Holloway encouraged by wind pool legislation

Mayor A.J. Holloway said he was encouraged by the state House passage of the wind pool legislation, and he has written Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant asking for his influence to help the measure pass the state Senate.

The bill passsed in the House on Tuesday would commit an additional $20 million into the state wind pool in hopes of lowering insurance rates along the Coast. The funding would double this year’s appropriation for the government program that serves as “insurance of last resort” for homeowners who cannot buy wind coverage from the private sector.

“Having access to affordable insurance is one of the cornerstones of our rebuilding effort,” Holloway said. “I’m very appreciative of the leadership of Speaker Billy McCoy on this issue, who I consider a true friend of the Coast. I’m also appreciative of the work of our Coast legislative delegation and of the Coast business community, and the support that we’ve seen thus far from across the state.”

During the Mississippi Municipal League convention at the outset of the legislative session, Holloway testified before the Senate Insurance Committee and also convinced the Mississippi Municipal League, a collection of 300 towns and cities across the state, to support the wind pool legislation.

The mayor also acknowledged that the bill still needs Senate approval before it can be sent to Gov. Haley Barbour.

“I realize that you and your colleagues face a number of challenges this session,” Holloway wrote in his letter to Bryant, who as lieutenant governor presides over the Senate. “But lowering insurance rates, which passage of this legislation will do, is vital to our recovery. We want to be self-sustaining and continue making an important contribution to our state economy, and resolving this issue would be a significant step in that direction.”

In addition to his letter to Bryant today, Holloway also faxed letters of thanks to Speaker McCoy and MML Executive Director George Lewis.

To see the mayor’s letters to the three leaders, click here.

News and notes

Holloway mending: Mayor A.J. Holloway is expected to return to his City Hall office sometime after Mardi Gras. Holloway has worked from home since being released from the hospital on Feb. 12, after surgery to repair a perforated colon caused by diverticulitis. “He’s let us know that he’s anxious to get back to his office,” said David Staehling, the city’s director of administration. “We touch base with him at least a couple of times a day at this point.”

Revenue decline: January’s gaming revenue figures in the Biloxi casino market were $2 million off the previous month and $10 million off January 2008. To see the gaming figures, click here.

Contest winners: Winners in the Mardi Gras Shoe Box Float Contest and the Mississippi Coast History Week art contest were recognized this week at City Hall. To see the names and photos of the winners and photos of the winning floats, click here.

Sculptures update: NBC News correspondent Mark Potter reports that daily coverage of the stimulus package and the national economy continues to push back the planned Night News segment on Biloxi’s Katrina sculptures. Potter trades e-mails with the mayor’s office two or three times a week and promises to alert local audiences when the segment will air. Sculptor Marlin Miller and his wife, meantime, have accepted an invitation from Mayor A.J. Holloway to view the Mardi Gras parades from the City Hall reviewing stand on Tuesday.