Special Session Over Quickly

By: Davis Brister
By: Davis Brister

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No sooner than they could get the bills passed out, the House and Senate had voted to give Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland some $14 million in bond money.

"This is unheard of here at this state Capitol, to do something this fast," said Rep. Chuck Espy of Clarksdale.

"It gave us an opportunity to show the citizens of this state that we can conduct our business in a very efficient manner," said Rep. Percy Watson of Hattiesburg.

For state Rep. Percy Watson and other lawmakers, it's a process that takes more effort than what you might see or read.

"You have to prepare for special sessions and even after you come to special sessions it's necessary for you to do certain things after the session has ended," said Watson.

Special sessions are also burdens on the taxpayer. Capitol officials say the cost is more than $50,000 a day.

"I think when the taxpayers get frustrated and they should get frustrated is, when we come and take four or five days to do something we should do in one day," said Sen. Travis Little of Corinth.

Yet Gov. Haley Barbour has called four already this year. Some say it's because he has to. Otherwise, important issues would go ignored.

"Sometimes, you just can't get two heads together in sessions that were as contentious as the ones we just had," said Sen. Terry Burton of Newton.

Still, it's a taxing process on those who serve.

"Being a legislator has now become a full time position. A lot of time and a lot of money, but some say it's well worth it. I would do it for free," said Sen. Willie Simmons of Cleveland.

There are rumors the governor could call more special sessions dealing with his education package and a bond bill for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.

Many lawmakers say they would prefer dealing with non-pressing issues during the 2006 regular session.


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