Thursday, January 26, 2017
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's Democratic attorney general is lashing out at Republican lawmakers who are trying to limit his powers.
The GOP-led state House reversed course Wednesday and passed a bill that would require the attorney general, the lone Democrat to hold statewide office, to receive permission from a three-member board before filing any lawsuit that might have at least a $250,000 award.
House Bill 555 passed 63-55, mostly along party lines, with a few Republicans joining Democrats in voting no. The bill moves to the Senate.
The vote came one week after the bill originally failed 58-60. It had been held for a second round of House debate, a common tactic.
The board's three members would be the governor, the lieutenant governor and the secretary of state.
"Obviously, House leadership and proponents of this bill bow down to their corporate masters, and it's unfortunate that this bill's supporters put such pressure on conscientious Republican legislators to change their vote," Hood said in a statement.
He said he is grateful to lawmakers from both parties who opposed the bill. Hood called the proposal "an unconstitutional, political power grab that puts the interests of corporations ahead of Mississippi citizens."
Supporters of Hood say his lawsuits have brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, and the money has helped pad the budget as tax collections have fallen short of expectations. Critics say Hood financially aids political allies by hiring them to file suits.