There has been lots of intrigue at the Capitol. Let’s try to boil it down YallPolitics-style.

First, the Senate passed a bundle of non-appropriations bills in the form of SB 2001. It included the JSU landswap, the authorization to sell the millions of cigarettes State Auditor Stacey Pickering seized, the non participating cigarette tax increase, and several other punchlist non-appropriations items. This bill will likely be referred to multiple committees in the House because there are lots of components to it.

The House took a more piecemeal approach. Most signficantly, the House cigaratte tax bill has been transferred to the Senate and got referred to Senate Finance. The rumor has it that the house cigarette bill was gutted in Senate Finance with a strikeall amendement and then killed. However, as of the writing of this post, the system still shows the bill as alive in Senate Finance.

It seems that there will likely be agreement between the House and Senate on the dozens of small state agencies that are fee-based (like PERS, the State Medical Licensure Board, State Board of Nursing, etc.). These will be re-authorized and “government” will not necessarily halt on Wednesday. However, the big ticket constitutional budget items (MDOT, Education and Medicaid) will likely be the last things to come through, likely in that order.

Barbour is trying to force the hand of the legislature to (1) get the revenue house in order first and (2) reauthorize the smaller ticket items so that appropriate focus can be put on reigning in the bigger ticket items. The bigger question is whether Legislators will go along with that strategy. Expect a late night at the Capitol. We should know a lot more by Monday morning.