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Bill would require back seat passengers to buckle up
by Zack Steen
Mar 25, 2017 | 0 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Buckle up everybody ... it may soon be the law. If Gov. Phil Bryant approves SB 2724, a new law may do just that. Lawmakers agreed last week on a bill that would require seat belts for all passengers — front seat or back. Previously only front seat passengers and children were required by law to buckle up in the Magnolia State. Buses would be exempt, as would farm, mail and utility vehicles. A driver could be fined $25 for every unbelted passenger, although violations would not be listed on a person's driving record. Rep. Nick Bain (D-Alcorn) supported the measure. “No matter where you sit in a vehicle, you should buckle up,” he said. Bain added he always votes for measures that promote life. "Whether in the womb or otherwise," said Bain. "To me something like the seat belt requirement law is a common sense way to help protect the lives of our citizens." Bain was one of several local lawmakers to vote for the bill. Others include Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter (R-Alcorn, Tishomingo), Rep. Jody Steverson (D-Alcorn, Tippah) and Sen. Rita Potts Parks (R-Alcorn, Tishomingo, Tippah). Rep. Tracy Arnold (R-Alcorn, Prentiss) voted against the measure. Overall, lawmakers passed the bill with little debate and only a few votes against it. That's a change from the heavy debate that Mississippi's current seat belt law sparked in the 1990s, when lawmakers enacted the measure only after multiple attempts. If Bryant signs the bill, it will go into effect on July 1. Mississippi would become the 29th state to mandate that all passengers in the back seat wear belts, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The association found in a recent report that back-seat occupants are three times more likely to die in a crash if they are unbelted than if they are restrained. That report also found that while 83 percent of back-seat occupants wore belts in states that mandate use, only 74 percent use belts in states that don't require back-seat passengers to buckle up. Cursive writing Students may soon be required to write and read in cursive writing by the end of the fifth grade. If Bryant signs SB 2273, such a law would also take effect on July 1. According to the measure, students would have to pass a test to prove their ability. Current requirements already call for children to learn cursive beginning in second grade. All local lawmakers voted for the passage of the bill. Anti-sanctuary bill Another bill that could ban sanctuary cities in Mississippi also gained attention last week. SB 2710 states cities, state agencies and public colleges can't prevent employees from asking someone's immigration status. These public agencies also can't give legal status to people who entered the country without permission, such as by issuing an identification card. Senators agreed with changes made by the House, with 11 senators voting against the bill. Bryant, a Republican who has long voiced concerns about people entering the country illegally, said he would sign the measure into law. All local lawmakers casted a yes vote for the passage of the measure. Critics, however, have said the bill is discriminatory. The bill would override Mississippi's only sanctuary policy. A 2010 ordinance in the city of Jackson prevents police officers from asking about immigration status. Supporters said the new bill would ensure local governments can't hamper efforts to remove people who have entered illegally. In 2014, Mississippi had about 25,000 immigrants who had entered the country without permission, the Pew Research Center estimates. As a share of total population, Mississippi's overall foreign-born population is among the smallest in the nation. (The Associated Press contributed to this story.) (Capitol Connections by staff writer Zack Steen appears on Sunday in the Daily Corinthian. The weekly feature includes news and notes from the Mississippi Legislature.)
Committee postpones Crossroads Chili Cookoff
by Zack Steen
Mar 25, 2017 | 0 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Crossroads Chili Cookoff will return this year ... just not in April. Normally held the first weekend of April in conjunction with the Green Market at the Corinth Depot, event officials announced this week the 10th annual cookoff will take place on Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday, May 27. “Several of the key cookoff people – including myself – have had some complications the last few months that prevented us from holding the cookoff around our normal date,” said Steve Knight, cookoff chair. “It was a tough decision to move it, but we just couldn’t pull it off in time.” Knight said his committee agreed the event had to be postponed and not canceled for the year. “We never had any intention on cancelling the cookoff – we’ve been going strong for 10 years and we have no plans of stopping,” he added. The popular event features professional chili cookers from across the country as they vie for cash prizes and a coveted ticket to the International Chili Society World Cookoff. Categories hosted by the local cookoff will include traditional red chili, chili verde and salsa. A People’s Choice category will also return. “As always, locals will be encouraged to enter our People’s Choice chili competition for bragging rights and a cash prize,” added Knight. A People’s Choice chili tasting event will also be held with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit Crossroads Museum. Although plans are still in the early stages, Knight said right now the cookoff needs sponsors to help make the event happen. “We have the support of the Tourism office (Corinth Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau) as always and in the coming weeks we will be reaching out to our previous supports in hopes that they’ll want to help again,” said the chairman. Interested cookoff sponsors and volunteers can contact Knight at 662-415-8641.
Death notices for Sunday, March 26, 2017
Mar 25, 2017 | 9 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wayne A. Bolton IUKA — Funeral services for Wayne A. Bolton, 75, are set for 2 p.m. Monday at New Prospect Baptist Church with burial at New Prospect Cemetery. Visitation is Sunday from 5 until 9 p.m. at Cutshall Funeral Home in Iuka, and the body will lie in state one hour prior to the service. Mr. Bolton died Friday, March 24, 2017, at North Delta Hospice in Southaven. Rachel V. Brawner Funeral services for Rachel V. Brawner, 95, are set for 2 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Funeral Home with Bro. Keith Fields officiating. Burial will follow in the Brawner Family Cemetery. Visitation is from 12 noon until the service. Mrs. Brawner died Friday, March 24, 2017, at Whitfield Nursing Home. Jerry Caldwell Jerry Caldwell, 81, died Friday, March 24, 2017, at his home. Memorial Funeral Home will have the arrangements. Ruby Massengill Services for Ruby Faye McGee Massengill, 82, are set for 1 p.m. Monday at Corinthian Funeral Home with burial at Corinth National Cemetery. Visitation is Sunday from 5 until 8 p.m. Mrs. Massengill died Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Savannah Health Care Center. Gail McCoy Retha Gail McCoy, 58, of Corinth, died Friday, March 24, 2017, at her home. A memorial service is to be held at a later date. Dorothy Meeks TISHOMINGO — Dorothy Theresa Meeks, 63, died Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Iuka. No services are scheduled. Carolyn Melton WALNUT — Funeral services for Carolyn Barnes Melton, 71, are set for 2 p.m. Sunday at New Covenant Christian Assembly Church in Tiplersville with burial at County Line Cemetery. Visitation continues at the church until the service. Mrs. Melton died Thursday, March 23, 2017, at her home after an extended illness. Adele Smillie Services for Adele Margaret Smillie, 95, are set for 10 a.m. Monday at St. James Catholic Church. Visitation is from 9 a.m. until the service. Ms. Smillie died Friday, March 24, 2017, at MS Care Center.
What to do about the uninsurable
by Larry Elder
Mar 25, 2017 | 330 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

