Legislature can finish within allotted 90 days

JACKSON — Confusion abounds on what the Legislature did by recessing this past Wednesday.

The legislative session is supposed be up to 90 days as mandated by the state Constitution with the exception of once every four years at the start of a term when it is 125 days. The Legislature can vote to stay longer, but that costs money, and, of course, it always can finish early..

This past week the Legislature left four days early with the understanding it would come back to craft a state budget when more information is gleaned about how the federal stimulus funds can be plugged into the budget.

It made sense to leave and come back after more information is obtained. It stands to reason that if House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Gov. Haley Barbour can agree it has to be the right decision.

The important thing to remember is that legislators can still finish within the 90 days if they get their ducks in row and budget leaders and other key members can hammer out all the differences before they come back.

But remember the legislative process is difficult and, often times, disagreement is part of the system. It also should be pointed out that staying past 90 days in a regular session costs less money than coming back in special session.

But let’s not think about disagreement. Let’s be optimistic and assume they will finish their work within four days and get out in 90 days or less.