Leaders in the Mississippi House of Representatives have reached an agreement that could get lawmakers back to work today. Lawmakers say they are ready to move past the partisan tensions that stalled business for much of last week.
The Legislative Black Caucus, Democrats, Speaker Philip Gunn and other leading Republicans spent most of Friday behind closed doors hashing out an agreement that would put an end to political strife that crippled the House for days.
After several hours and nearly a dozen meetings, the groups were able to work out a compromise.
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn says everyone should be back to work today.
"What we've done is reached an agreement and we're back on track," says Gunn. "This is normal legislative stuff. This is not an alarm. This is the kind of stuff that we deal with once a year and we always work it out and we always move along."
The high tensions in the house began Wednesday, after Republicans passed a bill that change the boundaries of Supreme Court and certain Commission districts to favor GOP candidates. African Americans Representatives swore that they would require every bill to be read in full before votes can take place. The stalling tactic drew the ire of Republicans who retaliated by removing a member's ability to raise points of personal privilege or even debate bills.
Democratic Representative Omeria Scott of Laurel says she has never seen anything like it.
"This is the most divided that the House has ever been and you can see it on this floor every day," Scott says. "These new members will vote their conscious and then they go them and they tell them 'you don't vote with those Democrats. You've seen them do it, they change their votes."
But lawmakers are hoping Friday's compromise will help put an end to some of the tensions between Republicans and Democrats. House Minority Leader, David Baria of Bay St. Louis says he's optimistic.
"I believe that it will ultimately have a positive impact on our ability to work together over the next four years," Baria says.
Baria says Democrats will begin holding regular meetings with Republican leadership in order to prevent future stand stills.