Editorial summary: Mississippi | The Fresno Bee

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Commonwealth of Greenwood. September 21, 2021.

Editorial: The risky decision of the board of directors

The Mississippi’s College Board certainly had the right to decide that the eight public universities it oversees cannot require students, faculty, and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. But how he made this decision will raise many questions.

The College Board and its university officials had been playing hot potatoes on the issue of vaccines for several weeks. In August, the board spokesperson told Mississippi Today that the state’s existing immunization requirements were a minimum and “additional requirements are not prohibited.”

Officials from the University of Mississippi and the State of Mississippi, however, said they did not believe their schools had the authority to impose the vaccine as a condition of attendance.

If universities had this authority before, they no longer have it. Last week, the College Board voted in a retreat that schools cannot require the vaccine as a condition of employment or attendance.

What’s most interesting about this is that the vote, according to the College Board spokesperson, took place in a room that lacked webcasting capabilities. She said there was no recording of the vote or discussion that came before it – as if no one was thinking about turning on their smartphone’s audio recording device or logging into the feature. live broadcast from Facebook for a topic that was sure to be of great interest.

When the minutes of the meeting are made public, they will reveal how the directors voted. For now, however, all anyone can trust is an August 27 vote in which the College Council ignored objections from its two physician members and voted not to require the vaccine within eight. universities. In that vote, the University of Mississippi Medical Center was the only institution where vaccines would be needed.

The specific wording of the August 27 motion approved by the College Board was that “we would not impose any obligation on universities to require vaccination.” This is very different from its vote on September 16, in which the board specifically asked universities not to require vaccines.

It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Neither the College Board nor the universities wanted to be the mean school librarian who said, in a state where skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is far above the national average, that injections were needed for participation in university.

Both groups dodged the problem until they were forced to act. Mississippi Today reports that this may have happened when a Mississippi State Marshal emailed faculty saying that the minutes from the August 27 College Board meeting ordered universities not to not require vaccination. That assessment was inaccurate – until the College Board acted last week.

Hundreds of universities across the country, public and private, now require vaccination against COVID-19. Mississippi’s decision not to do so adds an element of mandatory risk to its campuses.

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The (McComb) Enterprise-Journal. September 20, 2021.

Editorial: Charter Schools Need High Standards

Charter school advocates complain that the board that oversees Mississippi schools rejected two more demands on September 13:

–A member of the Mississippi Charter Authorizer Board told Mississippi Today that current state law is too strict for charter schools and that the legislature must change the law to provide more flexibility for charter operators.

–An advocate who worked with lawmakers to draft Mississippi charter school legislation in 2013 believes the problem is that the charter board is not providing enough support and collaboration to applicants who want to open new schools.

–And an Empower Mississippi official said the state’s seven existing charter schools have a waiting list for enrollment as well as 90% retention rates. Not to approve of any school, he added, is a travesty.

It is understandable that supporters of charter schools are disappointed with the board’s decision. But they really need to put the brakes on this “woe to me” thing.

The job of the charter committee is not to offer more flexibility to applicants. Its primary mission is not to collaborate with organizations that want to open a school; it’s to make sure that a business that seeks taxpayer dollars has the leadership and the plans to put that money to good use. And people who talk about the parody of rejected applications should realize that the fastest way to kill charter schools in this state would be to leave a few open that are likely to fail.

A school, whether public, private, religious or otherwise, is a huge challenge to operate. This must be an even greater challenge for schools seeking to provide an alternative to low-income families who are underserved by their local public system.

The best proof of this difficulty is the state’s existing charter schools. They usually offer courses for only one to four levels. If it was easy, it would all be K-12 operations.

Don’t blame the Charter School Licensing Board for doing its job. Board members have the dual task of representing the interests of taxpayers and ensuring that charter school standards are met.

The board denied applications for a K-8 charter school in Adams County and a K-5 school in Greenville. The decisions are disappointing because much of Mississippi needs the competition charter schools can offer. But charter schools have to be good.

It’s a flawed comparison, but the Mississippi Gaming Commission has the same kind of mission as the charter school board. The Gaming Commission regulates and licenses new casinos, and it has done a great job of requiring investments designed to create jobs and attract visitors to the state. The commission aimed high and it paid off.

Charter schools must also be held to a high standard. Adjust the law, offer more collaboration, and avoid parodies, but don’t let under-equipped operators get involved.

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Tupelo Daily Journal. September 15, 2021.

Editorial: Time for a special session on medical marijuana

It’s time for Governor Tate Reeves to call a special session for medical marijuana and force lawmakers to pass a bill or adjourn without following the clear will of the people.

Since the Mississippi Supreme Court rejected the medical marijuana law passed by voters with the passage of Initiative 65, lawmakers have held public hearings, spoken behind closed doors, and launched public ideas about what a medical marijuana law should look like.

Reeves, who has said he opposes medical marijuana but accepts the will of the people, said he would only call a special session when lawmakers agree on a law.

Such a deal has not been reached, and it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon – despite weeks of proclamations from various lawmakers and leaders that they are getting closer to a resolution or speculated timelines that are already passed.

Conspiracy theories abound as to why lawmakers failed to reach consensus. Some think the top leaders don’t really want a medical marijuana bill. Others say lawmakers want this dealt with in the regular session where they can negotiate aspects of the bill to get what they want on other bills. And then there’s the very real possibility that no one will want to compromise on what they consider the most important aspect of the bill – whether it’s taxes, restrictions on dispensaries, rules governing dispensaries. producers or any other specific interest.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what the heist is.

The people of Mississippi overwhelmingly support a medical marijuana program. More voters voted for him than any elected official in the ballot last November.

Lawmakers are failing in their duty as representatives of the people who elected them, and it’s time for Reeves to step in and lead this issue by calling their hand.

The governor’s position – no special session until lawmakers reach agreement – is admirable. We understand that he does not want to waste taxpayers’ money. But right now, lawmakers are doing much worse: they are ignoring the clear will of the people.

And let’s face it: Although expensive, special sessions cost relatively little compared to the state’s overall budget. Special sessions cost approximately $ 35,000 to $ 40,000 per day. At the high end, a three-day session – more than enough time to pass a medical marijuana program, even with vigorous debate – would cost no more than $ 120,000. Compared to a $ 6 billion budget, that’s less than half of half of half of half of half of half of half of half of 1%. In other words, it’s not even a drop in the bucket.

But what a special session would do is put lawmakers on the spot, forcing their actions and decisions to scrutiny, with the daily racking up adding to the cost of a law that should already have come into force on the 1st. July.

Because with every day since July 1, people who had hoped for clinically proven medical relief for a variety of painful ailments have been disappointed. Lest our heads of state lose sight of what is at stake, it is the well-being of the Mississippians who are suffering.

TO FINISH


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