Mississippi Edition


Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

On today's show: The fight to establish a labor union at the Nissan plant in Canton is being reignited with an upcoming rally. Then, after a StoryCorp conversation from Mississippi, find out where free legal help is now available to Mississippians recovering from last month's devastating tornadoes.

More Episodes


4/13/21 - Rental Relief Program | Understaffing in Prisons | Your Vote, Your Voice - Part 2

A federal emergency relief program targets those facing rent and utility hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.Then, understaffing in prisons across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama has been a problem for years. We examine why it's so difficult to find and keep new correctional officers.Plus, in our second installment of Your Vote, Your Voice, we explore the different efforts and perspectives shaping the debate over extended early voting.Segment 1:Tenants in Mississippi who are behind on their rent and utility bills due to the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for emergency rental assistance through a federal relief program.Mississippi Home Corporation is administering the emergency rental assistance program tasked with allocating $186 million in aid to tenants who facing financial hardships brought on by lost income, unemployment or increased expenses because of the pandemic.Executive Director Scott Spivey shares more with our Desare Frazier.Segment 2:Across the Gulf States prisons are understaffed, which can mean dangerous and unstable conditions for prisoners and guards. Mississippi is addressing the issue head-on with a unique approach. From the Gulf States Newsroom, Becca Schimmel takes a look at that recruitment effort and examines why it’s so difficult to retain correctional officers.Segment 3:In the 2020 election, more than one in six of the 1.3 million ballots cast in Mississippi were some form of absentee ballot.This record coincided with a nation-wide trend - due to the coronavirus pandemic - of larger than usual early and absentee voting.Since then, the record use of mail-in and absentee ballots have brought with it unsubstantiated claims of election fraud and insecurity, propagated by many high profile Republicans - including three of Mississippi's House delegation and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.All four voted against the certification of the 2020 election results, and Senator Hyde-Smith received national attention for her comments on Sunday "Souls to the Polls" voting.False allegations of fraud and insecurity aside, the 2020 election did reveal a nation-wide appetite for expansion of early voting options, including mail-in ballots. Your Vote, Your Voice explores the different efforts and perspectives shaping the debate over extended early voting in Mississippi.

4/12/21 - Variants and Vaccines | Your Vote, Your Voice - Part 1 | Initiative 76

Health leaders provide updates on coronavirus vaccinations andtransmission in the state.Then, in the first installment of our Your Vote, Your Voice series, we examine the basic voting requirements in Mississippi.Plus, a coalition including the NAACP is leading the drive to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot.Segment 1:Overall coronavirus transmission in Mississippi is down this spring compared to the surge in cases earlier this year.But the threat of emerging variants in the U.S. has health officials expressing some caution.State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says transmission of those variants - especially the U.K. variant - in other states is starting to have an effect. Reports show the state's vaccination rates lagging behind the national average.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says there is a perception that Mississippi is struggling more than actually is.Segment 2:Voting is the cornerstone of the United States' representative democracy, and each individual state has incredible power to determine how its residents participate in the voting process.In the first installment of Your Vote, Your Voice, we examine the basic voting requirements in Mississippi.Secretary of State Michael Watson joins our Michael Guidry to examine the year-to-year elections in the Magnolia State, and the procedures for registering for and casting your vote.Segment 3:Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation with the lowest health outcomes.And the state is one of more than a dozen in the nation that has punted on expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act - a move that would provide health coverage for Mississippi's working poor.Now, a coalition is forming to put the decision in the hands of the voters.Healthcare for Mississippi, a non-profit of around 15 advocacy groups - including the NAACP - has filed the preliminary paperwork to put Initiative 76 on the ballot. Corey Wiggins is Executive Director of the Mississippi Chapter of the NAACP. He tells our Desare Frazier advocates have lobbied lawmakers to expand Medicaid, but there isn’t enough legislative support.So he wants to help give residents a voice in the matter.

4/9/21 - Conversation with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs | Migrant Works Pleas for Protection

Overall coronavirus cases are trending down. Vaccine rollout is now in its fifth month. We talk to the State Health Officer about how Mississippi is faring in its year long fight against COVID-19.Plus, migrant workers profoundly affected by the ICE raid of 2019, are calling on action from the Biden Administration.Segment 1:Vaccines for COVID-19 have been available to all Mississippi residents 18 and over for more than three weeks now, but the effort to educate and encourage vaccination has been a five month endeavor for the Department of Health.Still, despite being one of only a few states to offer widen availability, the rate of Mississippians receiving at least one dose is below the national average.About one in every four Mississippi residents have gotten one shot - a rate that falls eight points below the national average of 33 percent.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says hesitancy and access have been the two most significant challenges in getting the state to the roughly 80 percent rate needed to reach a level of herb immunity.In part one of our conversation, we discuss vaccine hesitancy, access, the question of booster shots.Segment 2:During the winter wave of coronavirus cases and deaths, residents in long term care facilities were especially hard-hit.The number of outbreaks in those facilities reached their highest points in January, right when vaccine distribution began in the state.Now, three months later, outbreaks and deaths within that group has declined significantly.We pick up our conversation with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs discussing the vaccine effort in long term care facilities, and how a recent health grant from the CDC can help Mississippi continue it's fight against COVID-19.Segment 3:Advocates for immigrant workers in Mississippi are calling on the Biden administration to overturn policies that target undocumented immigrant communities.They say the President can start by protecting those affected by the 2019 ICE raids.Yesterday, those advocates gathered outside the Department of Labor's capital city office to deliver a letter to the Wage and Hour Division, urging the Biden administration to create protections for immigrant workers