SOS Joins in International Charity Fraud Awareness Week

Biloxi, Miss. (WLOX) – Despite being one of the poorest states in the nation, Mississippi residents always rank among the most charitable in America. So it’s important to make sure the organizations we give to are on the up and up.

This week (October 21-25) is the second annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW). It’s a coordinated international campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving.

“Our citizens are the most giving in the nation and we want to ensure the money they are donating is going to those who need it the most—and not a fraudulent entity,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “Check the charity on our website or call us before making a donation if you have a question about charity registration and regulation in Mississippi.”

General tips for consumers considering donating to a charity include:

  • Ask for the charity’s name, website, and physical location;
  • Ask how much of any donation will go to the charitable program you want to support;
  • Check the Secretary of State’s website to see whether the charity is registered in Mississippi;
  • Search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint.” See what other people say about it;
  • Check out the charity’s report and ratings at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Guidestar;
  • Use the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search to see if your donation is tax-deductible;
  • Never pay with cash, a gift card, or by wiring money; and
  • Consider paying by credit card, but never over the phone, and only after receipt of written information you can verify.

ICFAW is also emphasizing the importance of non-profit and charitable organizations adopting good cybersecurity practices to protect donor and client information. The Federal Trade Commission has created a guide for small businesses and non-profits about the basics of cybersecurity, and has a blog post with more information specifically for non-profits. General cybersecurity tips for non-profits include:

  • Update your software – set it to update automatically. Breaches often happen when vulnerabilities exist because companies did not install the latest update or patch;
  • Secure your files – make a back-up offline so if there’s a ransomware attack, your company can stay up and running;
  • Require passwords for all devices;
  • Use multi-factor authentication (like a PIN or key); and
  • Encrypt devices for another layer of protection of sensitive information.

Throughout International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office’s Facebook and Twitter pages will feature wise giving tips for consumers. Follow the action at #CharityFraudOut2019 and #CharityFraudOut.

For more information about registered charities in Mississippi, visit www.sos.ms.gov/charities or call (601) 359-1599.

View Original Story

Hosemann Congratulates Bay-Waveland School District on Rise from ‘C’ to ‘A’ Rating

Bay St. Louis, Miss. (WLOX) – Thursday was election day for some students in Bay St. Louis. North Bay Elementary School held a mock election as part of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s “Promote the Vote” campaign.

Even though the ballots are for pretend, heading to the polls taught the students a very real lesson on making their voices heard. This year’s theme was my voice, my vote.

“Voting is where you get to say something that you believe in, and I think that’s pretty cool,” said fourth-grader Hayden Pate.

“We get to pick our own people, and not we get forced to pick one,” said student Liberty Bell.

The school’s front lobby turned into a voting precinct as more than 400 third, fourth and fifth graders marked their choice for Mississippi’s next governor.

For Marcus Dampier, he didn’t take the decision lightly. The fourth-grader looked at the issues beforehand.

“I want teachers to have good pay and pay their bills off,” Dampier said.

It’s a good exercise in civic responsibility.

“They aren’t old enough to vote, but one day they will be old enough to vote and how when they say comes they need to become educated on the facts and not just go on hearsay and what they hear people talking. That they need to go and research it and look into things,” said North Bay principal Crystal Anderson.

This mock election was made to feel as real as possible. Students even had their own voter ID cards.

State representative candidates Brent Anderson and Wendy McDonald, along with Waveland Mayor Mike Smith and Bay Saint Louis Mayor Mike Favre, served as the poll workers.

“When as they get old and all and realize this is some of the most important choices you can make some of them, and it comes down to everybody, and hopefully they’ll continue this throughout time,” Favre said.

The students’ votes may not count in November, but the importance of the day’s experience is not lost.

“I hope they go home and this carries into their families and their communities, and their people go and vote on election day,” Anderson said.

Jim Hood won the mock election with 42% of the vote. The students found out the results during an assembly Thursday afternoon. Secretary of State Hosemann was there to congratulate the students on a successful election and on being an ‘A’ rated school.

View Original Story

SOS: Record $11.7 Million in New Waterfront Projects Headed to Coast

Gulfport, Miss. (Sun Herald) – A record $11.74 million from the Tidelands Trust Fund is coming back to the Coast for new boardwalks, boat ramps, waterfront parks and other improvements in South Mississippi.

