The Clarion-Ledger, 5/29/8

Members of the Mississippi House authorized $88 million in bonds Wednesday to try to lure a multimillion-dollar project to Mississippi.

A House bill that hikes unemployment benefits higher than the Senate version also advanced on the fourth day of a special session, but it appears headed for negotiations between the two chambers. A hospital tax plan to fund Medicaid cleared the Senate but faces hurdles in the House, where key leaders instead favor a cigarette tax increase.

Lawmakers had hoped the session would last only three days, but it’s not clear when they will finish working. Special sessions can be called only by the governor, who also dictates the agenda. They cost nearly $60,000 the first day and almost $40,000 each day thereafter.

Besides approving the bonds and a separate bill intended to speed construction of a Jackson toll road, lawmakers have nine more items to consider. House leaders have not agreed to consider all of Gov. Haley Barbour’s requests, which also include voter identification rules and judicial pay raises.