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SENATORS ADD $1.5 MILLION TO THEIR BUDGET

April 10, 2001 – In a surprise move, the Legislature voted Tuesday to add $1.5 million to its $13.3 million budget, passing the measure as a rider to an unrelated bill.
Two minority legislators — Sens. Douglas Canton and Emmett Hansen II — crossed over and voted with the majority on the measure. The eight majority senators voting for it were Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Sens. Adlebert Bryan, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Carlton Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Norman Jn. Baptiste, Norma Pickard Samuel and Celestino White. Opposed were minority Sens. Lorraine Berry, Roosevelt David, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, David Jones and Vargrave Richards.
Liburd said the additional money would be used to give minority senators larger budgets and to pay outstanding obligations of the Legislature. In an interview off the floor, he said the majority will increase the minority senators' allotments from the $100,000 they were given in January to $170,000 each, the amount minority senators received in the last Legislature.
Richards, former Senate president, said he believed the Legislature could live within that budget. The 23rd Legislature reduced its budget from the previous year in response to the government's fiscal crisis.
Senators at first tapped the Indirect Cost Fund, money earmarked to pay for costs of administering federal grants, as the source of the $1.5 million.
Jones, the minority leader, said the measure was "clearly a hoax" because federal officials have frequently said that money cannot be used for any other purpose but federal grant administration.
Later in the day, proponents reconsidered the bill and changed the funding source to the Interest Revenue Fund, money gained on interest on bond proceeds.

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