Legislators convened July 15 at the Capitol in Jackson for a special session called for the bill, which included $4 million in grants and $10 million in loans.
Though both legislative chambers swore support for Baxter’s upgrades, they disagreed in the size of bond packages to pass it.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed a Baxter-only version of the bill this year that the Democratic House rejected, saying other bond projects, which leaders said where part of House-Senate negotiations, should also be included. The House had also passed its version of the bill without full approval.
At one point, House Speaker Billy McCoy said Barbour was “playing politics” with the bill, trying to make Democrats look anti-jobs.
Failure to pass the bill sparked speculation of a Baxter exodus, which could hurt Cleveland and the Delta’s economy, sources said. Baxter employs about 800.
The political scuffle came around the time Capps retired from his seat he held for more than three decades. Though Barbour hasn’t called for a special election to replace Capps, three candidates – Capps’ son, Charlie Capps III, former Bolivar County administrator Wanda Ray and attorney David Norquist – have expressed interest in running, though none have formally announced.
Delta Democrat Times