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State Sen. Chris McDaniel –...

State Sen. Chris McDaniel – Nothing special about this session

By: Magnolia Tribune - May 30, 2008

Nothing special about this session

I’m not feeling very special, even though we are technically experiencing what many call a special session. Instead, I prefer the term “extraordinary session,” since the House of Representatives has been extraordinarily and arbitrarily absent from its Constitutional duties. I’m really not sure what to call it, frankly. If not extraordinary, maybe other terms would suffice – the words frustrating, comical and burdensome come to mind and better describe my current psychological state, which is anything but special. I dare not let other words, such as futile, ineffectual or wasteful enter my mind.

If you haven’t heard, it’s quite a story. The Mississippi legislature is divided into two camps – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Collectively they are known as the second most misunderstood and contemptible two words in our state, what many simply lament as “the legislature.”

Last Wednesday, the first day of Gov. Barbour’s call, many House members arrived bright and early, eager to receive their mileage checks and per diem payments. After satisfying their inner Trump, they quickly convened and promptly considered only a small fraction of the legislative agenda before voting to head home for a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. I suppose, after two long, arduous, and exhausting hours of doing the people’s business, the majority thought it was time for summer break. Never had 120 minutes crept by so slowly.

To make matters more confusing, the House majority did not simply recess and head home for the weekend; they went through the formal process of Sine Die, a tradition which officially marks the end of a legislative session. If you don’t already know, Sine Die is a Latin phrase which technically means “without day.” It has now been loosely translated by some in the Mississippi House of Representatives (and a handful of European soccer fans) to officially mean, “Pass the Corona.”

I don’t, however, condemn the majority for wanting to return home. Nor do I criticize my local colleagues in the House. Without question, Rep. Bobby Shows and Rep. Gary Staples have done a wonderful job, often under very difficult circumstances. I simply would have favored the House majority allowing us a quick, more efficient end to the session.

Mississippi’s taxpayers should always demand transparency, accountability, and responsibility from its public servants. As such, we have an obligation to do our work as quickly, diligently and thoughtfully as possible, especially in a “special” session. By adjourning early, I’m concerned the practical effect of the House majority’s action will lengthen our “special” session and thus the taxpayers’ dismay with the process.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.