BIPEC Updates

10 Sep


BIPEC has released its Legislator “Business & Jobs” Report Card for the 2020 legislative session. The BIPEC Report Card recognizes “Business & Jobs Champions” for their work supporting economic growth, job development, and business-related issues for the legislative session.

View the Senate scores
View the House scores

View an explanation of each bill here

We will be mailing a printed version of the report card to all BIPEC members in the coming days. If you would like additional copies of the report card, please let us know.

At you can view the interactive version of the report card. Click the heading links to switch between Representatives and Senators. The report card is sortable by grade, legislator name, party, and district. You can hover over the bill names to see a description of each bill. When you click on a legislator’s name, you will see a list of bills with links to the bill and to the individual votes recorded at the Mississippi Legislative Website.

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02 Jul

MS Back-to-Business Liability Assurance Act going to the Governor

Legislation that will help protect businesses and healthcare providers against frivolous COVID-19-related claims is on its way to Governor Reeves for his signature. BIPEC led a coalition of business groups to pass what is known as the “Mississippi Back-to-Business Liability Assurance Act.” This important act will preserve both justice and economic recovery in Mississippi by enacting reasonable safeguards against a potential surge of coronavirus lawsuits. We believe that this legislation is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, COVID-19 liability bills in the country. You can view it HERE.
There are a growing number of COVID-19 related lawsuits across the United States. Some personal injury lawyers view individuals exposed to COVID-19 as a vast new pool of plaintiffs, and healthcare providers, businesses, non-profits, charitable, and religious organizations that aid in the response effort or provide essential services as defendants to cast blame. The first lawsuits targeting healthcare providers, employers, retailers, and other businesses have been filed. Many more are to come.
It is good public policy to give our courts clear direction and to distinguish valid claims from meritless lawsuits in this unprecedented time. Many of Mississippi’s employers are concerned that they may not survive the pandemic and are dealing with a crisis through no fault of their own. They are doing everything possible to remain open to serve their customers. We commend legislative leaders for taking this action. Below is a quick synopsis of what the legislation does.

  • Who is covered?
    person is defined as someone who attempts, in good faith, to follow applicable public health guidance.
  • What is the definition of a person?
    Person means an individual, state, political subdivision, association, educational entity, for-profit or non-profit entity, religious organization, or charitable organization.  
  • What is the definition of public health guidance?
    Public health guidance means any written guidance related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, issued by an executive agency or regulatory agency of the federal government or an executive agency of the State of Mississippi.
  • Who is not covered?
    Any defendant shown by clear and convincing evidence to have acted with actual malice or willful or intentional misconduct is not covered.
  • Who has liability protection?
    Premises: This means any physical place serving a commercial, residential, educational, religious, governmental, cultural, charitable, or health care purpose.
    Businesses: The bill protects businesses (essential and non-essential) through the definition of “person.”  
    Product liability: The legislation provides protections to anyone that designs, manufactures, labels, sells, distributes, or donates personal protective equipment in response to COVID-19.

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28 Jun

Mississippi Will Adopt a New State Flag

Last week the BIPEC Board of Directors moved quickly and decisively to take a position on the issue of the state flag. On Sunday evening, legislation to remove and adopt a new state flag passed the House and Senate. It is now on its way to the Governor. Governor Tate Reeves has said publicly that he will sign the bill. The legislation will also create a commission to design a new flag that voters will have a chance to vote on during the November elections.

Last week, BIPEC issued the following statement. “The Business and Industry Political Education Committee’s (BIPEC) mission statement emphasizes that Mississippi businesses should ‘unite, protect, and advance free enterprise.’ Our current flag divides us, hurts our economy, and hinders free enterprise. BIPEC supports legislative efforts to change the current state flag. Mississippi is always competing for economic development opportunities. The current flag puts us at a disadvantage. Mississippi should have a flag that will cast our state in a positive light.”

BIPEC and many of its members played a pivotal role in the passage of this historic legislation.

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23 Jun

Statement Regarding the State Flag of Mississippi

The Business and Industry Political Education Committee’s (BIPEC) mission statement says that Mississippi businesses should “unite, protect, and advance free enterprise.” It is our opinion that the current flag divides us, hurts our economy, and hinders free enterprise.

Mississippi is always competing for economic development opportunities. The current flag puts us at a disadvantage and stands in the way of the growth and opportunities available to us. Mississippi should have a flag that will cast our state in a positive light.

BIPEC supports legislative efforts to change the current state flag.

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10 Jun

Robin Robinson “Best for Business & Jobs”

Robin Robinson

“Best for Business & Jobs”

Friends of Robin Robinson
1179 Township Road
Laurel, MS 39443

The Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) has named Robin Robinson as “Best for Business & Jobs” in an upcoming special election for the Mississippi House of Representatives. The special election in House District 88 (Jones County) is on June 23.

