Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CST

MISSISSIPPI HOUSE-ELECTION CHALLENGE

Panel: Dem who won by 14 votes should remain as state rep

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A bipartisan committee says the Mississippi House should not overturn a close election. Democrat Hester Jackson McCray was certified in November as the winner by 14 votes over Republican Ashley Henley. They ran for a Mississippi House seat in DeSoto County. Henley held the seat for one term. She filed papers challenging her loss, saying she found irregularities in some voting. The House committee heard testimony Wednesday from DeSoto County election officials who said votes were properly counted. The full House will consider the recommendation to keep McCray in office. She was inaugurated with other lawmakers. She's the first African American lawmaker from DeSoto County.

MISSISSIPPI LOTTERY-NEW GAMES

Powerball, Mega Millions tickets go on sale Thursday

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — People throughout Mississippi can try their luck at massive jackpot games like the Powerball and Mega Millions for the first time Thursday, starting at 3 a.m. That's when those multi-state games go online at about 1,450 retailers throughout the state, allowing people 21 and older to play, The Commercial Dispatch reported. In 2018, state lawmakers authorized lottery sales to raise money primarily for infrastructure. Mississippi retailers first began selling scratch-off tickets in November.

SUSPICIOUS FIRES-REWARD

Mississippi fire marshal offers $5K reward for info on fires

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — The State Fire Marshal's office is offering a $5,000 reward for information on a rash of fires in rural Lauderdale County.  Sheriff Billy Sollie told The Meridian Star that eight suspicious fires have been reported over the last year in the Northwest part of the county. He says the buildings were abandoned when the fires occurred, and no injuries were reported.  Sollie said anyone with information about the fires should call East Mississippi Crimestoppers at 1-855-485-TIPS or the sheriff's office.

FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR-CONSULTING

Mississippi former Gov. Phil Bryant joins consulting firm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is joining a consulting firm founded by an attorney who was his chief of staff. The firm was founded in 2019 by Joey Songy. A news release Wednesday said it's now called Bryant Songy Snell. The third partner is Bryant's daughter, Katie Snell, who is an attorney. Bryant is a Republican who ended his eight years as governor on Jan. 14. He previously served four years as lieutenant governor and 11 years as state auditor. The news release said the firm will focus on economic and business development, public relations, strategic planning and government affairs.

MISSISSIPPI-INMATE DEATH

Mississippi inmate dies after collapsing at regional prison

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Corrections says an autopsy will be done on an inmate who died after he became ill while talking to a relative on the telephone. The department says 28-year-old Limarion Reaves collapsed Tuesday at the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility in DeKalb. Warden Johnny Crockett says medical staff used CPR and a defibrillator until an ambulance arrived. Reaves died at a local hospital. He is at least the 13th Mississippi inmate to die since late December. Most of the other deaths happened at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, and many happened amid outbursts of violence.

CAR SHOOTING-VIDEO

Video of man firing gun while driving leads to arrest

QUITMAN, Miss. (AP) — Police in Mississippi have arrested a man accused of firing shots from a pistol while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. WAPT-TV reports 18-year-old Joseph Gage Smith was arrested Monday by the Clarke County Sheriff's Office. Deputies believe the video that was shared more than 1,000 times on social media was recorded within the last several weeks. Smith is charged with misdemeanor shooting across a highway. He was booked on a $400 bond. It's unclear whether he had an attorney who could speak for him.