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Barbour calls special session over bond issue

JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he’s calling legislators into special session Friday to consider at least one economic development bond issue.

Barbour made the announcement during a news conference today, saying he’ll release more details about the project or projects on Wednesday. He would not say how many jobs would be created, what kinds of companies are involved, what part of the state they’d go to or what kind of incentives the state would provide.

The special session begins at 10 a.m. Friday, leading into the Labor Day weekend. Barbour said he expects lawmakers to be at the Capitol one day.

The state issues bonds as long-term debt to finance big projects such as construction or repair of highways or public buildings, or to provide incentives to lure companies to the state.

After legislators authorize bond debt, bonds are issued by the state Bond Commission, made up of the governor, the state treasurer and the attorney general.

The commission’s next meeting is Sept. 19. Barbour said the special session is timed to come before that meeting “so that these large projects can get started this winter, if the Legislature approves them.”

Only the governor can call a special session, and he controls the agenda. Barbour, a Republican in the final year of his second term, has used special sessions for economic development projects in the past.

The Legislature’s regular sessions begin each January. This is the first special session since legislators concluded their three-month regular session in early April.

Barbour said today he has spoken to Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Democratic House Speaker Billy McCoy about the projects that could be considered Friday.

Barbour said he does not expect to add any other issues, such as congressional and legislative redistricting, to the special session agenda.

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