Day Five for Legislators

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After hours and hours of deliberations over the weekend, House and Senate negotiators were back at the bargaining table again Monday.

There's still no resolution to the medical malpractice and tort reform issues facing the Mississippi Legislature. Senators want to approve general changes to limit lawsuits and help doctors and businesses, but House members say legislators only have permission to deal with doctors.

"The House never got to vote on them," said Senator Gloria Williamson of Philadelphia. "Now if you were a conferee in the House, do you think that you should vote on something that your members have never gotten to vote on. So I think that's the holdup. I don't think that the chairman thinks he can do that. And I personally would hate to do that myself."

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has said he wants lawmakers to deal with the medical malpractice insurance issue first, and then expand the session's agenda to allow consideration of general civil justice reform, commonly known as tort reform.

"I think we need to backup over here and say we want to come to an agreement to help the doctors like we said we would," said Williamson, "and then the governor can expand the call if he'd like. He is the governor, he can do that."

Earlier Monday, House negotiators tried to persuade senators to deal with one subject at a time, but the Senate would not back down.

There was no vote today because negotiators were unable to reach a compromise. The full House and Senate will return Tuesday morning at 10:00 to continue the process.