House Votes to Extend Session

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The 2004 Mississippi legislative session might not end this weekend.

The House of Representatives voted Monday night to extend the session by another month to give budget writers more time to work.

The Senate still has to agree to the extension.

An important budget deadline passed Monday without a
resolution on the budget.

If the session is not extended, legislators will have to leave
this weekend without deciding how much money state agencies get.
That will probably guarantee them a trip back to the Capitol for a
special session.

House and Senate negotiators were able to reach a compromise on a campaign finance bill Monday night, just minutes before a deadline. The compromise bill will go to both chambers for a vote.

It requires political action committees that make contributions
of $10,000 or more to other PACs to disclose where they originally got the money.

Senate Elections Chairman Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando said the compromise could be one of the most significant bills ever considered at the state Capitol.

The bill also would require nonprofit groups such as the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce to disclose the source of contributions of $200
or more if the organization names specific candidates in ads.

The biggest dispute is still over how much money to give public
schools. The new state budget year starts July 1.