Legislators End Session Without Resolving DHS Status

Mississippi legislators adjourned a brief special session Wednesday without reauthorizing the Department of Human Services to exist in the budget year.

DHS executive director Don Taylor said Tuesday that the agency would send termination letters to 650,000 clients if legislators didn't act.

On a voice vote, the House adjourned less than half an hour after the Senate left. Both sides had passed bills to keep DHS alive - but neither bill went all the way to Gov. Haley Barbour.

The House had voted 92-20 for a bill to reauthorize DHS and undo the planned cuts of 65,000 people from Medicaid. The Senate had voted 48-0 for a bill that would only keep DHS running.

Many senators said they wanted to stay at the Capitol and consider the House bill. Many House members protested after that chamber's vote to adjourn.

The Senate was in session three hours and the House 3 1/2 hours.

President Pro Tempore Travis Little, R-Corinth, said Gov. Haley Barbour had told him Medicaid would not be added to the session agenda.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)