Even Paycheck Donations Become A Political Issue In Jackson

Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck started the petition for Senators promising to put their $75 a day salary back into the general fund. So far the list has about 20 or so names.

"This is an issue that should've been held prior to a special session, it should've been handled while we were in the regular session, so therefore, I felt it was right to participate in donating it into the general fund," Tuck said.

It's a bi-partisan list, but most of the signatures are from Republicans. And House Democrats say it's not fair.

"It's pretty obvious that this is a political gamesmanship type thing," Rep. Erik Fleming, a democrat from Jackson, said.

Fleming says House members adjourned for the weekend while the Senate recessed and there's a big difference between the two.

"They got paid for the regular session over the weekend and they got paid for the special session over the weekend," Fleming said.

"They were being paid double. We were not," Rep. Ferr Smith, a democrat from Carthage, said.

Still, some House Republicans say they would not mind donating their one paid check back to the state.

"I'd be the first signature," said Rep. Michael Janus, a republican from Biloxi. "I'd rather have been home with my family on the weekend, taking care of the business Friday as we should have. But certainly, I'd love to see the House do something similar to that."

Others say they will not succumb to another round of what they perceive as political posturing.

"We were not responsible for coming down here and creating this expense, $80,000 worth of expenses," Smith said.

The donation does not include $90 in travel and food expenses the Senate got in the two day session. Other Senators and House members say they will donate their checks to outside charitable causes.

by Davis Brister