House OKs hiring of outside lawyers

It took them more than four hours, but Republican leaders drove legislation through the House on Wednesday that would let state agency and department heads hire outside lawyers, greatly reducing the power of the state’s lone Democrat officeholder, Atty. Gen. Jim Hood.

The four hours of debate was bare-knuckle politics, and it apparently will not be the last in what has become a contentious legislative session now that the GOP has a majority in the House and Senate and a Republican governor for the first time since Reconstruction.

“This is something that should be done for transparency,” said Judiciary A chairman Mark Baker, R-Brandon, who handled the bill during the debate.

Commercial Appeal
2/16/12