Coast Lawmakers say BP Settlement funding & lottery could be tak - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast Lawmakers say BP Settlement funding & lottery could be taken up in special session

Sen. Michael Watson called on South Mississippi residents to get more involved in the process, so the bulk of the BP funds can be directed to the Coast. (Photo source: WLOX) Sen. Michael Watson called on South Mississippi residents to get more involved in the process, so the bulk of the BP funds can be directed to the Coast. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Tuesday, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce hosted a post-legislative briefing.

The event moderated by WLOX News Director Brad Kessie featured State Senators Joel Carter and Michael Watson, along with State Rep. Manly Barton. The politicians talked to a room full of business leaders about the legislature's 2018 accomplishments and the goals still remaining.

Paul Guishet with the People's Bank is still waiting to see how the BP settlement money will be distributed.

"The settlement for the BP will be an economic boost for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which will hopefully translate into more jobs and more business opportunities," Guishet said.

Sen. Michael Watson called on South Mississippi residents to get more involved in the process, so the bulk of the BP funds can be directed to the Coast. The BP distribution could be taken up in a special session along with roads and bridges. Sen. Joel Carter would like to see a compromise struck dealing with BP and roads and bridges.

"There are projects that the north part of the state wants, and we've just got to come to common ground with that. And it needs to be part of a roads and bridges bill, not taking money from our settlement funds," Carter said.

If a special session is called the lawmakers who were on the Coast said chances are good a lottery will come up, and if a lottery is discussed in that special session, they're confident it will pass.

"The Governor's come out vocally and said he wants a lottery. The Lt. Governor doesn't want one, but there is overwhelming support in the Senate to pass one, and he's not going to stand in the way of that," Carter said.

"I think most people want a lottery, and they're willing to have one," said Barton.

Estimates have said a lottery could provide $70-80 million dollars of added revenue for the state.

Before a special session would be called Gov. Phil Bryant said House and Senate leaders would need to have an agreement in place on a long-term infrastructure plan.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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