Lawmakers Return Home: Still Work to Be Done

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

The state fiscal year started Wednesday in Mississippi. Lawmakers approved most of the $6 billion dollar budget before the midnight deadline.

Medicaid was one of the programs funded during the special session shortly before the deadline. But there is still some unfinished business.

Mississippi Senator Videt Carmichael of District 33 is just glad to be back home with family.

Arriving to Lauderdale County around 2:30 in the morning, Carmichael says it's been an exhausting special session for him and other Mississippi lawmakers as they worked right up until the last minute on the state budget.
"If you look at in terms of why were there so long in that aspect that would not make it a good session, but actually good work was done in a short amount of time," Carmichael said.

Carmichael says it's the largest state budget ever at nearly 6 billion dollars. Several budget bills were passed including bills to fund state agencies. After a big battle, the Medicaid Comprise Bill hit the governor's desk. Many lawmakers are relieved and Carmichael says that will prevent any interruption of services to recipients and payments to providers.

"Medicaid actually ran out a week or so ago so the hospitals and probably other providers hadn't received any money in a week or so, but this picks it all back up and hopefully and we need to but this to bed and they need to know what their budgets are," Carmichael said.

Also, much relief for school districts as the k-12 budget was approved for $2.5 billion dollars. Carmichael says that's the biggest budget ever, thanks to the stimulus money.

"We should have and we hope that we have accomplished something that Mississippians can be proud of," Carmichael said.

But the Public Service Commission was left out of the budget for now.
Carmichael says the commission wanted 11 additional staffers and lawmakers wanted to make sure there's not any duplication of services. But he says the commission can make do and continue to regulate utilities until a comprise is reached. But he says it's up the governor to call another special session to deal with that issue.

"I think it's something that can be worked out by mid-July hopefully," Carmichael said.

Carmichael says the fiscal year looks promising, but he says if the state's money is not spent wisely and budgeted accordingly, that won't be the case a few years down the line.

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