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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,357

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Cash registers believed to be zapping away state revenue

JACKSON – Computerized cash registers, designed to hide total sales made by merchants, could be costing the state millions of dollars in revenue, Mississippi Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson says.

The high tech registers, known as “zappers,” or automated sales suppression devices, allow merchants to hide some of their sales, thus costing the state a portion of the 7 percent tax it assesses on retail sales.

“The zapper has two sets of books. Al Capone (the Chicago gangster who was convicted of tax evasion) would have loved it,” Frierson said recently during testimony to legislators at the state Capitol. “It has one set of books for tax purposes and another (true set of books) if you want to sell your business.”

An article in Bloomberg, based on interviews with state revenue collectors and other tax experts, estimates that the zappers are costing the states $21 billion annually in revenue. The article goes on to estimate that the zapper software is being used in 30 percent of all electronic cash registers in the nation. The zappers are believed to be especially prevalent in the restaurant industry.

Read more: http://www.djournal.com/news/cash-registers-believed-to-be-zapping-away-state-revenue/article_590b4ab9-ca6d-5179-ba42-e5d06ef62846.html

Lawmakers want to undo PSC corruption reform

Two measures before the Legislature would undo some of the reform passed in reaction to corruption in the state's regulation of utilities in the 1980s.

Proponents say the bills would allow the Public Service Commission to operate more efficiently and in a manner similar to those in most other states. Opponents say it's a move to allow big utility interests to co-opt state regulations, and say it's likely reaction to the PSC's hard-nosed handling of the $7.5-billion Kemper power plant boondoggle.

The Public Service Commission regulates water, sewer, natural gas, telecommunications and electric utilities, and is charged with ensuring rates are reasonable and service is adequate and safe.

In 1989, state public service commissioners D.W. Snyder and Lynn Havens were convicted on federal charges of extorting money from utilities they regulated. In response, the Legislature passed reforms that included creating an independent Public Utilities Staff to conduct investigations and collect information, attempting to separate it from elective politics. The three-member, elected Public Service Commission serves as a rule-making and quasi-judicial body. Mississippi is one of only four states with this setup.

Read more: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/25/lawmakers-want-un-do-corruption-reform-psc/1065043001/

Alabama senator Jones to address Mississippi Democrats

BRANDON – Newly elected U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama will address Mississippi Democrats at their annual dinner Saturday in Brandon.

The dinner had traditionally been called the Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer dinner, but Democrats are now calling it the Hamer-Winter dinner, named for civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and former Democratic Gov. William Winter.

Democratic Chair Bobby Moak says the change was made to focus on honoring Mississippians. A history of slaveholding and other actions have made Democratic party founders and presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson controversial among some. Moak says that’s not why the name was changed.

Jones, a Democrat, won an upset in December over Roy Moore. The Republican nominee was dogged by allegations of improper contact with teenagers and a controversial past of defying federal court orders.

Read more: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/27/alabama-senator-jones-address-mississippi-democrats/1072221001/

Lawyer: Hotel valet gave his $300,000 Ferrari to wrong man

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The owner of a $300,000 Ferrari is suing Marriott International, saying a hotel valet gave his keys to a young man who was trying to impress a woman he just met.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that 73-year-old attorney James "Skip" Fowler parked his yellow 458 Italia Spider outside the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club last July 27 while attending a lawyer's convention in St. Petersburg.

There the 2014 Ferrari remained for more than 12 hours, until Levi Miles, then 28, showed up. Miles said he told the woman it was his and demanded the keys, telling the valet that the ticket was in the car and he'd bring it back. He never did. The two sat in the car for "quite a while," according to a St. Petersburg police report. Eventually, the valet said he stopped paying attention after he "figured he wasn't getting a tip."

Miles drove off with Chloe Rimmer in the passenger seat until an officer stopped him for driving without taillights. The police report noted that the driver had "difficulty" handling the car, that cocaine was found on the center console, and that Rimmer had marijuana in her purse.

Read more: http://www.msnewsnow.com/story/37339803/lawyer-hotel-valet-gave-his-300000-ferrari-to-wrong-man

'Anti-Gang' Bill Heads to Full House to Expand Policing Powers

JACKSON — Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, called the "Mississippi Anti-Gang Act" one of the most significant pieces of legislation the Legislature could pass in 2018. The bill would make "criminal gang activity" a separate offense from any underlying misdemeanor or felony a person is accused of if prosecutors can prove they are gang members.

The new act, a version of an expanded "gang" law that failed last session, would make it easier for law enforcement and prosecutors to label a suspect as a gang member and less challenging to prove he or she is part of a larger conspiracy, thus drawing additional prison times tacked on to time served for specific crimes they might commit. Law enforcement often use the controversial threat of additional charges and prison time as a way to get suspected gang members to testify against other ones.

