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Bill allowing state to take over Jackson’s water system dies in House

A bill to take Jackson’s water and sewer system out of the city’s control once the interim third-party manager’s term is up and place it into the hands of members appointed by state officials has died.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to bring Senate Bill 2628, or the Mississippi Capitol Region Utility Act, out of committee, ending its run in the capitol. The legislation was referred to the House Public Utilities and House Accountability and Transparency committees but was not given the stamp of approval by the two groups prior to Tuesday’s deadline.

SB 2628, which was endorsed by Jackson’s interim third-party water and sewer manager Ted Henifin, was drafted to create an authority with nine members to oversee Jackson’s water and wastewater services. The members, who would have to meet specific requirements to be considered, would be appointed by the governor (5) and the lieutenant governor (4).

“After reviewing SB 2628, I believe this is a great foundation. It appears that many of the comments I provided during the last session regarding the bill introduced in 2023 were taken to heart and this bill now includes many of the suggestions I made at the time,” Henifin said, per the release from JXN Water.

Other elements of the legislation included:

All federal funds received to date are to be spent according to the direction of the interim third-party manager (ITPM) and the court. Authority assumes ownership and operations and maintenance upon the date of termination of the order or earlier as ordered by the court. Authority can issue bonds. Authority develops own procedures and procurements less than $1 million. Authority to consult with the court in appointing a president (paid for by the state) and to serve as ITPM’s deputy in the transition. Board serves without salary. Employees of the authority serve at will and pleasure of the president who sets compensation and benefits. Nine-member board from very specific constituencies – five appointed by the governor and four by the lieutenant governor. Set rates subject to Public Service Commission (PSC) review – PSC shall defer to the

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