April 23, 2013 10:02:50 AM
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant confirmed Monday that a call for a special session related to an economic development project is forthcoming.
Details on the potential development are limited, but before Bryant made the announcement, legislators close to the situation said it could involve discussion of an incentive package for an automotive supplier that has shown interest in opening an operation in Clay County.
According to the Associated Press, Bryant made the announcement while he was in Oxford for a groundbreaking on an unrelated project. Bryant did not say when the session would be held.
"There's a lot of moving parts in being able to work with an international corporation, working with all the members of the Legislature and getting things in line. But we're beginning that process right now, Bryant said Monday. "I can't give many details about the project right now but it's a part again of our automobile corridor, and it's very important to our future."
Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus, said he spoke with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Monday about when a session could be held, but neither were aware of anything concrete.
"(Reeves) knows about as much as I do. There's a possibility, although it hasn't been tied down, that we could be going in Monday," Brown said. "I've heard it may be about a major manufacturing company that has to do with the automotive industry, but that's about all I've heard. I didn't know about this until the middle of last week, and that's still where we are right now. They've kept this thing pretty close to the chest about more than anything we've dealt with."
Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, said he was at the Capitol this weekend and said he was told to be "gearing up" for an April 29 special session. A portion of his district is in Clay County.
"I don't know anything officially ... but I have heard (the plant location) is in the Clay County area and I do know it sounds like it's on the designated megasite," Chism said, adding that if a deal is completed, it could be a "large, large project maybe with 600-to-800 jobs."
Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said he could not comment, citing policy.
"I could not swear on the Bible and tell you if, or when, a special session is going to be called," Higgins said. "We don't talk about projects, not because we want to keep them secret but there are companies that have competitive reasons, and they want to be in charge of the message.
"The first time I'll be able to comment is if a session is called and the governor gives opening remarks about it. Up until then, we can't talk about this or any other projects we're working on."
Bryant's spokesman, Mick Bullock, confirmed the governor's remarks to the Associated Press late Monday.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
1. Walmart employee arrested for embezzlement COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Fourth teen arrested for making bomb threat COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Alabama man identified as hit-and-run victim STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY