Legislative session extended to allow more time for lawmakers to complete 2022 business
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi lawmakers still have a lot left on the calendar before they can call it quits for this session at the Capitol.
Some of the most talked about bills of the session don’t have a resolution yet. But there’s a new pathway forward for some of those, including the ballot initiative process and the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage.
The absolute last day of the 2022 legislative session was slated for Sunday, April 3. But lawmakers have missed some deadlines and are suspending the rules to give themselves more time.
“What it basically does is extend our session by 30 days. That does not mean we’re going to be here for 30 days,” said Rep. Rob Roberson.
The resolution makes the new “sine die” date midnight of April 6. But...
“I think the hope is amongst most legislators we’ll be out of here by this weekend,” noted Sen. Briggs Hopson. “So, we’re not going through next week, but we’re going to have to take care of some bills by Friday night to get done in time.”
There’s quite a bit to wrap up, including the budget. And the Senate side says there’s a clear reason for the delay: the tax cut debate.
“It definitely played into it. I was unable to have negotiations on appropriations bills,” said Hopson, who serves as Senate Appropriation Chairman. “And I think the same holds true on the finance side of the aisle. So we couldn’t do anything until we had a chance to get the tax bill resolved.”
Some House members, including the minority leader, disagree.
“I think there’s just a lot to get done,” explained Rep. Robert Johnson. “And as much as anybody screams about that, on the other side, we do it all the time. This is not an unusual thing. We extend the session on paper, because usually we’re going to have a deficit, we don’t have money, we’re trying to get a new estimate. We’re trying to figure out how much money we have to spend this time. It’s because we have a lot of money, we have a lot of needs, we’re going to try to meet those needs.”
That $1.8 billion in ARPA funding still needs to be divvied up. And at last check, both chambers seemed willing to obligate the majority of that money this session.
Another bill that was wrapped up by both chambers today is the equal pay bill. But advocates are not celebrating that passage. The Executive Director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable tweeted about her concerns.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens as the session wraps up.
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