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Lawmakers return to hammer out budget

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers return to the Capitol today after a nearly one-month break, and they will try to pass a state spending plan for the year that begins July 1.

House and Senate negotiators reached a $5.5-billion budget deal April 16 and are hoping their colleagues will accept it.

The session is set to end May 3. The state constitution says money bills can’t be passed in the final five days, the budget must be approved by April 28.

Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory says the budget proposes too little money for education.

The Senate Appropriations chairman, Republican Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo, says negotiators did the best they could.

There are a few other items on lawmakers’ agenda, including reauthorization of the state Department of Employment Security.

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