Monday, March 30, 2015

Mississippi SEC Primary Bill Derailed in Conference

With the end of the 2015 legislative session in sight, time was running out on the Mississippi legislation to bump the Magnolia state presidential primary up a week to March 1.


SB 2531 breezed through the state Senate last month and was later unanimously passed by the state House with what seemed like a small amendment. That amendment and the division over it between the two chambers proved to be the undoing of the bill in conference. Standing in the way of Mississippi joining the proposed SEC primary was a dispute over whether to sunset the primary move. The House preferred making the presidential primary date change -- to the first Tuesday in March -- permanent while the Senate version would have had the primary revert to the second Tuesday in March date the state has occupied on the presidential primary calendar since 1988.

That gap between the two chambers' version could not be bridged in conference on Monday, March 30. That kills the bill and Mississippi's last chance to move up a week into the proposed SEC primary position. Instead, Mississippi will presumably compete with Michigan, Ohio, Hawaii Republicans and perhaps Idaho as well for attention on March 8.

Ultimately, this is a strange end for a bill that by all indications was a slam dunk even before the legislature convened in January. Everyone was apparently not on board.

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