The Sun Herald, 2/12/9

A bill that would have regulated how the state hires lobbyists died in the state Senate after a lengthy debate and a narrow vote, leaving its authors vowing to make another run at it in 2010.

Sens. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis and Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, authored the bill.

The measure was in response to a recent report from a legislative watchdog group, the Performance Expenditure and Review Committee, which found Mississippi agencies and institutions of higher learning spent about $1.3 million on lobbyists between 2003 and 2007. But the study says that since state law has a self-reporting system, PEER couldn’t attest to the accuracy of those figures. During that period the study reviewed, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center Commission spent $34,000 on contract lobbyists in two calendar years, the Mississippi Department of Transportation spent $364,000 in four calendar years and the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport spent $140,000 in four calendar years, for example.