Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood addressed the Rotary Club of Jackson on March 26.  Spann School was presented a check to purchase books for students and two Jackson Public Schools teachers were honored.

Brooks Buchanan, Rotary president and assistant general council, C Spire, called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.  The invocation was given, the pledge of allegiance and four-way test were recited, and guests and visiting Rotarians were welcomed.

Selena Swartzfager presented Jackson Public Schools PBIS Teacher of the Quarter awards to:
Ms. Shandra Tucker, a K-4th grade exceptional education teacher at Spann Elementary School and to Ms. Tranita Taylor of Provine High School.  Each received a framed certificate and gifts provided by RCJ members.

Marilyn Blackledge presented a $1,000 check to Spann Elementary School to purchase a book for each student.  These funds are provided by RCJ and by a grant from District 6820.  In attendance to receive the check were Mrs. Nicole Menotti, Principal, Mrs. Lori Torrey, Assistant Principal and Mrs. Jennifer Baker, Library Media Specialist.  RCJ members also read to some of the Spann students each week.

Buchanan announced that Carol Hardwick, executive director, had turned in her resignation and would be leaving this position soon.  Hardwick will stay as a member of the club.  He asked that any interested in the position to contact him at
brbuchanan@cspire.com. Buchanan thanked Carol for her service and members gave her a standing ovation. 

Jim Rosenblatt introduced Jim Hood, Mississippi’s 39th Attorney General.  General Hood said he currently is working with other state attorneys general to send a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbert demanding answers about the company’s business practices and privacy protection because of Cambridge Analytica’s reported harvesting of massive amounts of data on roughly 50 million Facebook users.  These large companies need to be held accountable.  He compared it to what happened to TV stations years ago.  He said those who had taken the online “This is Your Digital Life” test unknowingly provided a portal which allowed not only their personal data, but the personal data of their contacts to be leaked.

Hood discussed measures on which the Mississippi legislature was working:
-Funding for Mississippi highways is needed;
-A bill requiring internet companies to collect Mississippi sales tax, as Main Street merchants are the only ones collecting sales tax to fund the government;

-A lottery could generate $80M - $160M which help fund Pre-K education, having a long-term impact on education;
-Expand Medicaid to provide health care for the poor and provide health care jobs in small towns.

Hood was a founding member of the Rotary Club in Houston, Mississippi.


Other issues with which he is concerned are the opioid epidemic, brain drain of our youth to other states and the cost of college tuition rising.  In five north Mississippi counties where he is from, if a student has a 2.0 average he can go to the community college free.  Tennessee does this statewide.  The Consumer Protection Division is working on cyber crime, helping to provide in-school tech training to students and their parents, who generally know less than their young children about tech matters.  He has also worked to prosecute online child pornographers and crimes against the elderly.  He said we must take care of widows, orphans and those who are in need.

Next Monday, April 2, our speaker will be Noah Barbieri, Millsaps College Rhodes Scholar.