“You’ll see it spread all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who presented a ceremonial check Wednesday as local officials and state Legislators applauded.

The money is collected from casinos and other businesses that sit on leases of land owned by the state, as well as from casinos that moved on-shore after Hurricane Katrina in lieu of tidelands leases. The money goes into a trust fund for use by all Mississippi residents.

Hosemann, whose administers the Tidelands Trust Fund, said $6.4 million will pay for public access projects. Another $3.5 million goes to support the operations of the Department of Marine Resources and $1 million is for bond repayment.

The state Legislature determines which projects to fund. The projects funded are:

Bay St. Louis

  • $250,000 — Rutherford Fishing Pier extension Biloxi
  • $350,000 — West Biloxi Boardwalk and boat launch, phase 2
  • $250,000 — Biloxi River Park and restoration at Eagle Point
  • $100,000 — Biloxi dredging and sediment removal
  • $50,000 — Golden Fisherman Phase 2 at Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum

Diamondhead

  • $250,000 — Montjoy Creek & Rotten Bayou public access amenities

D’Iberville

  • $400,000 — Tchoutacabouffa River Park Phase II

Gautier

  • $250,000 — Gautier’s Mary Walker Bayou parks program
  • $250,000 — Shepard State Park upgrades

Gulfport

  • $200,000 — Brickyard Bayou educational trail/outdoor classroom
  • $200,000 — Institute of Marine Mammal Studies education and outreach program
  • $150,000 — Gulfport boat launch improvement
  • $150,000 — Lynn Meadows Discovery Center building restoration II

Hancock County

  • $400,000 — McLeod Park RV Campsite Expansion and pier construction
  • $75,000 — Jourdan River Shores canal dredging

Harrison County

  • $600,000 — West Biloxi Boardwalk and boat launch
  • $150,000 — Biloxi River Boat Launch

Jackson County

  • $200,000— Fort Bayou boat launch improvements Phase IV
  • $100,000 — Gulf Coast Research Laboratory public access enhancement, requested by University of Southern Mississippi

Long Beach

  • $500,000 — Long Beach Harbor improvements

Moss Point

  • $225,000 — Highway 613 Sunset Pier and sidewalk extension

Ocean Springs

  • $225,000 — East Beach accessibility
  • $150,000 — Front Beach Living Shoreline Phase II

Pascagoula

  • $450,000 — Lighthouse Park improvements

Pass Christian

  • $150,000 — West Harbor electrical improvements
  • $60,000 — East Harbor repairs to water distribution system

Waveland

  • $225,000 — Handicap accessible walkway and ramp to water

Department of Marine Resources

  • $45,000 — Gulf of Mexico Alliance coastal resilience coordinator

WHO PAYS?

Coast casinos paid $8 million into the Tidelands Trust Fund through leases and in lieu of payments for on-shore casinos. Scarlet Pearl and Silver Slipper casinos, built on-shore after Hurricane Katrina, pay $508,000 annually in Tidelands assessments, along with Treasure Bay, Palace Casino and Harrah’s Gulf Coast. MGM Resorts’ Beau Rivage, which still operates partially over water, pays $1.6 million.

Others that pay tidelands funds are shipping companies like Signet Maritime Corp. ($143,000) and Omega Shipyard ($2,669), and the Jackson County Port Authority, which contributes $636,000.

Utility companies with lines in the tidelands areas pay into the trust fund along with $160 for those trying to farm oysters off Deer Island, the yacht clubs and the National Audubon Society ($400.)

Collections have grown dramatically over the past decade and Hosemann said in the 12 years since he became Secretary of State, $104 million in Tidelands Funds were turned back for public use.

View Original Story

Hosemann campaigns on infrastructure solutions, budget reforms

Tupelo, Miss. (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal) – With the state’s general election less than three weeks away, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is campaigning to be the next lieutenant governor by advocating for the need to revamp the structure of state agencies and repair the state’s deteriorating infrastructure.

Hosemann, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, met with the Daily Journal’s editorial board on Monday, where he said he wants to lead reforms to the way the state government treats its gasoline tax by handing a local gasoline tax option over to county government.

In Monday’s interview, Hosemann said he is still developing some of the details of the plan, but said if a local board of supervisors wanted to enact the local gasoline tax within their county, it could vote to put the tax on a ballot initiative for the county residents to vote on. If the voters approve the initiative, the county could receive 100% of those taxes.