When it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare, defenders of President Barack Obama's signature domestic law constantly ask, "What about those with pre-existing illnesses?"

After all, the most popular feature of Obamacare is that it prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because an applicant has a pre-existing illness. And President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan insist that those with pre-existing conditions will be covered. But by agreeing with Obama on the issue of pre-existing illnesses, by promising to replace Obamacare "with something better," Republicans are making a massive concession: That access to health care insurance should be guaranteed by the federal government, and that denying people coverage based on their health history is unfair and should be prevented by law.

That's a lot for the supposedly limited-government party to buy into. Free markets are the best way to improve quality, accessibility and affordability. But by campaigning to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, by refusing to make the case that free markets beat government-controlled health care, they've done just that. So the question now simply becomes who pays and how much.

When did health insurance become a right?

Did the Founding Fathers, under Article I, Section 8, grant the federal government the power and duty to ensure "universal health care coverage"? The answer is no, and there are many historical examples that prove it.

Economist Walter Williams writes of Presidents James Madison, Franklin Pierce and Grover Cleveland, and how they quoted the Constitution to turn away congressional attempts to spend money when the federal government is not authorized to do so.

James Madison, known as the "father of the Constitution," opposed a 1792 bill that would appropriate $15,000 for French refugees. Madison said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Some argued that the Constitution allows for benevolent spending under the general-welfare clause. Not so, said Madison: "With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

Later presidents understood this. President Pierce, in 1854, vetoed a bill meant to help the mentally ill, saying, "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity." To approve such spending, he said, "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

In 1887, President Cleveland vetoed a bill to send money to drought-stricken counties in Texas, saying: "I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution."

