Ethics panel clears way for GOP votes

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi Ethics Commission has cleared the way for six Republican lawmakers to vote on Medicaid issues.

The lawmakers sought ethics guidance because they have potential financial conflicts.

The commission vote Friday was 5-3.

The Republican votes could be important if Gov. Phil Bryant calls lawmakers into session later this month to keep Medicaid in business once the new budget year begins July 1.

Because of a partisan dispute over whether to expand Medicaid, legislators ended their three-month regular session without setting a budget for the program or even re-authorizing it.

Bryant has said he thinks he can run the program without legislative approval, though some legislators say it’s not possible for a governor to run an agency that hasn’t been funded.