Robin is a retired executive at Sanderson Farms where served as a Cost Accountant, Chief Accountant, Chief Internal Auditor, Manager of Human Resources, Manager of Organization Development, and a member of the company’s Executive Committee. She also served as Chair of the Mississippi Economic Council.

Robinson stated, “I am truly honored to be recognized as the “Best for Business & Jobs” candidate in this election. I want to be a champion for policies that promote economic development and jobs for the residents of House District 88 so that Jones County and Mississippi continue to be an amazing place to work and live.”

BIPEC reviews backgrounds of candidates running for the Legislature. BIPEC disseminates research findings to members and educates its members on the impact elected officials could have on economic growth and MS employers. It is an independent, autonomous organization and is not affiliated with any political party or candidate. BIPEC actions are limited to advocacy, candidate research, and candidate recommendations. BIPEC evaluates many factors while considering recommendations, including potential election unity within the business/employer community.

Derek Easley
President & CEO, BIPEC

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15 Apr

Governor Reeves’ Commission For Economic Recovery

Governor Tate Reeves announced that he has asked leaders of Mississippi’s business community to chart a course for economic recovery and re-opening Mississippi’s economy.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi has seen a nearly 9,000% increase in unemployment claims. Small businesses and their employees are struggling to stay afloat. The Governor’s Commission for Economic Recovery will look at the impact on every industry, geographical region, and community and help the Governor transform our state’s economy under these new conditions through tailored solutions.

“We need Mississippians helping Mississippians. I have asked a trusted group of our state’s top business minds to do just that. Under the ‘Restart Mississippi’ umbrella, they are going to develop a series of recommendations and goals for our new economy. They will study the impact of COVID-19 on our workforce and small businesses. And they will help us recover—day by day,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

The Governor has asked Joe Sanderson of Sanderson Farms, a longtime business leader in our state, to serve as the chairman of the effort. Joining Joe Sanderson, this commission will be comprised of leaders representing Mississippi’s different regions and industries.

Bringing together large economic drivers and small business leaders, this private sector group will develop recommendations for state leaders on economic recovery to help Mississippi businesses and employees navigate our new economy. The commission will study the economic impact of COVID-19 on different industries, communities, and regions with one goal: develop a path forward to Restart Mississippi. 

The full list of members with biographies can be found at



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23 Mar

BIPEC COVID-19 Updates March 23

BIPEC wants to be a resource during these difficult times. We have been in communication with the various trade associations and business groups that participate in BIPEC. We will periodically pass along valuable information that we think could be valuable to your members, businesses, and employees. If you have information that you believe other trade associations, organizations, or companies need to know or learn from, please share with me, and I will be happy to pass along.

From the Governor

From the Lt. Governor

From the Speaker

From the Business Community

Legal Issues

Tools for Business Owners

Websites for Additional Resources and Updates

Derek Easley
President & CEO, BIPEC

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19 Mar

COVID-19 Updates

BIPEC is monitoring the current situation and how it affects our members and the Mississippi economy. The Mississippi Legislature has suspended the legislative session until April 1, 2020.

I have been in communication with the various trade associations and governmental affairs professionals that participate in BIPEC (the same group that meets regularly during the legislative session). I have communicated to them that I want BIPEC to be a resource during these interesting times. One thing that I thought would be helpful is to pass along valuable information that I receive from the various groups that participate in BIPEC. If you have information that you believe other trade associations, organizations, or businesses need to know or learn from, please share with me, and I will be happy to pass along.

For example, I recently passed along information from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) regarding their efforts in DC. NFIB is actively working with Congress to oppose new mandates and costs on the small business community and provide federal support for small business owners. NFIB recently opposed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by mandating all small businesses to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Companies with 500 or more employees are exempt.

NFIB recently held a webinar- Coronavirus Part I (recorded March 13, 2020). You can watch the webinar here: There will be a second webinar tomorrow, Friday, March 20 at 12:00pm EDT. This will be a Congressional and Legal Update for Small Businesses. You can Register Now. You do not have to be a member of NFIB to participate.

How to Request SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

Governor Tate Reeves requested a disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

This request will provide low-interest, Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

You must provide the request to your county emergency management agency. You can find your county EMA contact information at this link Your county emergency management agency should then submit to the MEMA State Coordinating Officer, Todd DeMuth, at The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will then hand over to the Small Business Administration.

“Our county emergency management directors are working tirelessly with our small businesses across the state to ensure they suffer as little as possible during this pandemic. We urge small businesses to work quickly and efficiently to turn in their paperwork to our agency,” says MEMA Director Greg Michel.

