House balks at Senate plan for oil spill damage funds

Mississippi lawmakers may be unable to decide this year how to spend $750 million in oil spill damage payments, with sniping between House and Senate members after a bill died at a Tuesday deadline for action when the House Appropriations Committee didn’t bring it up.

House members from Mississippi’s coast said Senate Bill 2634 didn’t have the detailed structure they wanted to determine how the money would be distributed. Sixteen bipartisan representatives from Gulf Coast counties stated jointly that “no action is better than passing a bill that only gives the appearance of action.”

But Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and state Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, said they feared the failure to act would only increase pressure to spend the money away from the Gulf Coast. Reeves called the decision “mind-boggling.”

Clarion Ledger
3/1/17