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Lawmakers may have to return to Capitol May 14 to override Gov. Tate Reeves’ potential vetoes

Legislators might not have much notice on whether they will be called back to the Mississippi Capitol for one final day of the 2024 session.

Speaker Jason White, who presides over the House, and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, must decide in the coming days whether to reconvene the Legislature for one final day in the 2024 session on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Lawmakers left Jackson on May 4. But under the joint resolution passed during the final days of the session, legislators gave themselves the option to return on May 14 unless Hosemann and White “jointly determine that it is not necessary to reconvene.”

The reason for the possible return on Tuesday presumably is to give the Legislature the opportunity to take up and try to override any veto by Gov. Tate Reeves. The only problem is the final bills passed by the Legislature — more than 30 — are not due action by Reeves until Monday, May 13. And technically the governor has until midnight Monday to veto or sign the bills into law or allow them to become law without his signature.

Spokespeople for both Hosemann and White say the governor has committed to taking action on that final batch of bills by Monday at 5 p.m.

“The governor’s office has assured us that we will receive final word on all bills by Monday at 5 p.m.,” a spokesperson for Hosemann said. “In the meantime, we are reminding senators of the possibility of return on Tuesday.”

A spokesperson for White said, “Both the House and Senate expect to have all bills returned from the governor before 5 p.m. on Monday. The lieutenant governor and speaker will then decide if there is a reason to come back on May 14.”

The governor has five days to act on bills after he receives them while legislators are in session, which technically they still are. The final batch of bills were ready for the governor’s office one day before they were picked up by Reeves staff. If they had been picked up that day earlier, Reeves would have had to act on them by Saturday.

At times, the governor has avoided picking up the bills. For instance, reporters witnessed the legislative staff attempt to deliver a batch of bills to the governor’s Capitol office one day last week, but Reeves’ staff refused to accept the bills. They were picked up one day later by the governor’s staff, though.

Among the bills due Monday is the massive bill that funds various projects throughout the state, such as tourism projects and infrastructure projects. In total, there are more than 325 such projects totaling more than $225 million in the bill.

In the past, the governor has vetoed some of those projects.

The governor already has taken action of multiple bills passed during the final days of the session.

He allowed a bill to strip some of the power of the Public Employees Retirement System Board to become law without his signature. The bill also committed to providing a 2-and-one-half percent increase in the amount governmental entities contribute to the public employee pension plan over a five year period.

A bill expanding the area within the Capitol Complex Improvement District, located in the city of Jackson, also became law without his signature. The CCID receives additional funding from the state for infrastructure projects. A state Capitol Police Force has primary law enforcement jurisdiction in the area.

The governor signed into law earlier this week legislation replacing the long-standing Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which has been the mechanism to send state funds to local schools for their basis operation.

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