Mississippi lawmakers won’t challenge vetoes for projects

Published 4:06 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers will not try to override Republican Gov. Tate Reeves’ vetoes of spending for several projects, including improvements to a state-owned golf course in Jackson.

Reeves struck down nearly $27 million worth of projects in late April, after lawmakers had already left the Capitol at the end of the 2022 regular session. That pushed consideration of an override into the 2023 session, which began Tuesday.

Overriding a governor’s veto takes a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. Republicans control both chambers, and the last override was when Reeves vetoed part of an education funding bill in 2020.

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Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn is not seeking reelection this year, so that eases pressure on him to remain aligned with the governor.

Gunn told reporters Thursday that the House would have had enough support to override the vetoes and revive funding for the projects, including more than $13 million to revive a golf course and create an adventure trail at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson.

“We had the votes to override that,” Gunn said Thursday. “But the Senate … tells us they do not.”

Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, both Republicans, are seeking reelection. Hosemann said in a separate interview Thursday that the House would have had to take the first step toward an override this week because the vetoed items were in a bill that originated in the House.

As to whether the Senate would have had enough support for an override, Hosemann said: “I don’t know that because we never took a vote on it. That was a House bill. They had to bring it out of the House. I understand today they didn’t bring it out. I suppose we’ll never know. If they’d have brought it out, I guess we’d have addressed it in the Senate and found out.”

The other items Reeves vetoed were:

— $7.5 million in earmarks that would go to private companies through Mississippi Development Authority without the usual financial or economic impact analysis.

— $2 million for renovations at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium in downtown Jackson.

— $1 million to build a parking lot at the Jackson Convention Complex.

— $1 million to the city of Pascagoula to help pay for renovations of city offices.

— $1 million for the Scenic Rivers Development Alliance for improvements including golf cart path repairs and course equipment upgrades at Quail Hollow Golf Course in Pike County.

— $500,000 to the city of Greenville for green space next to the federal courthouse.

— $250,000 to the privately owned Briarwood Pool in Jackson.

— $200,000 to Summit Community Development Foundation for a Stand Pipe project.

— $50,000 to Arise and Shine Inc. in Copiah County