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BP bill dies in conference, legislators seek special session

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

The BP bill that sought to set aside dollars from the BP oil settlement for projects along the Gulf Coast died in a conference committee over the weekend, but legislators say there is a chance a special session would be called to discuss the bill.

How to distribute the funds from the BP oil spill settlement has been a long debated question and lawmakers say they will continue to figure it out even after the session ends.

The bill that legislators were working on in conference dealt with how the BP money would be spent, as well as, the split of where the money will go across the state. Representative Scott DeLano has said that passage of the bill would give legislators the opportunity to start the planning process to determine what is the best investment for the economic damages money.

“Governor Bryant is not one to call the legislature back to Jackson just to sit here and look at one another,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden. “If there is a general agreement about what we want to do between the House and the Senate, and it is a positive thing that is necessary, then he may call us back.”

Snowden added that the Governor would not call a special session unless there was an agreement between the House and the Senate.

“We are very close as I understand it in some of the things that they have talked about,” Snowden said. “We will be talking informally during the Spring and the Summer. If all of the sudden there is agreement and we can put something into play, then it wouldn’t be inconceivable that the Governor would call a special session, and hopefully it could all be cleared up in just one day.”

The state has currently received between $125 and $150 million of the total $750 million settlement.

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