1/19/21 - Bolstered Vaccine Effort | State Lawmakers Weigh in on Potential Threats | Grant for Humanities in MS Prisons
As COVID-19 deaths climb following the holiday surge, state officials continue their push to make more coronavirus vaccines available to eligible residents.
Then, with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaching, state capitals are under heightened security. We hear from state lawmakers on the insurrection in Washington and the challenge of working in an charged political climate.
Plus, a new grant brings more humanities courses to Mississippi's prisons.
State officials say they have improved the process for scheduling coronavirus vaccines amid a boom in demand from eligible recipients. Last week, Mississippians overwhelmed the state's scheduling apparatus causing long delays and website crashes. Governor Tate Reeves says many of those problems have been addressed, and says the recent surge in demand is resulting in Mississippi rising in the nation's performance metrics for vaccine distribution. Officials still acknowledge the demand for the shots outnumbers the state's supply of doses. Reeves says there will continue to be some limitations as the state moves to inoculate more residents in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow's Presidential inauguration is being enveloped in unprecedented levels of security following the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The FBI has urged officials at all 50 state capitols to be on heightened alert, citing threats they've uncovered following the January 6th riot. Some Mississippi state legislators say they feel confident law enforcement is prepared to handle any threats in Jackson this week. MPB's Desare Frazier speaks with Senators Dean Kirby (R) and John Horhn (D).
Three Mississippi Community Colleges are receiving funds through a recent grant to support humanities education in state prisons. The Mississippi Humanities Council says The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's “The Future of Higher Learning in Prison” program will support humanities courses taught by Hinds, Northeast Mississippi, and Mississippi Delta Community Colleges for the next two years as part of a new Community College Prison Education Consortium. Stuart Rockoff is Executive Director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. He says the grant allows the Council to create a more substantial program for inmates seeking higher education opportunities.