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Mississippi lawmakers not to challenge legislation vetoed by Reeves

In the picture above, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is speaking during his State of the State address on Feb. 26 (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Monday was the final day for Gov. Tate Reeves to veto bills passed by the Mississippi legislature during the 2024 session and veto he did.

The Republican nixed a handful of suffrage bills while allowing other related bills to go into law. He vetoed a bill transferring money between state agencies and a portion of another that would have allocated funds to build a $13 million golf course on public land in Jackson. Topping headlines of bills vetoed by Reeves was Senate Bill 2180, which would have deleted a provision of current law that requires written approval from Capitol Police or the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety to host events – such as protests – on streets or sidewalks outside state-owned buildings.

Reeves, on Friday, vouched on social media that the bill also required Capitol Police to enforce Jackson city ordinances, including one that could make it difficult for the force to work with federal officials to undocumented illegal migrants.

“I believe, if this bill were to become law, the Capitol Police could not assist ICE in deporting illegal aliens that live in this community,” Reeves wrote. “Given the crisis at our southern border caused by the Biden Administration and the heinous crimes that have been committed in our state (and beyond) by illegals in recent weeks and months, that is a risk I am not willing to take. Therefore, I vetoed SB 2180.”

Rep. Trey Lamar, a Republican from Senatobia who two years ago led the charge on expanding Capitol Police’s duties and jurisdiction, did not confirm if the bill – which is plagued by entangled language – required or simply opened the door for Capitol Police to enforce Jackson city ordinances. However, he did say that he relates to the governor’s concerns.

“Let me put it this way. The governor’s main concern – and this is certainly my main concern – is that the Capitol Police is focused on making the city of Jackson inside [its jurisdiction] safer and enforcing the laws that we have so the criminal element is not there or at least in a much more diminished capacity,” Lamar said. “To the extend the city of Jackson has ordinances concerning zoning or garbage or things of that nature, Capitol Police at this point in time probably needs to be focusing on law enforcement and major crime prevention.”

Lamar added that lawmakers should look at clearing up language within the bill next year to determine Capitol Police’s duties when it comes to city ordinances. SB 2180 would have also added another judge to hear misdemeanor cases that take place within the Capitol Complex Improvement District.

While leaders did leave an open day, which would have been Tuesday, May 14, to return to the capitol to override any vetoes, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Jason White did not find an immediate second effort necessary for any of the rejected legislation. The two informed their chambers on Monday evening that they would not be convening for a final day of the session.

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