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Time Running Out For State Lawmakers

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 20 Apr 2012 02:49pm | comments

With just two weeks left in the session, Time is quickly running out for Mississippi lawmakers to address several controversial issues. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports another big deadline is later this week.

Thursday is the last day for lawmakers to agree on bills or work on a compromise between the two chambers.

Items still on the agenda include changing the workers comp system, establishing voter ID rules, and expanding charter schools, but Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says the number of remaining bills is much smaller than previous years.

"It has been a long time since the legislature has actually gotten out on time without extending the session on paper or otherwise. So we are confident that at this point we are making tremendous progress," Reeves said.

One of the biggest issues, which is basically untouched, is drawing new voting lines for the 122 house and 52 senate seats.

Senate Redistricting Chairman Merle Flowers of Southaven says the maps are drawn.

"The joint committee has retained expert consultants to help guide us through the process to make sure we comply with every single law, statute, and the Voting Rights Act. Sections 2, 5, and everything else that is in the act," Flower said.

But Flowers says there is no time frame for when those maps will be made available to the public or members of the legislature.

Lt. Governor Reeves says the 'experts' are people who travel the country reviewing redistricting plans.

He says they are mainly checking to make sure all the districts have roughly the same population.

"Primarily deviation because you can't have more than 5% population deviation or less than 5% deviation in any of our 52 districts or any of the 122 house districts," Reeves said.

Reeves believes there is enough time in the session to tackle all these issues, and craft a budget, without an extended or special session.

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