Immigrant sues over lost custody of child in Miss
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge says attorneys for a Mexican woman can go ahead with a lawsuit against Mississippi's welfare agency and others she accused of attempting to wrest away a newborn girl she delivered while in the United States illegally.
U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate this week denied the immunity claims of two employees of Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula and a Mississippi Department of Human Services caseworker.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit in 2010 on behalf of Cirila Baltazar Cruz.
The lawsuit, which names MDHS, Singing River Health System and others, seeks monetary damages and alleges the state officials conspired to deny Cruz and her child their constitutional rights to family integrity.
A trial date has not been set.
Senate seeks more money for school funding formula
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Senators are supporting an additional $60 million for Mississippi's education funding formula.
The Senate voted 26-24 Wednesday to adopt an amendment to House Bill 1476 - the state k-12 budget - taking money from Medicaid and moving it to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Eight Republicans crossed party lines to vote with all but one Democrat for the measure.
The effort by Amory Democrat Hob Bryan is symbolic because negotiators will finalize budgets later. The state must pay all Medicaid costs under rules of the health program, no matter how much it budgets.
Bryan says Mississippi should obey a law requiring full funding of MAEP. In last six years, appropriations have fallen more than $1.25 billion short.
Next year's budget was $265 million short of full funding before the amendment.
Miss. Common Core opponents lose spending fight
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi will keep spending money to implement the Common Core state standards for public schools, if senators have their way.
The Senate Wednesday rejected an attempt to bar the state from spending money on the academic standards by a 39-11 vote.
The charge against the standards was led by Republican Sens. Angela Hill of Picayune and Michael Watson of Pascagoula, who say the standards are a federal takeover of state schools and will be harmful to students.
They were supported by Sen. Chris McDaniel, an Ellisville Republican who's challenging U.S. Sen Thad Cochran in the June 3 GOP primary.
Proponents say Common Core is meant to ensure American students learn the same things across states and to encourage more analytical thinking.
TEACHER PAY RAISE
House seeks talks with Senate on teacher pay plan
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - House and Senate negotiators will meet to discuss differences in their pay raise proposals for Mississippi public school teachers.
The move comes after the House rejected a Democratic attempt to agree to the Senate's pay raise proposal by a 71-50 vote Wednesday.
Democrats argued that the House should accept the Senate plan because there's a chance that House Bill 504 would fail if the House agreed to confer.
House Speaker Philip Gunn says that the Senate's plan, which calls for extra money to be awarded to teachers in improving or high-performing schools, is unconstitutional because it gives bonus payments not covered by contract to public employees for work they've already done.
Republican House leaders also says they won't seek requirements they proposed for teachers to collect the full amount.
MISSISSIPPI PRISON RIOT
9 plead guilty in Adams County prison riot
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Nine inmates have pleaded guilty in federal court in Natchez to participating in a deadly prison riot in Mississippi in 2012.
One guard was killed and 20 people were injured in the May 20, 2012, riot at the privately run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, which holds immigrants convicted of crimes while being in the U.S. illegally.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says the pleas were entered Tuesday.
Each defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and supervised release term of three years. The defendants will be sentenced on May 29 and June 12.
Correction officer Catlin Carithers was killed and 20 people were injured as the riot grew to involve hundreds of inmates.
The riot caused an estimated $1.3 million in damage.
MDES releases January jobless figures
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - New figures on Mississippi's labor force show Clay County with the highest unemployment rate of 17.4 percent in January.
Mississippi Department of Employment Security records released Wednesday show Tunica County with a jobless rate of 17.3 percent.
Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate in January at 4.5 percent followed by DeSoto County at 5.3 percent.
All told, Mississippi had a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.5 percent - the lowest the state has seen since November 2008, when the rate was also 7.5 percent. The jobless rate was 8 percent in December 2013.
In January 2014, there were 10,000 more jobs in Mississippi than in January 2013, but 4,000 less than December 2013, according to the seasonally adjusted results from a survey of Mississippi employers.
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