Mississippi Legislature out, but special BP money session possible

State Sen. Michael Watson
State Sen. Michael Watson ASSOCIATED PRESS

Coast lawmakers hope to get a special legislative session to try to bring another $110 million in BP settlement money back to the Coast.

State Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, is one who is trying to convince Gov. Phil Bryant to bring the Legislature back in a special session on the BP settlement. Of the $150 million that will become available in the fiscal year that starts July 1, $40 million has been appropriated, he said, largely for projects in the southern counties.

But even though the money is being spent on the Coast, it was being used to offset money cut from the 2017 budget.

And, Watson said, with the budget shortfall the state has dealt with this year, it will be a challenge to get the votes to bring the money back to the Coast.

Bryant said he planned to work with the Coast delegation.

"I look forward to working with legislative leadership and the Coast delegation on projects that could merit calling a special session," he said in an email.

House Speaker Philip Gunn seemed to think another session was inevitable even as he was handing the gavel for Rep. Herb Frierson to bring the regular session to an end.

"If we are to convene between now and next January well then I look forward to seeing your here again," House Speaker Philip Gunn said.