Late night at Capitol

JACKSON — It could be a long night at the Mississippi Capitol.

The 2009 legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight Wednesday. It is certain that by midnight there will not be a budget passed to fund state government for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

There could be a budget agreement hashed out by the leadership by midnight. After not talking for two days, House and Senate budget leaders started negotiating again, starting Wednesday afternoon.

Early on Wednesday, the House leadership tried to garner the two-thirds majority to extend the session. They got 71 votes, but needed 78. Most Republicans voted against extending the session.

If the session is not extended, that means the work done earlier this year to provide money to local governments to hold down the cost of car tags will die. It would have to be taken up again in special session.

If a budget agreement is reached, the House leaders could try again to extend the session. If the session is not extended, and the Legislature goes into special session, the 174 members will receive an extra $75 per day from the taxpayers.