Lawmakers from the Mississippi coast talked about budgets, bills and BP at a post-legislative briefing in Biloxi. MPB’s Evelina Burnett was there and has this report.
Among the bills passed this year with a strong local impact for the coast: a measure dubbed the “go cup” bill. Representative Scott Delano of Biloxi says it allows patrons in specially designated districts to carry their drinks outside.
"We just felt that it would be better for the economic development opportunities for our downtown area to allow patrons to leave their restaurants with these beverages so they can enjoy the activities that we try to set up in our public parks," he says.
The five lawmakers from Harrison and Jackson counties at the chamber of commerce-sponsored event disagreed on some topics, including the religious freedom bill and the budget. But they were united in their views on how - and especially where - economic damages from the BP oil spill should be spent.
Representative Sonya Williams Barnes, a Democrat from Gulfport, says the coast delegation has worked closely on this and other issues.
"We may not always vote the same, but I think for the most part we work together," she says. "And we definitely have been working together and very hard making sure that the monies from BP stay here in the affected area. We're pretty much on the same page on the types of programs and the things we would like to see done."
Mississippi will receive $150 million from BP this year, the first installment of a $750 million settlement the state will receive over 17 years.