The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 2/12/9

The state House, in contentious debate spanning nearly five hours Wednesday, passed legislation requiring people to display a photo identification to vote.

The bill, which passed 77-44, in many ways was a stinging defeat for the Democratic House leaders who had tried to craft a compromise that would allow a wide array of voter identification, such as a utility bill.

But on the key amendment that required a photo identification, several Democrats left their leadership. The amendment passed by a narrow 63-58 margin.

The photo identification issue has been a difficult one for House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, and his leadership team because the 38 black members of the House, all Democrats, oppose voter identification.