BIPEC Updates

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.

Read more:

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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04 Oct

Jim Hood Spending Proposals

A recent Mississippi Today article raised the question of how Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood would pay for the numerous proposals he has been making in his bid to be Mississippi’s next Governor. It is an excellent question, so we here at the Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) thought it would be a good idea to try and find out exactly how much these proposals would cost and how it would affect taxpayers.

BIPEC seeks to serve its members by providing relevant information during elections, including analyses of proposals made by statewide and legislative candidates. These analyses are not intended to opine on the validity of a proposal but rather provide members with an overview of anticipated new state spending, which may require a reduction in government services, increased taxes, or growth in revenues to be revenue neutral.

Below you will find an analysis of Jim Hood’s major proposals, along with cost estimates. These estimates are based on information from the MS Department of Education, Department of Revenue, Legislative Budget Office, Community College Board, Division of Medicaid, and public statements by the Jim Hood campaign.

Statewide pre-k $35,000,000
Increase funding for MS Adequate Education Program $261,000,000
Increasing teacher pay raise & recalibrating salary schedule $270,000,000
Expand Medicaid $220,000,000
Free community college $95,200,000
Hold harmless provision for grocery tax reduction (cities & educational entities) $60,500,000
TOTAL: $941,700,000


What Does this Mean?
Total general fund appropriations & re-appropriations for FY 2020 (from LBO) $5,746,185,920
Cost of Hood proposals $941,700,000
Increases total budget by 16.4%
Amount per taxpayer
(1,215,412 income taxpayers according to DOR)
*These estimates are based on information from the following sources: Department of Education, Department of Revenue, Legislative Budget Office, Community College Board, Division of Medicaid, and public statements by the Jim Hood campaign.

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22 Feb

Registration Open for BIPEC’s 39th Annual Meeting

2019 BIPEC Annual Luncheon

Join us March 7, 2019 at 11:30 am at Old Capitol Inn in Jackson for BIPEC’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon with MS Legislators and Statewide Officials.

Click here to register your company

Click here to register as an individual


All legislators and statewide officials are invited to attend the luncheon.

Invited special guests include:

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30 Aug

BIPEC Recommends Judge Jeff Weill for Court of Appeals

BIPEC President & CEO, Derek Easley, announced today that the organization recommends Judge Jeff Weill for the Mississippi Court of Appeals. Judge Weill is running in the seat that Justice Joe Lee is vacating in January.

“It is extremely important to BIPEC members and their representative trade and professional associations that we support candidates willing to uphold the constitutional separation of powers which distinguishes the intent, charge and actions of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government,” said Easley. “Judge Weill will make an outstanding Court of Appeals Justice and will represent our state with dignity and integrity.”

Judge Weill has presided in more than 130 jury trials to verdict during his eight years as a Circuit Court Judge, and over 100 of those were criminal trials involving major felonies. Judge Weill also brings a wealth of civil litigation experience to the appellate bench, as a trial judge, a former litigator and a Harvard trained mediator.

Easley went on to say, “In order for Mississippi’s economy to grow and for jobs to be created, we must have an impartial, fair and rule-of-law judiciary. BIPEC believes that Judge Weill will adhere to these principles while serving on Mississippi’s second highest court.”

The Court of Appeals is a 10-judge panel of Judges which hears appeals from lower courts, including Chancery and Circuit Courts. The court is made up of two judges from each of the five judicial districts in the state. The 4th district includes 15 counties: Adams, Amite, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall and Wilkinson.

The election will be held November 6, 2018.

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13 Jun


BIPEC (Business and Industry Political Education Committee) has released its Legislator “Business & Jobs” Report Card for the 2018 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 this year.

“BIPEC recognizes and appreciates the efforts of these Business & Jobs Champion Legislators,” said Derek Easley, BIPEC President & CEO. “For all of the members and supporters of BIPEC, the Legislator Report Card has long been a resource and a valued tool for the business community to see the measured performance of our legislators and their support for the growth of jobs and economic development in Mississippi.”

BIPEC is a 501c6 membership organization founded in 1980 by Mississippi’s business and professional leaders.  BIPEC is a nonprofit association comprised of individuals, trade associations and companies who unite to protect and advance free enterprise through research, education, and member action.  BIPEC’s purpose is to learn backgrounds, voting records and key positions of members and candidates for the Mississippi Legislature, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  BIPEC disseminates credible research findings to BIPEC members, educates BIPEC’s membership network on the impact that legislator and judge-made decisions have on Mississippi’s economic growth, business attractiveness and general prosperity of the State’s employers.  BIPEC publishes the Legislator Report Card annually.

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. You can also search for legislators at the top of the page using any part of their name.

 2018 Business & Jobs Champions


Kevin Blackwell
Jenifer B. Branning
Nickey Browning
Terry C. Burton
Videt Carmichael
Joel R. Carter, Jr.
Chris Caughman
Lydia Graves Chassaniol
Eugene S. Clarke
Sally Doty
Joey Fillingane
Josh Harkins
Billy Hudson
W. Briggs Hopson, III
Dean Kirby
Chris Massey
J. Walter Michel
Philip Moran
David Parker
Rita Potts Parks
John A. Polk
Gray Tollison
Neil S. Whaley
Brice Wiggins
Charles Younger



Shane Aguirre
William Tracy Arnold
Charles Jim Beckett
C. Scott Bounds
Randy P. Boyd
Charles Busby
Larry Byrd
Lester Carpenter
Gary Chism
John Glen Corley
Becky Currie
Scott DeLano
Bill Denny
Robert Foster
Philip Gunn
Jeff Hale
Greg Haney
Mac Huddleston
Bill Kinkade
Timmy Ladner
Vince Mangold
Roun McNeal
Nolan Mettetal
Sam C. Mims
Ken Morgan
Bill Pigott
Brent Powell
Rob Roberson
Ray Rogers
Randy Rushing
Donnie Scoggin
Jeffrey C. Smith
Brad Touchstone
Jerry R. Turner
Tom Weathersby
Jason White
Patricia H. Willis
Cory Wilson
Henry Zuber, III


Derek Easley

President & CEO, BIPEC

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