First Cotton Bloom of 2015
Texting while driving now banned in state
There’s good news and bad news for Mississippi drivers effective July 1. A law passed by the Legislature in 2015 eliminates the state’s vehicle inspection stickers and the $5 fee that went along with them.
The bad news? Texting on cell phones while driving is now against the law, and violators could be fined $25 per violation. Posting to social media from a mobile device and using apps while driving is also now banned. The fine increases to $100 per incident in 2016.
Town, county wait to hear judge’s ruling
After a half a day of proceedings on June 18, Judge Henry Lackey said he would first review the transcript and then issue a ruling, the initial skirmish in a battle among three local entities for gaming tax revenue.
Last week’s hearing brought attorneys and witnesses to the Tunica County Courthouse to present their arguments on motions for injunctive relief from Tunica County and also filed on behalf of the Town of Tunica.
The town asked the judge to order the county to pay the gaming taxes it has withheld since last fall and to resume paying the town its share of a 3.2 percent local tax assessed on gaming. The county asked the judge to rule that it does not have to pay the town or the school while their lawsuit makes its way through the courts.
Board splits over Chandler evaluation
On June 10, the Board of Education awarded Superintendent Steve Chandler a perfect evaluation for the year 2014. Some say it was justified while others say it was undeserved.
Board president Tomaka Henderson Cotton said the board followed a model used by the Mississippi School Boards Association and that the evaluation covers a calendar year, instead of school year. Board members were each given a copy of the evaluation to fill out in December 2014, according to minutes from the Board of Education’s Dec. 10 meeting.
In their April 8 meeting, the board took up the matter in executive session. Cotton said District 1 school board member Marilyn Young recused herself from the discussion. Participating members were: Cotton, Larry Braziel of District 3, Delois Hardiman of District 4 and Rev. Joe Anderson of District 5.
Three of the four, Cotton, Anderson and Hardiman, awarded Chandler satisfactory marks in all areas. Braziel gave Chandler unsatisfactory marks in all areas. The board utilized the ratings from the majority of the members, giving Chandler an overall evaluation of excellent for 2014, Cotton said.
Young said in a recent interview she did not recuse herself but told members that she would not participate in the awarding of a perfect evaluation. She said she did not have her evaluation with her on April 8 because she brought it to several previous meetings and the matter was not discussed.
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