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MISSISSIPPI-TEACHER PAY

Senate panel OKs last bit of teacher pay for current year

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators are pushing a plan to pay the full cost for this year's teacher pay raise. The $1,500-per-person raise was approved during the 2019 session. But, officials later discovered a bureaucratic error. Too few teachers were counted as the state budget was written. That meant that too little money was initially set aside. A bill will cover the shortfall of more than $18 million. It passed the full House last week. It passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and will go to the full Senate. The budget year ends June 30. Teachers have not missed any pay.

MISSISSIPPI DAM

Pressure building on rural north Mississippi dam

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi authorities hoping to prevent the failure of a dam in the rural northeastern part of the state are working to lower the water level of a rain-swollen lake. Officials have urged evacuation of the area near Oktibbeha County Lake. An inspection of the dam Tuesday led to warnings that it was in danger of failing.  An engineer said Wednesday that siphons are being used to draw water from the lake into a nearby stream. A breach would affect around 130 properties. Some residents say they aren't yet ready to leave.

PRISON UNREST-MISSISSIPPI

Lawsuit says Mississippi prisons are 'plagued by violence'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — More than two dozen Mississippi inmates are suing the state. The lawsuit filed Tuesday says the state's understaffed prisons are “plagued by violence.” In a separate development, federal authorities on Tuesday asked the public for information about prison conditions. The special agent in charge of the FBI's Jackson division and Mississippi's two U.S. attorneys say people should report possible civil rights violations or criminal activity. They did not say how extensive a federal investigation might be. Five inmates were killed and an undisclosed number of others were injured in an outburst of violence between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3.

LANDFILL DECISION

Mississippi board denies controversial landfill permit

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s Department of Environmental Quality has denied a permit request that would have placed a third landfill inside a single county where the project faces opposition. News outlets reported that the permit board voted 5-2 on Tuesday against NCL Waste's request to establish a new trash dumping site in Madison County. The board said it won't consider any permits for the project until county supervisors decide whether they need another landfill in an updated needs assessment. The Clarion Ledger reports that some community members and officials have voiced opposition for months. About 100 of those opponents were present at the meeting in Jackson.

MISSISSIPPI INAUGURATION

New Gov. Tate Reeves pledges to work 'for all Mississippi'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican Tate Reeves has been inaugurated as the 65th governor of Mississippi. He took the oath of office Tuesday at the state Capitol. Reeves said in his inaugural speech that he will work “for all Mississippi.” Reeves succeeds Republican Phil Bryant, who served two terms. Reeves was lieutenant governor for the past eight years and previously served eight years as state treasurer. The 45-year-old governor says he wants to clean up the prison system that has been shaken by deadly violence. He also says he wants to increase teacher salaries that are among the lowest in the United States.

FAKE CHECKS-HOMELESS

Trio accused of fake check scheme involving homeless people

FLOWOOD, Miss. (AP) — A group of men are facing federal charges involving counterfeit checks after police say they were found with a typewriter, an embossing machine, and checks totaling $127,000 in Flowood. One of the men told authorities the scheme involved recruiting homeless people to walk inside banks and cash the fake checks. One of the men told a federal agent that he finds homeless people to cash the fake checks, using the typewriter to write their names on the checks, an affidavit states.