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No more rallies inside Mississippi Capitol, leaders say

(Craig Ford)

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.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 2:34 PM

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.

"Unfortunately, enforcement of this policy has been lax, uneven, and sometimes even non-existent, and for this we take full responsibility," Burton and Snowden said.

A parent who wanted to have an event supporting public schools said the state Department of Finance and Administration denied her request to reserve space for the event inside the Capitol after she said she expected at least 100 people to attend, Mississippi Today reported Wednesday.

Burton and Snowden said that the existing policy banning rallies inside the Capitol "will be strictly enforced immediately."

"We acknowledge that enforcement of this pre-existing policy at this time (mid-session) opens us up to the allegation that we are somehow playing favorites or appearing unfair," Burton and Snowden said in the statement. "We accept the unfortunate optics of the situation we find ourselves in. Regardless, however, we are not prepared to allow a bad situation to worsen through continued inaction."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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