Report: Universities lobby Mississippi lawmakers with tickets, meals

April 10, 2019

Posted: Apr. 11, 2019 11:40 AM
Updated: Apr. 11, 2019 11:40 AM

Speech to Text for Report: Universities lobby Mississippi lawmakers with tickets, meals

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does it look right? the clarion-ledger has found that mississippi's public universities spend millions of dollars to lobby state lawmakers, the ones who decide how much money those very universities should receive. w-t-v-a's amanda haley is live in monroe county to share not just what turned up in that report but why one lawmaker sees no problem with the practice. ole miss and mississippi state -- just two of the universities the newspaper found spend private money to try to get a bigger share of state money from legislators. one way they do that -- free tickets to football games. you may remember ole miss playing in the 20-16 sugar bowl where they crushed oklahoma state. a big game ticket can command big money. but the clarion ledger found more than a dozen mississippi public officials paid nothing to attend. public officials getting game tickets is not something that's unusual. "have you accepted game tickets?" "oh my god. hundreds. hundreds and hundreds and hundreds at southern, at alcorn, at jackson state, at mississippi state at ole miss." the report says longtime state representative steve holland is among the top 10 lawmakers who received the most from mississippi universities. and it's not just legislators. state treasurer lynn fitch -- about 33 hundred dollars in giveaways over the past four years. lieutenant governor tate reeves -- more than 23 hundred dollars. secretary of state delbert hosemann -- about 21 hundred. and governor phil bryant -- less than a thousand. but holland is quick to point out his visits to campus -- whether for sports or for a play -- are a learning opportunity. "and you always wind up getting around when you go to these things you're either sitting with the president or the dean of this school or whatever and you get around to the subject matter we need this. we can go from this level to this level if you have this." public officials getting gifts from lobbyists is illegal in other states. but in mississippi, the practice is legal. holland says he's okay with such gifts as long as they're reported and as long as private money is used. and the two universities told the newspaper that getting lawmakers on campus is helpful in making a case. live in monroe county, amanda haley, wtva nine news. one other
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