Special Session updates

Brandon Jones twittered:

HB 1 approving 3 additional staff members to the PSC has passed the House overwhelmingly.

HB 2 is currently being considered. It is the appropriation bill for the Public Utilities staff.

Greg Snowden:

HB 1 would add 3 employees to PSC, and allow PSC to realign 3 more. New employees would be “professional help” for the three Commissioners.
18 minutes ago from web

House considers three appropriations bills: HB1 (PSC); HB2 (PS Utilities Staff), and HB3 (community mental health centers — NOT in call).

Johnny Stringer: “We have a plan” to fund community health centers. Stay tuned.

Sheriffs: Mentally ill need centers

Mississippi sheriffs are calling on Gov. Haley Barbour to expand the call for the special session to help fund the 15 community mental health centers across the state.

The special session begins at 10 a.m. today.

Without these centers operating as they should, said Holmes County Sheriff Willie March, president of the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association, he and other sheriffs expect to see more mentally ill persons wind up in their jails.

Barbour vetoed taking $7 million from the state’s “rainy day” fund to help pay back some of the Medicaid match money the centers and the state Department of Mental Health already have been forced to pay. His press secretary, Dan Turner, said Barbour has no plans to change his mind.

In addition to that loss, state lawmakers have appropriated no Medicaid match money toward the $22.5 million the centers expect to pay this fiscal year. The Department of Mental Health already has begun to send bills to the centers for the first estimated payments.