Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has vetoed a bill that would pay for Highway Patrol officers' overtime by increasing fees on driver's license rein statements.
In his veto message, Barbour wrote that he respects the Legislature's attempt to address the problem of insufficient pay for law enforcement officers, but he says the bill is the wrong solution.
The bill would double the fee for reinstating most driver's licenses that had been suspended, revoked or canceled, taking it from $25.00 to $50.00. It also would sharply increase the fee for reinstating a license that had been suspended after a drunken-driving conviction, taking it from $75.00 to $200.00.
Both types of license suspensions come after traffic citations have been issued, and Barbour says law officers' pay should not be based on ticket writing.
It is inappropriate for law enforcement salaries to be dependent upon fees resulting from traffic tickets. Such a salary system creates a perception among the public that Highway Patrol officers stop motorists and write tickets for the purpose of increasing their own pay. This perception would not be fair to the Highway Patrol, and neither would the salary structure.
Barbour also said state and local law enforcement who issue thousands of citations that result in driver license revocations would not be treated the same as Highway Patrol officers. He said the fees resulting from their work would be paid exclusively to Highway Patrol officers, and Barbour called it unfair.
Overriding the veto would take a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate.