State lawmakers predict another special session

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - With the stroke of his pen, Governor Haley Barbour spent a lot of time Wednesday keeping  state agencies from shutting down. The governor signed a long list of budget bills passed by the state legislature just in the nick of time for the start of the new fiscal year. However, the work isn't over and some lawmakers are predicting they'll soon be headed back to Jackson.

Some state lawmakers say they passed a late night budget not everyone liked but that everyone could live with. However, that doesn't mean it's over.

Rep. Michael Janus of Biloxi said, "I was in the capital this morning. Swung by and spoke to some of our legislative leaders. Unfortunately, it does look like we'll have to go back for another special session."

Another special session is needed because the legislature could not agree on funding for the Public Service Commission. The P.S.C. wants additional employees to do its research.

"They want 16 additional employees to help them do the work that they are tasked with doing for the state," said Rep. Janus. "In this tough budget time, economic times, we in the legislature felt that 16 additional employees was a little bit much."

Lawmakers say two other budget issues that could send them back to Jackson are overtime pay in the Department of Public Safety and mental health.

Rep. John Read said "The House took out some money from the rainy day fund to fund the Mental Health Crisis Center. I don't think the governor is going to go along with that. "

"It looks like the governor may veto that bill," said Rep. Janus. "He doesn't want us to take additional funds out of the state rainy day fund to put it that entity. So if we do get called back for a special session, there will probably be a veto message waiting there for us. "

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