Lawmakers, Governor Play Waiting Game

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Gov. Haley Barbour is calling legislators back to the Capitol Monday, insisting that they pass his economic development bond bill. The Senate had voted to end the session Friday, but their vote came after the House had already left for the weekend.

If the two chambers disagree on when to adjourn, the governor can dissolve the special session, but Barbour did not do that. Instead, he said legislators have to be back at 11:00 a.m. Monday to continue the session.

Gov. Barbour wants the Legislature to pass a bill before the Northrop Grumman board of directors meets on Tuesday to discuss the company's budget. The bond bill includes $40 million to help the company expand shipyards in Pascagoula and Gulfport.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee refused again Friday to vote on the bill proposing $109 million for economic development. As a result, it never came to the floor for a vote.

Earlier Friday the House threw in the towel and voted to recess until Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., forcing the Senate to go home as well.

The board of directors of Northrup Grumman, to whom the Legislature and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove committed to giving $40 million in order to create jobs and expand their operations in Gulfport and Pascagoula, meets Tuesday morning.

"The call is, as I understand it, exactly the same as the last one, which is to take up these jobs bills," said Snowden. "It's absolutely crucial that we take up these jobs bills in a timely fashion, particularly the Northrup Grumann project by Tuesday. "Hopefully we can take care of business, pass those jobs bills and then we can consider other matters if that's what we should do, but we need to take care of business first and that's the jobs bills."

The bond bill also included $11 million to fight base closure and $10 million for an economic development project in Lauderdale County that could lead to 140 new jobs at an estimated $48,000 per year average.

Sen. Videt Carmichael said he has been assured that if a bonding bill passes, the $10 million and the BRAC money will be included.

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