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Speaker Gunn sues Gov. Reeves over partial vetoes

House Speaker Philip Gunn
House Speaker Philip Gunn(WLBT)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 11:09 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Rep. Jason White filed a joint lawsuit against Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.

The suit is over Reeves’ vetoes of the bills related to school funding (House Bill 1700) and distribution of money from the CARES Act fund (House Bill 1782). Reeves vetoed portions of these bills by marking over the pieces he disapproved with a red X while approving the rest of the bills.

Reeves says his veto of H.B. 1700 was because of a teacher pay cut that was included. He also says the CARES Act included $2 million for a hospital that has been closed for years.

The lawsuit claims that under State ex rel. Teachers & Officers vs Holder (1898), Reeves acted outside of his authority on the two House bills. It claims that case makes it clear that the governor cannot partially veto any part of any bill he chooses.

The lawsuit also cites Barbour v. Delta Correctional Facility Authority (2004), which ruling states “the executive branch of government through a governor’s use of a partial veto may not thwart or sabotage the legislative intent.”

“The purported partial vetoes by Governor Reeves of the State’s education budget and public health emergency appropriations, well-meaning though they no doubt were, are not allowed by our state’s constitution, and this Court should enter judgment to that effect,” the lawsuit states.

Gov. Reeves claims his action is authorized by provision 73 of the Mississippi Constitution.

Reeves took to Twitter to air out his grievances with the lawsuit. He blames, in part, the “liberal Republicans who’ve joined forces with liberal House Dems.” He claims the lawsuit was only filed because they did not have the votes to override his vetoes.

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