight years as lieutenant governor to raise the gas tax.

In the Jan. 3 interview with Mississippi Today, Waller brought up another key issue that he said would be a focus in a potential 2023 bid: the state’s sprawling welfare scandal. Reeves has been implicated in pieces of the scandal, and he faced a barrage of criticism from voters after his office abruptly fired the attorney who was investigating the breadth of the misspending.

“Corruption is so apparent and out of control, and most Mississippians I know are sick of it,” Waller said. “Money intended for poverty-stricken children and others being diverted to cronies and personal friends is outrageous.”

READ MORE:Gov. Tate Reeves inspired welfare payment targeted in civil suit, texts show

Reeves has long touted his focus on economic development and other fiscal gains he says the state has made under his decades of leadership. He’s said his focus on conservative spending and tax policy has been a success for the state.

But Waller on Tuesday said more needs to be done.

“We’ve got the steel mill in Lowndes County, and that was a great announcement,” Waller said. “But unfortunately, the great majority of the state has been ignored for a decade or more. A lot of people in most regions of the state can’t remember the last time they got the benefits of an economic announcement like that.”

READ MORE: Bill Waller did not endorse Tate Reeves in 2019 governor’s race

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Gov. Reeves, other governors ask Biden to end COVID-19 health emergency

79 views

Gov. Reeves, other governors ask Biden to end COVID-19 health emergency

Gov. Tate Reeves has joined with 24 other states to ask to end the Federal Public Health Emergency for , which would allow the to some people from coverage.

First declared in January 2020 under the Trump Administration, the public health emergency gives providers flexibility in how they operate. This public health emergency has been extended repeatedly since — it was last extended again in October and set to end in January 2023, though the department has not indicated it will not renew. The department has said it will give governors at least 60 days notice before a declaration ends.

“It’s past time to get back to life as normal,” Reeves said in a tweet Monday.

His comment echoed the notion put forth by the governors in the letter: “While the virus will be with us for some time, the emergency phase of the pandemic is behind us.”

While Mississippi is not currently seeing a major surge, COVID-19cases are still occurring on a daily basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,255 cases were identified in Mississippi in the last week. Case numbers have ticked up slightly in recent weeks, but have not approached any of the earlier peaks. The CDC also reports that 53.5% of have completed the primary vaccine series, a number that has held stagnant for some time.

During the public health emergency, states are not allowed to kick anyone off Medicaid under federal regulations. In exchange, the states have received extra federal funding.

In the letter, the governors say the increased number of people covered by Medicaid has been a drain on state funding. The percentage of each person’s care the federal government covered was increased, but the state has more people they are responsible for overseeing.

The governors say that 20 million people have been added to Medicaid coverage since the start of the pandemic, a number that “continues to climb as the (public health emergency) continues to be extended every 90 days.”

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has also changed the services they provide for those who would have traditionally lost eligibility, to the confusion of patients and providers.

By lifting the public health emergency, Mississippi could return to only providing Medicaid coverage to specific groups: poor pregnant women, poor children, the disabled, some categories of the elderly and some caretakers of Medicaid recipients living in extreme poverty.

Reeves ended Mississippi’s state of emergency in November of last year.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.biloxinewsevents.com/?p=201685

With rail strike looming, Enviva wood pellet company hosts ribbon cutting in Pascagoula

84 views

With rail strike looming, Enviva wood pellet company hosts ribbon cutting in Pascagoula

— A bulk-carry ship packed with 47,000 tons of Mississippi-made wood pellets readied to take off for Japan Wednesday as leaders gathered to celebrate its upcoming sendoff.

The pellets, which are designed to be burned in place of coal, arrived at the Port of Pascagoula by train from . Enviva, the wood-pellet company, is the port’s newest partner and first started shipping pellets out in July.

Enviva CEO Meth was on the Gulf Coast Wednesday to celebrate the massive $90 million project and the company’s growing Mississippi footprint. But in addition to the fanfare is the real possibility Meth could soon have to navigate a halt to his company’s usual supply chain between its 10 southeastern factories.

Rail workers have threatened to move ahead with a strike after failed union negotiations with freight companies. The unions are calling for paid sick days and other quality of life improvements.  

“I will tell you that it’s not the right time to have a railroad strike,” Meth said following the terminal’s ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. “And we’re optimistic it can be avoided.”

Experts have said a strike would shut down nearly a third of the country’s freight systems, adding to congestion and causing a domino effect even in areas – such as Mississippi – where unions aren’t as active. 

is asking Congress to step in to block the strike – the consequences of which could cripple the . In response, the House passed a bill Wednesday that would force a contract agreement. Biden is now asking the Senate to act quickly.

“Without the certainty of a final vote to avoid a shutdown this week, railroads will begin to halt the movement of critical materials like chemicals to clean our drinking water as soon as this weekend,” the president said in a statement.

As far as Mississippi businesses go, Gov. Tate Reeves told a Mississippi Today reporter Wednesday that most companies in the state that rely on railways have contingency plans in place should there be an extensive strike. 

“This particular company,” Reeves said, referring to Enviva, “and many others, for instance, have facilities that can utilize the The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to move product.”

Enviva can also use trucks to transfer the pellets to the port – something it plans to do once its next factory is operating in Bond.

The company says it is the leading wood-pellet producer in the world. The massive white domes now at the Port of Pascagoula can hold up to 90,000 metric tons of wood pellets and are operated by about 30 local employees.

Reeves has worked closely with Enviva as it grows its Mississippi footprint. The state gave the company $4 million in grants to open its Bond facility. 

“We’re talking about decades of economic activity here in the State of Mississippi,” Meth said. “The world is hungry for wood-based biomass from Mississippi, so it will be a fantastic investment for the people of Mississippi – not only for our employees but the whole supply chain that we’re touching.”

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Boil-Water Notice Lifted in Jackson, Mississippi But Concerns Remain Over Lead

201 views

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and officials of the ’s capital, Jackson, lifted boil-water orders on Thursday, September 16 after a water crisis that lasted nearly 7 weeks. And it’s not over. There are still concerns over lead and copper in the water, and residents are urged to not use the water if they are mixing baby formula.

Along with concerns over still-contaminated water after the boil-water notice was lifted, emergency repairs are still ongoing at the source of the problem, a faulty water treatment plant. In August, heavy rains in central Mississippi changed the quality of water entering water treatment plans, NPR reported.

Water treatment plants took longer to treat the water coming in, water levels in the treatment facilities decreased, and the pressure tanked, which may cause untreated groundwater to come into broken pipes. A boil-water notice was issued even before this happened, after Jackson health officials found cloudy water, and continued with the risk of the untreated water coming through cracked pipes. There were also concerns about the facilities, which had failing water pumps. The notice lasted…

By: Paige Bennett
Title: Boil-Water Notice Lifted in Jackson, Mississippi But Concerns Remain Over Lead
Sourced From: www.ecowatch.com/drinking-water-jackson-mississippi.html
Published Date: 44820

Read More

Go to Top