Mississippi Legislature ends session with budgets unfinished
Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017
JACKSON (AP) — The Mississippi Legislature ended its 2017 regular session Wednesday, but will have to return later to pass budgets for the attorney general’s office and the Department of Transportation.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will decide the start date for a special session and set the agenda. The new budget year begins July 1.
Spending proposals for transportation and the attorney general died because of disputes before a deadline late Monday.
The House and Senate wrapped up their other work Wednesday, four days before the scheduled end of the three-month session.
“I think you can go home and be proud of what you did this semester,” Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, told the House.
Just before leaving the Capitol, House members said farewell to longtime Republican Rep. Mark Formby of Picayune. He is leaving the Legislature to join the three-member Workers Compensation Commission — a post to which he was nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.
“I’ve learned that you and I are way more alike than we are different,” Formby told his legislative colleagues.
Legislators passed a few final bills Wednesday, including House Bill 1046 , which will allow students with dyslexia to keep receiving state money through 12th grade to attend private schools. Under the current program, students can only get state money to attend through sixth grade at a handful of special private schools for children with learning disabilities that are accredited by the state.
Lawmakers had considered expanding the program to allow students to attend more private schools, and to take state aid to schools located outside Mississippi. But House and Senate negotiators stripped those provisions out while settling on the final bill. The Mississippi Department of Education said 160 children statewide currently get the aid.