Yesterday, I left the Capitol thinking we had a real shot at the getting a circuit judge for the 12th Circuit District (Forrest/Perry counties). SB 2756 was amended to include the Forrest/Perry county district (as well as two other circuit districts and three chancery districts) and was funded by the Appropriations Committee. However, the bill went back to Judiciary A for final approval.
The legislature operates on a "deadline" schedule. Tuesday at 8 p.m. was the deadline for House committees to report out Senate bills and vice-versa.
However, during the committee meeting around 4:30 p.m., there was a disagreement between two representatives in a different circuit district on how to draw the judicial sub-district lines within that district. When no solution was reached, one member amended the bill, and with no time for the amended bill to go back to Appropriations for approval prior to the 8 p.m. deadline, the bill died.
Basically, a local disagreement led to four circuit districts and three chancery districts losing their chance to gain a much-needed additional judge. The bill affected 15 counties total.
After fuming a while, I suppose you try and evaluate what happened and take some lesson from the event. As with any setback, you try not to become too cynical about the process, though that is much easier said than done.
The bill appears to be "dead dead," which is slightly more dead than just "dead." So, it looks like we may waiting until next year to see something happen.