The state Division of Medicaid is facing budget deficits that could keep doctors and hospitals in the state from getting paid for providing health care. Medicaid is one of many state agencies staring down reduced budgets next fiscal year. Many are cutting services and laying off staff. Medicaid helps low income Mississippians get health care they ordinarily would go without. Money for Medicaid comes from the state and federal governments. Proportionately, Mississippi gets more federal dollars than any other state for Medicaid. Division of Medicaid chief David Dzielak told MPB's Paul Boger it's possible a financial emergency might have to be declared by the governor.
A prank with a high-tech toy is attracting the attention of the country's top law enforcement agency. Mississippi FBI agents say pointing a toy laser at aircraft can blind pilots and they're prosecuting people for it. Donald Alway is the Special Agent-in-Charge in Mississippi for the FBI. He says it's so serious people found guilty of using the lasers -- a practice called "lasing" -- can face up to five years in prison and an $11,000 fine. Alway spoke with MPB's Desare Frazier.
Gulf Coast residents are remembering a Civil Rights turning point on the sands of Biloxi. It was 57 years ago that the beaches were first integrated. A series of wade-ins started in 1959 to give African Americans on the Gulf Coast equal access to the beaches. Gilbert Mason Jr's father organized the wade-ins. Mason told MPB's Evelina Burnett it's important to commemorate these events on the Gulf Coast.
Businesses, states, cities and artists across the country have expressed their opposition to Mississippi's new "Religious Freedom" law. Even Kermit the Frog isn't exempt from the controversy. A donor to the Jim Henson Boyhood Exhibit in Leland will allow his collection to remain at the museum -- but only after making known his objections to the new law. MPB's Mark Rigsby spoke with Melia Christensen of the Leland Chamber of Commerce. She said the city took action when they learned the collection might be taken away.