Legislators taking center stage now

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Like a Greek tragedy, complete with drama, intrigue and hopefully a life-lesson, too, the 2007 Mississippi Legislative session drones on toward its inevitable ugly end.

Center stage: With less than a week left before the start of April, Mississippi’s school children will soon be taking state proficiency tests and inching ever closer to the start of summer break.

Stage left: Meanwhile at the center of state government, trouble begins creeping into the scene — lawmakers have begun fighting over education funding.

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Like the beautiful, yet slightly annoying chirps of the cicada insects that haunt Mississippi forests, rearing their noisy little bodies with seasonal repetition, so go the legislators.

Stage right: On across the stage, sits Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who wants his own budget to pass exactly as he proposed it.

Across the stage, the two sides battle it out, each aiming for supreme victory without much worry — at least not at the moment — for the well-being of the children trying to work in between the bickering barrage.

Intermission: Is it possible for lawmakers to just once not turn education funding into a political debate? Rarely in these debates is what’s best for the state’s children discussed. Instead the debate often becomes a tit-for-tat spitball contest.

The dispute forced lawmakers to miss their Saturday deadline for having final budget bills completed. Instead, they simply extended the deadline until today.

This year’s session will end on April 1 and with it, we hope this annual drama will end, too.