From the Clarion Ledger:
Recovering from a disaster that touched almost every corner of our state’s economy and put Mississippians out of work should not be a partisan matter.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster inflicted serious environmental and economic pain on our state. Sales of Mississippi seafood plummeted. Rooms at coastal hotels sat empty. And Mississippians, who live across the state and work offshore, saw paychecks stop.
Last month, the Legislature passed, and Governor Phil Bryant signed a law allocating a large majority of the legal settlement from BP to the southernmost six counties where the bulk of the economic damages occurred. The bill had bipartisan support in both chambers, reflecting the fact that Mississippians pull together to address disaster recovery.
Democratic Party leader and former state representative Brandon Jones recently complained that his party’s top elected official wasn’t given enough “credit” for negotiating a multi-state settlement. (“Governor Phil Bryant needs to give AG Jim Hood credit for BP money,” Clarion-Ledger, Sept. 13, 2018).
When the settlement was announced in 2015, Governor Bryant and General Hood stood side-by-side explaining the multistate deal secured by outside counsel hired by the Attorney General’s Office.
Mr. Jones also fails to relate that Governor Bryant and the Legislature had to step in to stop Hood from his usual practice of hiring outside counsel on a contingent fee basis, which has resulted in the payment of lawyer fees of over $108.5 million dollars since 2009, and forced him to hire outside counsel in this instance based on a set hourly rate, thereby saving the state approximately $50 million dollars, which instead will now be used to help our people.
The recent Special Session was about was about making public policy decisions, which is not in the constitutional purview of the Office of the Attorney General.
If Democrats and Mr. Hood want credit for legislation, maybe our attorney general should run for the Legislature. However, that would mean that he would have to show up in Jackson for at least three months of the year.