|June 18, 2009||Nunnelee most likely GOP's man, article says||3 comments|
|June 17, 2009||Preferred candidate Bounds answers questions||no comments|
|June 15, 2009||McCoy insists on open budget negotiations||no comments|
|June 09, 2009||Senate Republicans let off hook on special session||1 comments|
JACKSON -- State Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee's name been in the news here in Mississippi as one of the negotiators unable to reach an agreement on a budget for the new fiscal year that begins in less than two weeks.
He also is in the news in Washington, D.C.
Roll Call, a U.S. Capitol newspaper, cited Nunnelee "as the clear favorite" among Republicans as "their man" to run next year against 1st District U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, a Prentiss County Democrat.
The Roll Call article said that state Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, has opted not to run for the U.S congressional post after traveling to Washington, D.C., where he met with national Republican figures.
The article said Flowers' decision "clears a major obstacle from the path" of Nunnelee, a Tupelo Republican.
Nunnelee admitted sometime ago he was mulling a run for Congress. He has been conducting "a listening tour" of towns in the 1st Congressional District.
JACKSON -- After several days of meeting primarily behind closed doors, House and Senate budget negotiators since Friday have been doing business in open session.
The difference appears to be that on Friday morning, House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, sent out a news release announcing the budget leaders were meeting and news organizations were welcomed to cover the session.
Since that news release, all the meetings have been open to the media. The meetings, though, have been held in the cramped office of Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, though, instead of the many spacious and unused committee rooms at the state Capitol.
On Friday, just the news media ventured into the meetings. But on Monday, lobbyists also began coming in or standing in the doorway trying to ascertain what was being said.
McCoy has long been an advocate of open conference meetings where negotiations are conducted to iron out the differences in legislation between the two chambers. Even back in the mid 1990s, when there was no legislative rule requiring the conference committees to meet in the open, as there is now, McCoy as chair of the House Education Committee, and then-Senate Education Committee Chair Ronnie Musgrove conducted their conference committee meetings in the open.
If McCoy had not put his foot down Friday, no doubt, the negotiations still would be ongoing in closed session on trying to agree on a budget to fund state government starting July 1, which is rapidly approaching.
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.