Special session appears likely over nominations

JACKSON – Gov. Haley Barbour plans to call a special session as early as the end of next week, legislative sources say.
When asked about the possibility of a special session, Barbour spokesman Dan Turner responded, “I have heard rumors of that.” He had no further comment.
But the governor already has sent to the Senate a list of nominations for boards and commissions that can be taken up during the special session.
The nominations were originally submitted during the 2010 regular session, but for various reasons, primarily related to time restraints, were not dealt with by the Senate.
On Monday, Barbour sent seven nominations to the Senate. They include, from Northeast Mississippi, Dr. Ed Hill of Tupelo and Kelly Segars, an Iuka physician-banker, to the state Board of Health and Rick Elam of Oxford to the Board of Public Accountancy.
The special session’s primary focus will be an economic development project, perhaps related to biofuels, according to the sources.
Barbour said last month that if some issues were worked out, he would call a special session related to economic development.
“I am looking forward to the special session – anything to deal with economic development in the state at this point is exciting to me,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, D-Brookhaven. “Hopefully we can come up with legislation to confirm this potential project.”
Senate Public Health Chair Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said the Senate staff already is researching the nominees’ background so they can be voted on during the special session.
He said both Hill and Segars will not be available next week to travel to Jackson for hearings before his Public Health Committee.
Bryan said he plans to ask the Committee to confirm the Northeast Mississippi doctors with the understanding they will come back in January during the 2011 regular session to appear before the Public Health Committee “to talk about broader issues” related to the Board of Health.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal