Gallo Notes-July 24, 2008

Legislative Ratings
The new GOP Legislative ratings for both Senate and House members are posted at www.msgop.org. Most of the ratings are as expected, however there are a couple of disappointing House ratings in the Republican column. Newly elected House of Representative Legislator Toby Barker ([email protected]) was at the bottom of the Republican ratings. Toby Barker even had five Democrats score more conservative ratings that he did! In a strong Republican district (District 102 – Forrest, Lamar), Representative Barker may be opening himself up early to strong competition in the next election.

The only other Republican to fall below the 50% rating, (with several Democrats scoring higher) was Eugene Forest Hamilton (R) District 6, Desoto County. ([email protected]) Representative Hamilton, also in a heavily Republican District, is affiliated with the Mississippi Pharmacists Association, an organization surely providing input into the Medicaid crisis.

Both of these lawmakers’ voting records will be under heavy scrutiny as the Un-Special Session resumes, and again in January with the start of the 2009 Session.

Medicaid Notes
The Face-Off nears with Barbour/Senate VS the Yellow-Dog/Black Caucus. Whether this has been a grand scheme planned by the Democrats or it just materialized this way, the fact remains that it’s nothing more than a political standoff. Some observers report almost giddy responses from several liberals hoping Gov. Barbour executes Medicaid cuts mandated by law. If he does, expect the Howard Dean Mississippi Machine, now under the guidance of Chairman Jamie Franks, to go into full gear.

As for leadership in the House, it’s hard to find. It seems McCoy is having a difficult time understanding the meaning of “compromise”. At the same time, half his team appears to be appointing themselves as negotiators. Just a reminder, Mr. McCoy and his illustrious team of powerful Chairmen are in that position by virtue of ONE VOTE! By the way, wasn’t it Chairman McCoy a few years ago who either co-authored or supported the very “Bed Tax” that he now condemns as a “tax on poor people”?

Fair warning to those playing politics at the expense of so many vulnerable citizens, they are beginning to catch on! That said, the House leadership is ready to make political points in November even if they have to stress out over 600,000 Mississippians who depend on Medicaid services. If they can successfully blame Gov. Barbour instead of themselves for making those cuts, then their Master Plan will come together beautifully and Howard Dean’s investment in Mississippi will be well worth the cost.

Paul Gallo -6am to 9am
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