The Legislature returns to Jackson on June 3, the final scheduled day of the (twice-extended) Regular Session. One of two things will happen by Wednesday. One, Senate and House conferees will announce a deal, and the session once again perfunctorily will be extended a couple of days while the budget is finalized and adopted. Or, two, if there is no deal, the Regular Session automatically will end, and a Special Session prior to July 1 will become necessary.
Assuming that there is no budget deal in place by the time the clock runs out Wednesday, here is what I would do if I were in charge.
IF I WERE GOVERNOR I’d tell the Speaker and Lt. Governor something along these lines: “Fellas, we have a situation here. Y’all haven’t done your business in Regular Session, and now it’s thrown into my lap. I’m not going to point fingers. We all know the issues crossing us up. Besides, truth is, the public thinks this is the fault of ALL of us anyway. Tell you what. I’m going to give you guys one week, until June 10, to have your people meet informally and hammer this thing out. Let me know when you have, and I’ll call everybody back for a couple of days and we’ll wrap the sucker up. But, if y’all STILL can’t come up with a compromise we can live with, I’ll reconvene the Legislature in Special Session on MY terms and everyone from Olive Branch to Ocean Springs is gonna know it’s not me, but the hard heads in the Legislature who are screwing up this state. Y’all have my number.”
IF I WERE SPEAKER OR LT. GOVERNOR I’d call in my appropriations conferees and tell them this: “Boys, I ‘preciate your hard work, but we’re in a fix. We’ve got one week to pull the ox out of the ditch. I want y’all to go off somewhere away from here with those knuckleheads from the other chamber, lock the doors, and for Pete’s sake don’t come out until y’all have agreed on something we can swallow. Don’t give away the ranch, but don’t be dying in the ditch neither. And, whatever you do, keep the lobbyists and reporters outta there. The session’s over, so you don’t need to worry ‘bout the conference rules. There ain’t no conference no more. Just us and them. Call me if you need guidance, but keep your mouths shut ‘cept in that locked room. I’m countin’ on y’all. Don’t let me down.”
Rep. Greg Snowden’s Clarion-Ledger Blog