Joey Barnes

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Democrats Push For State Employee Pay Raise

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Lawsuit settlements are pumping nearly $64 million into the Mississippi budget.

Attorney General Jim Hood says Wednesday that he’s sending nearly $53 million to the general fund, which is the largest part of the state budget, and $11 million to the state employees’ health insurance plan.

The announcement comes as lawmakers are entering the final weeks of writing a $6 billion budget for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1.

The state sued GlaxoSmithKline over claims the company made about the diabetes drug, Avandia. That settlement is bringing $25.2 million.

The state is collecting $22.5 million in a price-fixing case against BASF, a German company that makes vitamins.

Hood says he’s asking lawmakers spend some money for counseling and other programs to help departing prisoners re-enter the free world.