Gov. Phil Bryant may call the Mississippi Legislature into special session to help pay state government’s share of tornado recovery costs.

Speaking yesterday in Louisville, Bryant told reporters that the state believes that it needs at least $8.5 million to match federal aid from the April 26 tornadoes. The National Weather Service has counted 23 tornadoes that touched down across the Mississippi on April 23. A total of 14 people were killed, 10 of them in Winston County.

“I’ll be briefing the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House tomorrow on the potential of having a special session,” Bryant said.

State and local governments are each supposed to put up a one-eighth match to federal aid. The state has to pay all of some administrative costs, said Greg Flynn, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. MEMA was budgeted $5.4 million in the budget year that ends June 30.

State Sen. Giles Ward, R-Louisville and Rep. Michael Evans, D-Louisville, are likely to be strong supporters of any aid. Ward’s house was destroyed, while Evans coordinated search and rescue efforts in the county.

“Today I take off my senatorial hat and stand before you as a victim of the storm,” Ward said.

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