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Legislators extend 2024 session after missing budget deadline

Legislative leaders are optimistic that they will be able to start passing bills to fund the $7-billion budget to fund state services on Tuesday.

“We will be rolling Tuesday and the day after I suppose,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg.

Late Monday the House and Senate agreed on a resolution to extend the session. Appropriations and revenue (taxes and borrowing) bills died Saturday night when House and Senate leaders could not reach agreement on a key deadline. The resolution approved Monday was needed to revive the bills.

The final day of the session was scheduled for Sunday, May 5. Now it is scheduled for May 14, but House Speaker Jason White, R-West, predicted Monday that the Legislature will finish its work this week, though leaders did concede there were still  some “minor” disagreements between the House and Senate.

Under the resolution, the legislators – even though their work would be completed this week — will return on May 14 unless White and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann agree not to return.

Returning on May 14 would give the Legislature the opportunity address any possible vetoes by Gov. Tate Reeves. Lawmakers can override gubernatorial vetoes with a two-thirds vote of each chamber.

Asked Monday if an agreement had been reached on the revenue bills, Senate Finance Chairman Josh Harkins, R-Brandon, who handles those proposals, said, “Gosh, I hope so. If not I am going holler a Jerry Clower for them to shoot up amongst us,” Harkins said referencing a skit by the Mississippi comic.

It took a two-thirds vote of both chambers to pass the resolution to extend the session. It passed unanimously in the House, but six members of the 52-member Senate voted no. Without the resolution, it most likely would require a special session called by Gov. Tate Reeves to pass budget bills and revenue bills.

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