Currently, the state has enacted a gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, where the state government keeps a portion of the tax and a certain portion goes to city and county governments.

“There’s no reason for me to tax the residents of Lee County 12 cents a gallon when you’ve got your roads and bridges fine. It would be where roads and bridges aren’t OK,” Hosemann said. “I don’t see why I have to have a general tax running through the city of Jackson and send you back 23 cents on the dollar when I can give you 100 cents on the dollar. And, if you don’t need it, don’t tax yourself.”

If elected, Hosemann also plans to reform the structure of some state agencies and ask most state agencies to reduce their overall budgets by 1% in order to give many public employees a salary increase, including public school teachers and prison workers. The departments which would not be required to reduce their budget would be education, mental health, child protective services, corrections and the state’s court system.

Hosemann also said he plans to lead and govern the Mississippi State Senate in a bipartisan fashion that is dedicated to solving issues and saying he would work with anyone, regardless of a political party.

He told the Daily Journal, if elected, he intends to interview all of the state’s 52 senators prior to taking office to get a feel for which committee state senators are interested in serving on, and Hosemann said he intends to place both Republicans and Democrats as leaders of committees.

“To me, you get elected under a party designation, but (voters) have asked me ‘Are you going to work across the aisle?’ I don’t see an aisle,” Hosemann said. “After we’ve gotten elected and everybody’s gone through that process, you’ve got to govern.”

Hosemann’s campaign also comes in the middle of a contentious race for governor. The winner of the governor’s race could influence what legislation is voted on in the legislature and impact the relationship between the lieutenant governor and the governor. Previously, news outlet WJTV asked Hosemann who he planned to support in the governor’s race, and he declined to endorse a candidate.

“I think our party will best be served by everybody settling a bit before we do any endorsements and any other things with it,” Hosemann told WJTV last month.

In Monday’s editorial board meeting, Hosemann was slightly hesitant to give an answer on which candidate for governor he wants to work with, but he did say he “wants a Republican governor.”

“Whoever the voters send me, I’m going to work with,” Hosemann said. “I have my preferences, but whoever the voters send me, I’m going to make Mississippi better.”

Hosemann is running against state Rep. Jay Hughes, a Democrat from Oxford, who has run a campaign centered on education policy and working class economic interests. Mississippians will have a chance to vote for lieutenant governor in the general election on Nov. 5.

View Original Story

NFIB Mississippi PAC Endorses Hosemann for Lt. Governor

Jackson, Miss. (NFIB) – The NFIB Mississippi PAC has endorsed Delbert Hosemann for lieutenant governor. The political action committee is comprised exclusively of NFIB members in Mississippi, and its endorsement is based on a survey of NFIB members throughout the state.

“Small business drives Mississippi’s economy, which is why we need leaders like Delbert Hosemann,” said Ron Aldridge, NFIB’s state director for Mississippi.

“Delbert Hosemann is the clear choice for Mississippi’s small businesses,” Aldridge said. “As secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann has shown our small business members that he’s a problem solver who holds true to his commitments. His innovative efforts provided access to highly valuable market and business data throughout our state that gives every Mississippian desiring to create, operate and grow their own business a greater opportunity for success.

“Throughout his career, Delbert Hosemann has sought and listened to the voice of Mississippi’s small businesses,” Aldridge said. “He successfully led the legislative efforts to cut the red tape for creating a business.

“Delbert Hosemann is an effective leader who gets results with the most efficient use of resources. He understands the challenges small businesses face, and he knows that when small business thrives, our communities do, too.

“This year’s election is critical to Mississippi’s future, which is why I am proud to announce the NFIB Mississippi PAC’s support for Delbert Hosemann as lieutenant governor.”

Today’s endorsement puts the considerable grassroots support of the state’s small businesses behind Hosemann’s campaign. Small business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for recruiting friends, family members and acquaintances to vote.

View Original Story

BIPEC Names Delbert Hosemann ‘Best for Business & Jobs’

Jackson, Miss. (BIPEC) – The Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) has named Delbert Hosemann as “Best for Business and Jobs.” BIPEC reviews backgrounds and key positions of candidates and disseminates research findings to members and educates its membership on the impact that elected officials could have on economic growth and Mississippi employers.

“Since first being elected as Secretary of State in 2007, Delbert Hosemann has worked tirelessly to make Mississippi more business-friendly and more attractive for economic development. He will continue those efforts as Lt. Governor,” said Derek Easley, BIPEC President & CEO. “Secretary Hosemann has a strong record of supporting free enterprise and job creators in our state.”

