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Mississippi legislative session expected to go longer than planned

Mississippi legislature
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

Lawmakers are now expecting that this year’s legislative session will need to be extended for a few additional days, as numerous big-ticket bills and budgets are still being discussed in both chambers.

At this time, the House has voted to add two days to the current legislative session so the remaining appropriations bills can be passed, changing the sine die date to April 4.

On Monday, House Speaker Philip Gunn stated that 25 budget bills still require work before being passed in the legislature, saying that the chamber needed to extend the session by two days.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Briggs Hopson explained during an interview on MidDays with Gerard Gibert that although some pieces of legislation requiring special funding have already been approved, the majority of spending bills are usually passed within the last five days of the session.

“As it relates to appropriations, every agency has a budget and there are approximately 110 budgets that we deal with. You have some general bills, too, that are appropriations bills,” Hopson said. “You kind of have to hold everything to the end until you got a real good feel about what your revenue estimate is going to be. You also know what spending level you want to be at in some of the key projects. So, that’s where we are right now.”

Hopson told reporters that as of Monday morning, the legislature still has a large number of bills to vote on before sine die is called.

“We have finished about half of the budgets, maybe a little less than half of the budgets,” Hopson stated. “We’ve signed conference reports on about 40 other bills today. So we’ve got, I would say, maybe 70 percent of them decided and done. We’ve got about 20 percent, I would say, that we got ready to do just need to be typed up.”

At this time, legislators are debating how to fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) and revive the ballot initiative process after both bills died due to disagreements between both chambers.

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