This brings us back to the issue of those with pre-existing illnesses. Before Obamacare, 35 states had "high-risk pools" so that their residents with pre-existing illnesses could get non-group health insurance. But what about states that don't have high-risk pools? And even in states that do, some people will not be able to afford it, even at a reduced and subsidized price. What to do?

The answer is charity.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who spent months studying America in the 19th century, wrote this about America's charitable spirit: "Americans group together to hold fetes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, distribute books, dispatch missionaries to the antipodes. They establish hospitals, prisons, schools by the same method. Finally, if they wish to highlight a truth or develop an opinion by the encouragement of a great example, they form an association."

As for why Americans donate so much to charity, Tocqueville considered it a matter of enlightened self-interest: "American moralists do not claim that one must sacrifice oneself for one's fellows because it is a fine thing to do but they are bold enough to say that such sacrifices are as necessary to the man who makes them as to those gaining from them. ... They do not, therefore, deny that every man can pursue his own self-interest but they turn themselves inside out to prove that it is in each man's interest to be virtuous. ... Enlightened self-love continually leads them to help one another and inclines them to devote freely a part of their time and wealth to the welfare of the state."

Life is not fair. But it is unfair to assume that an America without a government-provided safety net would turn its backs on the less fortunate. Charity is in America's DNA.

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

Response to crime in Maryland not enough
by Cal Thomas
Mar 25, 2017 | 57 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A rough translation of Maryland's state motto is "Strong Deeds, Gentle Words." In the case of a 14-year-old girl who was recently raped in a restroom at Rockville High School by two males students, both immigrants, one facing a deportation hearing, that motto in practice has been reversed.

The police report of the incident is so graphic that it cannot be printed in full, but the facts are these: Henry Sanchez, 18, a Guatemala native who has a pending "alien removal" case against him, and 17-year-old Jose Montano, who came to America from El Salvador eight months ago, have been charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offenses.

The two are alleged to have dragged the 14-year-old girl into a boy's restroom where they raped her after she repeatedly screamed "no."

Compounding the physical and possible long-term psychological damage to the girl is the response of school authorities and state legislators.

A letter sent to parents from Rockville High School officials said, "Ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming learning environment for all of our students is a top priority. Our staff remains vigilant in the monitoring of our school each and every day."

Apparently not.

Among the many questions that should be asked is why Sanchez and Montano -- both old enough to be seniors -- were placed in a freshman class in the first place? They were given a translator to help them understand what the teacher said in English, but the word that describes that ludicrous decision is easily understood in both English and Spanish -- "estupido."

Equally "stupid" is a bill in the legislature that would declare Maryland a "sanctuary state." If it passes and survives a likely veto by Gov. Larry Hogan, it would shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws. The Republican leader in the House of Delegates, Nic Kipke, says the measure "ignores the rule of law" and would create "anarchy" in the state.

One of the things the left claims to always be concerned about are the rights of minorities and the disenfranchised. One hears that argument invoked often in debates over transgender individuals and which bathroom they can use. If that works for liberals in this case, what about the right of a teenage girl to be protected against a violation of her person by illegal immigrants?

A corollary argument is that most illegal immigrants are not violent criminals. We hear the same argument when it comes to Muslims, that not all members of the religion should be judged by the acts of a violent few. Ask the victims or relatives of people who have died or been injured by radical Islamists how they feel about that argument. In the case of the young Rockville High School girl, ask her and her parents, siblings and other relatives if they are OK with allowing people like Sanchez and Montano into their child's school.

The high school from which I graduated is located not far from Rockville High. My school was a much safer place. Chewing gum and running in the halls were the worst offenses one could commit, and for repeat offenders that got you a trip to the vice principal's office, or detention, and a note home to parents where further discipline was often applied.

If a law like the one under consideration by the Maryland legislature had been in force, Sanchez and Montano might have been shielded from a deportation hearing because authorities would have been prevented from asking them about their immigration status or even their country of origin.

If convicted of the rape charges, they should be punished and then deported. School officials and legislators who have helped create the environment that has allowed such a horrible incident to occur must be held accountable by the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, and voters statewide.

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