Local governments are donating thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations with legislative approval in Mississippi, with little or no oversight on how the money is spent.
Out of the 23 local and private bills that authorized local governments to provide more than $1.9 million to non-profit organizations in this session, 12 were passed by the Legislature this session and either have been signed by Gov. Phil Bryant or waiting on his signature.
House Bill 1535 authorized the city of Vicksburg to give $10,000 annually to the non-profit We Care Communities, Inc., which, according to the bill, provides GED and community outreach to disadvantaged communities.
HB 1536 authorizes Vicksburg to give $10,000 annually to the Heritage Guild of Vicksburg and Warren County, which restores historic properties.
HB 1556 allows the city of Hattiesburg to provide up to $300,000 this year and in 2019 to the Twin Forks Rising Community Development Corporation, a 501 (c) (3) organization.
HB 1565 authorizes Tallahatchie County to make $50,400 in contributions to Mid-State Opportunity, Inc. over the next three years, which the bill describes as a community organization.
HB 1663 allows Oktibbeha County to provide a one-time $80,000 contribution to the Institute of Community Services, Inc. for the purchase of a school bus for disadvantaged preschoolers participating in the Head Start pre-kindergarten program.
HB 1671 allows Warren County to provide the follow organizations with donations from taxpayer funds this year:
Central Mississippi Prevention Services, Inc — $1,125
Triumph Ministries, Inc. — $11,250
Vicksburg Family Development Service, Inc.— $ 4,500
Warren, Washington, Issaquena, Sharkey Community Action Agency, Inc.— $6,750
Women's Restoration Shelter of Mountain Faith Ministries — $4,500
We Care Communities, Inc.— $5,625
HB 1676 would authorize Jackson County to provide $5,000 annual contributions to Junior Auxiliary of Pascagoula-Moss Point every year until 2022.
HB 1685 would allow Wayne County to increase its annual contribution to Multi-County Community Service Agency, Inc. from $10,000 to $50,000. According to the bill, the organization assists elderly and low-income individuals within the county.
Senate Bill 3018 would allow the city of Vicksburg to give $10,000 annually to the Vicksburg-Warren Veteran Transition Center until 2022.
SB 3021 would authorize Vicksburg to give $50,000 this year to the Kings and Cedars Head Start Centers.
SB 3023 would allow Lee County to provide $50,000 annually to the Sanctuary Hospice House until 2022.
SB 3071 would extend the authorization for Monroe County to provide $250,000 annually to the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.
SB 3076 would authorize Jackson County to give $45,000 annually for the next five years and $5,000 annually there after to the Pascagoula Maritime Museum.