Senate Republicans let off hook on special session

JACKSON — When taking questions on the Senate floor late at night last week before the 2009 session ended without a budget agreement, Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, would not say whether he would rather stay in regular session to work on a budget or go into special session.

Nunnelee did not have to say. Most House Republicans voted not to suspend the rules to continue the regular session.

Since the rules suspension did not get the required two-thirds majority in the House, Nunnelee and his Senate colleagues were never forced to vote on the issue. Resolutions to extend the session must originate in the House.

In special session, members receive an extra $75 per day. Multiply $75 by 174 members and it is obvious special sessions cost about $13,000 per day more than a regular session.

Republicans in the House were willing to charge taxpayers an extra $13,000 per day to go into special where Gov. Haley Barbour will be able to set the agenda.

House Republicans were willing to do that. Senate Republicans never had to take a stand, thanks to their House brethren.