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Dems Accuse Gov. Bryant of Interfering with Ethics Commission

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 31 May 2013 08:44am | comments

The head of the Mississippi Democratic party is accusing the governor of trying to interfere with the state's ethics commission.

 Earlier this week, Governor Phil Bryant said the commission should let six Republican state representatives who have recused themselves from voting on any Medicaid bill vote.

 "So we feel like it is important for every member to have the opportunity to vote. And so the ethics committee should, I think, on or around June 15 take a look at those requests and we will see if those Republicans have an opportunity to vote," Bryant said.

 The members stepped back from voting because of personal business ties to the program.

 Democratic Party Chair Rickey Cole wrote a letter to the commission saying allowing those members to vote could create the perception of unethical behavior in the state house.

 "Allowing these members to vote now, after they have been abstaining for so long, would be tantamount to saying that ethics matter until the vote is close," Cole said.

 The six additional votes could make it easier for Medicaid funding and re-authorizing bills to pass the house if a special session is called.

 Lawmakers finished their regular legislative session without re-authorizing the program which expires at the end of June.

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