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Governor Reeves vetoes four bills...

Governor Reeves vetoes four bills including ones related to shifting Ethics Commission authority, criminal voting rights

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 25, 2022

Reeves also allows bill creating Mississippi Healthy Food Families Program to become law without his signature.

Governor Tate Reeves has vetoed four bills from the 2022 Mississippi Legislative Session. The vetoes range from provisions pertaining to campaign finance reports to restoring voting rights to criminal convictions.

The vetoes include:

  • SB 2306
  • SB 2336
  • SB 2530
  • SB2536

SB 2306:

Authored by State Senator Jeff Tate, Senate Bill 2306 sought to transfer the authority of the Mississippi Ethics Commission to assess a civil penalty against any candidate or political committee for failure to file a report to the Secretary of State. It would also delete the provisions that provide for a hearing for a candidate or political committee before the State Board of Election Commissioners.

The bill also sought to provide for an appeal procedure for those candidates who are assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of State.

SB 2336: 

This was a straightforward veto, as the language from the bill was added to HB 155, and therefore the bill was not needed. As Governor Reeves noted in his veto, it was a duplicate bill.

SB 2530: 

This bill, authored by State Senator Scott DeLano, would have allowed the Mississippi Department of Information and Technology Services to compile and record incidences of demand for payment as a result of ransomware attacks that are made against state agencies and other governing authorities. A report would then be generated to the Legislature.

In Governor Reeves’ veto letter, he acknowledged that the cyber-attacks like ransomware are evolving and escalating. However, he says that “the risk of publication or disclosure of the reports and related work on such potential vulnerabilities, even from inadvertent dissemination, can lead to further threats and exploitations of such vulnerabilities.”

Reeves said the goals set in SB 2530 were important, but he was still compelled to veto the bill at this time. He said he hopes stakeholders will come together again to address the issue in the future.

“I look forward to the Governor engaging in policies that protects private information and tax dollars from all cyber threats. Nationally, we know Ransomware attacks cost taxpayers millions of dollars and Mississippi has had its fair share of these cyber attacks. Right now, there is no way of knowing how much these attacks are costing taxpayers because there’s no requirement for public entities to report the costs to anyone. This bill sought to change that. While I’m disappointed in the veto, I look forward to working with the Governor on this matter.” said Senator DeLano.”

SB 2536:

SB 2536, which was authored by State Senator Jeremy England, originally created a public fund offender registry in Mississippi, but was vetoed by Reeves after additional language regarding suffrage rights was added to the text.

The language, given by State Rep. Nick Bain, would have reinstated the right to vote for individuals convicted of crimes that had been expunged.

Currently, state law requires that suffrage rights are only restored by a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, or a Gubernatorial pardon on a case-by-case basis.

“I’ve been working on getting a public fund offender registry in Mississippi for 3 years now, and to have the bill reach the Governor’s desk and be vetoed is obviously disappointing and frustrating,” said Sen. England. “According to the veto message, the issue the Governor had with the bill relates to the section that returned suffrage rights for those that had a disenfranchising crime expunged from their record – which is language that was added to my bill in conference. I’ve talked to members of the Governor’s staff, and I hope to get the public fund offender registry bill back to his desk next session. It’s my understanding that he had no objection to that portion of the bill.”

Senator England added that the expungement language that was looked at in conference was essentially “clean up language.” He said what they ended up with allows those that have had a disenfranchising crime expunged from their record to re-register to vote as long as they are otherwise eligible to vote, meaning those persons cannot have any other disenfranchising crimes in their record.

“With all due respect, Senate Bill 2536 is not an attempt to ‘clarify’ existing law, but rather an attempt to affect a significant and unwise change to Mississippi’s voting laws. Thus, I am compelled to veto Senate Bill 2536,” Reeves wrote in the message.

England said he disagreed with the Governor and his team’s assessment that the bill would “automatically returns voting rights to criminals.”

“The idea being that the purpose of an expungement is to return a person to their same status as before their conviction of a disenfranchising crime. The crime is expunged from their record, giving them a clean slate essentially, so they could have then re-registered to vote,” said England.

Bill left unsigned but that becomes law

Governor Reeves also left SB 2077 unsigned, allowing it to become law without his signature. That bill created the Mississippi Healthy Food Families Program.

View the Message from Governor Reeves below: 

2022 Governor Veto Message by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: