A House Divided

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The Mississippi Legislature goes back to work Monday, and the House of Representatives faces a couple of long days thanks to the internal arguing about education funding.

But it's a House divided. That's what Speaker Billy McCoy has on his hands. Last week during debates over funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the House passed a bill, but along with it came a clash among members of the House.

"On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a bill that said we would like to fund K-12 MAEP program in full, but if we can't fully fund it," said State Rep. Greg Snowden. "And nobody really expects that we have the money to do that. If we can't fully fund it, we'll phase it in over a four-year period."

Snowden says that this bill is one that needs to be passed and that this argument simply boils down to politics.

"There are some people in the legislature and outside the legislature for that matter that have politicized the public school funding issue to such a degree that when a solid proposal like this one comes forward, a reasonable proposal to phase this in over a period of time. Much like we did with the teacher pay raise, those people don't want to let go of the political argument," said Snowden.

Later this week, the House and Senate will also likely face the challenge of coming up with enough votes to override Gov. Barbour's expected veto of the Cigarette Tax Bill. Snowden says that getting those votes probably won't happen.

"It will go to the Senate first. I don't believe they have the votes there to override the governor if he does veto it," said Snowden. "I'm quite certain that there are not the votes in the House of Representatives to override it if he chooses to veto it, so I do not expect that measure to become law."

There are three weeks left in the 2006 regular session of the Mississippi Legislature.