Jimmy Anthony, a regional vice president of the Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators who has been lobbying for the expanded gang law for at least two sessions now, told lawmakers that gangs are active in all 82 counties in Mississippi.

"The biggest concern we have is how the adult gang members are using our children to commit these crimes because of the opportunity for lesser sentencing, and of course, the older gang members themselves are benefitting," Anthony told the House Judiciary B Committee this morning.

Read more: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/jan/26/anti-gang-bill-heads-full-house-expand-policing-po/

Re-entry Reform Hits Wall, But Kids No Longer Face Death Penalty

JACKSON — Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, had a tough time convincing the House Corrections Committee to pass additional re-entry criminal-justice reforms on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, passed last year's Re-entry Council legislation easily through the Judiciary B Committee earlier this year; however, Bomgar's bill includes reforms that are not on Gipson's bill.

Bomgar introduced House Bill 942, which picks up several pieces of the state Re-entry Council's suggested reforms that were left on the cutting-room floor last year. Among other things, the bill would make it easier for men and women coming out of custody to get a driver's license after their first interactions with the criminal-justice system, establish parental accountability courts to keep families together and keep parents from going to jail for being unable to pay child support, and allow judges to modify sentences.

"This bill focuses on employability and re-entry," Bomgar told the House Corrections Committee on Wednesday. "From) getting people back on their feet to getting them jobs so they won't re-offend."

The bill proposes adding these reforms to state law, and Chairman Bill Kinkade, R-Byhalia, said he had several problems with it. Rep. Mark Tullos, R-Raleigh, asked about a part of the legislation that would give employers who hire a person with criminal history limited liability.

Read more: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/jan/25/re-entry-reform-hits-wall-kids-no-longer-face-deat/

Mississippi Sues Over Mail-Order Shipments of Wine, Liquor

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi officials are suing four mail-order wine sellers, saying they illegally shipped wine and liquor into the state.

Attorney General Jim Hood and Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson said Thursday they're asking a judge to order the shippers to stop sending alcohol to Mississippi residents.

Mississippi is one of a handful of states that don't allow wine to be shipped to someone's house for any reason. All wine and liquor is supposed to go through the Madison County warehouse operated by the Revenue Department's Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

That ban goes against the increasing national trend of direct-shipping, and Hood said many companies appear to be ignoring it. He said investigators sought to order wine or liquor from 63 sellers, and 22 shipped alcoholic beverages into the state. Frierson said one company even shipped a bottle of cognac to his office.

Read more: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/jan/26/mississippi-sues-over-mail-order-shipments-wine-li/

No More Rallies Inside Mississippi Capitol, Leaders Say

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Top Mississippi lawmakers said Thursday that they take full responsibility for an event that violated a policy against rallies being held inside the state Capitol.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday for an event promoting "school choice" — allowing people to pay for private school with public money.

Empower Mississippi, the group that organized the event, promoted it as a "rally," and some participants carried posters. Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, all Republicans, spoke in favor of school choice at the event, receiving cheers and applause from the crowd that included school children wearing bright yellow scarves provided by the organizers.

In a statement Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton of Newton and House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian, also Republicans, said news conferences with 25 or fewer participants are allowed inside the Capitol, but rallies are supposed to be outside.

Read more: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/jan/25/no-more-rallies-inside-mississippi-capitol-leaders/

College athlete suspended, leaves school over racist social media post

A Georgia State University student-athlete has withdrawn from school after she was suspended from the team for using a racial epithet on social media.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Natalia Martinez, 18, was temporarily removed from the soccer team after the message was posted to her Finsta - a secret version of Instagram that's typically only shared with close friends.

Martinez uses a version of the n-word in her post.

A similar Finsta post led to the expulsion of a University of Alabama student last week. Harley Barber, a native of New Jersey, was kicked out of her UA sorority and the school after a video posted to her account showed her repeatedly using the n-word and other profanities.

Read more: http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/college_athelete_suspended_lea.html

Bill to end marriage licenses in Alabama advances

A House committee Wednesday advanced a bill that would end marriage licenses in Alabama, legislation that has been filed every year since same-sex marriage became legal in the state.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, passed the House Judiciary Committee on a mostly party-line vote of 9 to 5. It would replace marriage licenses in the state with “affidavits, forms and data” filed with the local probate judge acknowledging that a marriage has taken place.

Speaking before the committee Wednesday, Albritton repeated arguments he has made for years that the bill is intended to allow marriages to take place in counties where probate judges have moral objections to same-sex marriage.

"It takes discretion away from local judges, so when forms are provided it establishes marriage," he said. "It takes away from the judge the 'yes or no' on who can get married."

Read more: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/politics/southunionstreet/2018/01/24/bill-end-marriage-licenses-alabama-advances/1062163001/
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