A bill that would have cleared the way to spend most of the BP economic damages settlement money on the Coast appears to be dead.
House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a compromise on the bill before the 8 p.m. deadline Monday, killing the bill. Supporters from the Coast said the only hope is for Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special session within the session, a long shot at best.
Coast leaders had hoped to have the money, eventually about $700 million, sent to a special fund out of the reach of legislators. They also wanted a board made up of people from the Coast to control the spending.
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But lawmakers in the northern part of the state wanted a large share of the money, too. Coast lawmakers argued that the Coast, not the northern part of the state, suffered most, if not all, the damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. The oil wound up on Coast beaches, virtually shutting down the tourism and seafood industries.
The six conferees were: Reps. John Read of Gautier, Scott DeLano of Biloxi and Mac Huddleston of Pontotoc and Sens. Buck Clarke of Hollandale, Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula and Terry Burton of Newton.
SunHerald.com will have more on this story later today.