The links below will take you to the required worksheet and instructions.

Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet
How to Request a SBA EIDL Declaration_Updated_03_11_2020 original

IRS Tax Payment Deferment

The IRS is offering a 90-day tax deferment for 2019 tax payments ($1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporate filers). Note: Tax filing deadline has not been changed.

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N95 Mask Donations

The White House has asked construction companies to donate their N95 masks. I would encourage any company that uses N95 masks that has a considerable inventory to consider contacting your local hospital about their needs.

Derek Easley
President & CEO, BIPEC

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06 Feb

2020 Mississippi Supreme Court Elections

This year, four of the nine Mississippi Supreme Court seats are up for re-election. The election is November 3. Three of those Justices, Justice Randolph, Griffis, and Coleman, have been recommended by the Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) as best for adhering to the impartiality and fairness on Mississippi’s highest courts.

There was a time not too long ago when Mississippi led the list of “judicial hellholes” (places where plaintiff lawyers ruled), and companies were guaranteed to face juries bent on big judgments. The passage of tort reform curbed that practice, but a plaintiff-friendly Supreme Court could completely undo the gains that we have made. We will work hard to keep a fair and balanced judiciary. Free enterprise and entrepreneurship require an impartial, fair, and rule-of-law judiciary – the idea and practice of “legislating from the bench” undermines the foundation of our free-market economy, thus impacting employers and employees. 

It is for these reasons that BIPEC supports Justices Randolph, Griffis, and Coleman.

Chief Justice Mike Randolph

District 2, Place 3 / BIPEC Recommended in 2004 & 2012 / Appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2004 / won re-election in 2004 & 2012

Associate Judge T. Kenneth Griffis

District 1, Place 1 / BIPEC Recommended in 2006 & 2014 for COA / Elected to COA in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 & 2014. Appointed to SC by Governor Bryant in 2019

Associate Justice Josiah Coleman

District 3, Place 3 / BIPEC Recommended 2012 / Elected in 2012

Supreme Court Districts

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20 Jan

Passing of Dick Wilcox, Founding Member of BIPEC

Richard (Dick) Wilcox, 75, died Friday, January 17, 2020 at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland, MS after a twelve year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. The service for the Burial of the Dead will be Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 11:00 AM at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 305 E. Capitol Street, Jackson, MS. Interment of the ashes will follow immediately after the service at the Columbarium at St. Andrew’s. Visitation will be from 9:30-11:00 AM in the Parish Hall at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

A former political consultant and government affairs representative, Mr. Wilcox is survived by his wife, Sallye Montgomery Wilcox of Madison, MS and four children. They include Russell Wilcox (Stacey) of Madison, MS, Lou Ann Cavett of Madison, MS, Grant Wilcox (Kelly) of Rockwall, TX and Stacey Wilcox (Denise)of Brandon, MS. He had 11 grandchildren: Allie and Reed Wilcox, Tay, Lucy, Nash and Duncan Cavett, Jackson, Paige and Matthew Wilcox and Tyler and Jordan Wilcox. He is also survived by his sister Janice Wilcox Grady of Corinth, MS.

Dick was the second child of Reuben Davis Wilcox and Elaine Ricketts Wilcox, born in Laurel, MS on February 25, 1944. He was in the last class to graduate from Laurel’s George S. Gardner High School in 1962.

He attended the University of Mississippi, where he was active in many organizations including Epsilon Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity, the staff of the Daily Mississippian and student government. After earning a BS in Journalism, Dick worked in communication positions for the Mississippi Economic Council and Millsaps College before joining International Paper Company (IP) in 1972. His 20 year career with IP included regional and company-wide jobs in communication, issue management and government affairs. He represented IP on the Board of Directors of both the Mississippi Manufacturers Association and the Mississippi Forestry Association.

During his time with IP, Dick worked with a group of Mississippi business leaders to create the Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) in 1980. He was a founding officer of the group that became a major political force in state elections. Dick was hired as president and staff CEO of BIPEC after his IP career.

Dick was an active communicant of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral at the time of his death. He also was formerly a member of the Vestry and a Stewardship Chairman at St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson. In earlier years he was president of the Springhill, LA Rotary Club, a director of the Springhill Jaycees and state chairman of the Louisiana Jaycee Junior Golf Tournament.

It was Dick’s wish, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to Hospice Ministries, 450 Towne Center Boulevard, Ridgeland, MS, 39157; St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 305 E. Capitol St., Jackson, MS, 39202 or the Boy Scouts of America, 855 Riverside Drive, Jackson, MS 39202.

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