Mississippi Edition

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ME 2/28/29 - Coronavirus Preparations | New ESA Bill | 2020 Poetry Out Loud Champion

With new documented cases of the coronavirus emerging in the United States, Mississippi officials make preparations.

Then, a bill to renew the Education Scholarship account gets debated in the Senate.

Plus, the 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Champion.

Segment 1:

Health officials in Mississippi are preparing for an outbreak of COVID-19: the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Currently there are no known cases of the coronavirus in Mississippi. MPB's Kobee Vance talks with State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers and Dr. Bhagyashri Navekele, the Medical Director of the Office of Infection Prevention at UMMC.

Segment 2:

Mississippi lawmakers are in the first stages of rewriting the states special needs voucher program. Educational Scholarship Accounts or ESAs provide about $6,500 to help students with private schools tuition or services. A state oversight agency found there was little accountability. Republican Senator Dennis DeBar of Leakesville chairs the Education Committee. He shares some of the new bill's revisions with MPB's Desare Frazier, and we hear from Chief of Government Relations and Communication Pete Smith.

Segment 3:

Morgan Love left her home school of Murrah in Jackson to attend the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven. This week she returned to the capital city for the state Poetry Out Loud Finals, and walked away a champion. She shares her experience with MPB's Michael Guidry.