BIPEC is a 501c6 membership organization founded in 1980 by Mississippi’s business and professional leaders. BIPEC is a nonprofit association comprised of individuals, trade associations, and companies who unite to protect and advance free enterprise through research, education, and member action. BIPEC disseminates credible research findings to BIPEC members, educates BIPEC’s membership network on the impact that legislator and judge-made decisions have on Mississippi’s economic growth, business attractiveness and general prosperity of the State’s employers.

OPINION: Thumbs Up for Hosemann’s Infrastructure Plan

Tupelo, Miss. (Daily Journal) – Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, laid out several new initiatives Friday, one focused on infusing counties and cities with funds necessary to repair deteriorating roads and bridges.

To provide aid for local roads and bridges, Hosemann said he would consider allowing counties the power to raise the tax on their own, an initiative we support.

“What I’m going to propose is a local option use tax,” Hosemann said. “That means that every county will be able to determine whether or not they want to raise taxes on gasoline diesel or gasoline. I want to push our money back to the counties.”

Hosemann supports allowing a local option user fee on gasoline from two to six cents a gallon. The option would include the legal requirement that all money raised would go directly to the county and would be used only on repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure, not equipment, new construction, salaries, or other costs.

We support this idea and believe it should be voted on at the local ballot box with a defined list of projects presented to the community prior to being placed on the ballot. The list should be based on projected collections over a defined period of time, such as five years, with all money collected only being used for those approved at the ballot box.

During the 2018 Special Session, the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act was passed and addresses some of these infrastructure concerns. The Act ensures that “an amount equal to a portion of the use tax revenue collected under the Mississippi use tax law” is distributed to municipalities to support the “repair, maintenance and reconstruction” of their roads, streets and bridges. It also provides for a portion of use tax revenue collected to be deposited into the local system bridge replacement and rehabilitation fund.

“Right now, more than 430 local bridges are closed because they are too dangerous to travel on and there are thousands of miles of local roads which are in need of caretaking,” Hosemann said. “This is an economic and public safety problem because our employees cannot get to work, our products cannot get to market, our children cannot get to school safely, and our counties need solutions.”

This initiative puts the power in the hands of the counties, and we believe the voters, where it should be, to decide what additional infrastructure resources are needed.

View Original Story

Lt. Governor Candidate Hosemann Visits Meridian

Meridian, Miss. (WTOK) – Delbert Hosemann, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, visited Meridian Monday evening.

Hosemann addressed an excited crowd at Squealer’s BBQ on several topics, including moving Meridian forward.

“We have a lot of potential here, and it’s time, Meridian; it’s time,” said Hosemann. “We’ve got The MAX and a lot of things going on here. We just need to capitalize on our economic development.”

While in the Queen City, Hosemann made several stops including small businesses. He considers the growth of technical programs and economic development as key goals, if elected.

View Original Story

Lt. governor candidate Hosemann proposes plan to raise state employee salaries

Waynesboro, Miss. (WDAM) – Secretary of State and Republican nominee for lieutenant governor Delbert Hosemann was in Waynesboro on Wednesday visiting community leaders, law enforcement and supporters in the area.

Along with his plan to speed up the process of getting a Mississippi driver’s license, Hosemann also talked at length about his proposal to raise state worker’s salaries.

Under the plan, state employees would receive up to a 3% pay increase, which would be funded by a 1% savings in administrative and overhead expenses in almost every state agency.

However, departments in education, mental health, Child Protective Services, corrections along with district attorneys and trial judges would be exempt.

Hosemann said that he turned back nearly $1.5 million to the general fund this year from his lower budget and is asking other departments and agencies to do the same.

“Reduce your budget by 1%, and then what we’re going to do is give that money back as pay raises to our employees that work so hard in Mississippi,” Hosemann said. “Everybody that you look at is very under compensated for the work that they’re doing, and so I’m asking our other state agencies to do what I’ve already done, take a 1% reduction and let’s give that as a pay raise back to our employees.”

Other states have benefited from similar proposals and in the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers approved their first across-the-board raise for employees in several years. The raise was intended to move positions closer to the relevant market rate so that employees would receive either a position realignment amount, if the amount to reach the market rate was less than 3%.

See Original Story