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10 Local Stories of the Week

The trial of Downtown Jackson Partners President Ben Allen (pictured) drew to a close without the prosecution’s “whistleblower,” his former assistant Linda Brune, ever entering the courtroom.

The trial of Downtown Jackson Partners President Ben Allen (pictured) drew to a close without the prosecution’s “whistleblower,” his former assistant Linda Brune, ever entering the courtroom. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them:

  1. Legislation to move the Department of Mental Health under the policy direction of the governor passed the Senate by one vote on Feb. 9, after a contentious debate and bi-partisan opposition to the bill that initially included the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services.
  2. Both dummy bills that Mississippi legislators could have used to change the state's education funding formula died in the House and the Senate on Feb. 9, but attempts to implement weighted student funding are still possible in this legislative session, lawmakers said Thursday.
  3. The Mississippi House passed the "Back the Badge Act of 2017," which would increases penalties for first-degree and capital murder of law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and first responders.
  4. The Senate unanimously passed campaign-finance reform Wednesday that would prohibit the personal use of campaign-finance funds on items including residential or household items, mortgages, funeral expenses, clothing or automobiles, tuition payments, non-documented loans or travel.
  5. The City of Jackson could receive financial support for its infrastructure this year, but how that will work varies on both ends of the statehouse. The Senate and House versions of Jackson infrastructure bills look different this year.
  6. Mayor Tony Yarber and his administration recently became defendants in another sexual-harassment lawsuit, this time saddled with charges of steering city contracts to campaign supporters.
  7. The jury in the trial of Downtown Jackson Partners President Ben Allen found Allen guilty of paying $1,738.37 in bills for his and his wife's cell phones using DJP funds but cleared him on 9 other counts.
  8. The Mississippi House passes House Bill 1224, which would make school districts with an "A" or "B" accountability ranking exempt from certain reporting requirements.
  9. The defense rests in the trial of Downtown Jackson Partners President Ben Allen for allegedly embezzling and mishandling public resources.
  10. Gov. Phil Bryant terminated his campaign-finance account on Jan. 31, disbursing the funds to other political committees, candidates and charitable organizations.

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