Senate advances metal theft, unemployment bills

A bill that would allow the state’s employment agency to remain open appears headed for a compromise.

Other legislation intended to deter metal theft and hike unemployment benefits also advanced today, the second day of a special session Gov. Haley Barbour called.

A bill that cleared the Senate floor today reauthorizes the Department of Employment Security. The agency that serves unemployed Mississippians is in danger of closing if lawmakers don’t reauthorize it by the end of next month.

House lawmakers agreed Wednesday to reauthorize the agency for another year, which means it would have to be reviewed again next year. Senators removed that provision from a bill that cleared their chamber today.

Senators also tweaked a metal theft bill that Barbour vetoed after the regular session ended last month. Business owners said the original legislation would have forced them to either buy more land to store metals or shut down.

Clarion Ledger
5/22/8