JACKSON, Miss. — A standoff between Mississippi house democrats and republicans that stalled bills ends with an agreement.
WJTV’s Lucy Dieckhaus talked with representatives about why for the last two days most work came to a halt at the State Capitol.
“They have flexed their muscles in doing that, and they have the votes to do that, and we understand that and we are not objecting to them doing that. We hate that they are doing, but that we are understand that they are doing that,” said Representative Earl Banks.
House democrats say they are feeling the effects of the supermajority after they say there was no debate on any bills.
“These were changed during the term and that is unprecedented. We don’t mind what the rules are just don’t change them once the game starts,” said Representative Jay Hughes.
But Speaker Philip Gunn said he never limited debate.
“Well that wasn’t the rules change, we did not ever stop debate on bills that was never a part of it,” said Gunn.
The protest started over a bill to move one county from the Southern to the Central District for Supreme Court elections.
“The way that the bill was drawn it will reduce the black voting age population of the Central District which is the best district we have a chance of getting a person of color elected and also a Democrat,” said Banks.
In order to slow things down, Democrats insisted that all bills be read out loud before they could be voted on, some of those bills are hundreds of pages long.
“The Mississippi legislative black caucus has been having bills read to slow the process down and say hold on guys listen to us you’re not listening to us. If voting rights act was still in place, we would be before the Justice Department, and if we do it this way we are going to be back in Federal Court, do we really want to do that? We have been asking them to slow it down,” said Banks.
And Hughes says in the end this political fighting has hurt the people of Mississippi.
“The people have lost their business being done that they are paying for two full days now and it does hurt the people and it hurts relationships and we need to get back to doing the business of the people,” said Hughes.
Behind closed doors… an agreement was reached between Democrats and Republicans, but Speaker Gunn wouldn’t tell us what that agreement was.
“We’ll that’s between us and them but the good news is we are back on track and everybody’s happy,” said Gunn. “We have reached an agreement and we are going to find a way to restore that and that is part of the deal.. It is just part of the process. It is not an emergency. It’s not a crisis it is normal.”
Lawmakers plan to reconvene on Monday with regular debate.