- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers are moving closer to final negotiations on a $6 billion state budget for the year that begins July 1.

The House and Senate have passed different versions of budget bills to cover a variety of state programs, from schools to mental health services to prisons.

Negotiators from the two chambers have a March 29 deadline to file final versions of more than 100 budget bills. Then, all 52 senators and 122 House members have until April 4 to pass the final versions of those bills and send them to Gov. Phil Bryant.

One item of dispute is whether the state will set aside money to train a new group of state troopers, as the governor wants. The House voted Monday to spend $6.9 million on a trooper school.