Rep. David Baria has been steadily keeping a high profile during this legislative session. He’s attempted to be particularly busy in the lottery bill, which passed the House on a motion to reconsider by 58-55 margin.
On final passage, he voted “NO” on the lottery and justified his vote by saying that the process was not fair and that his amendment and those from fellow Democrats’ amendments were stripped from the conference report. However only some were stripped, amendments by Rep. Bell and Rep. Barnes were kept in the bill after conference.
After this interview was recorded, Y’all Politics began looking into where the confusion occurred with a vote change from Baria, considering that on camera he says he did not ask for one. Not long after that investigation began, Rep. Baria reached back out to set the record straight.
“I don’t change votes but this was such a landmark piece of legislation and I thought that’s what I needed to do,” said Rep. Baria.
And it seems, that’s exactly what he and others tried to do.
Baria told Y’all Politics that on Tuesday, after the vote was finalized, he was approached by Rep. Credell Calhoun and others who urged Baria to change his NO vote to a YES, in the best interest of his current run for the U.S. Senate seat against Sen. Roger Wicker.
Baria said that while he was not on the floor at the time, he and Rep. Kevin Horan made a call to one of Baria’s desk mates, Rep. Nick Bain. In that phone call Baria told Bain that Horan wanted his vote changed and added, “go ahead and change mine too.”
Rep. Bain confirmed, Baria did ask for the change.
Baria and Horan were joined by Wooten and Sykes in an attempt to change their votes. Seeking permission from fellow members is typically just considered a courtesy allowed under House rules, but an objection from any member can prevent that. It was first objected by Sen. Hines, who later withdrew his objection, and then again by Rep. Shirley.
The vote change did not stick on Tuesday.
Baria said Rep. Shirley approached him again on Wednesday and told him if he tried to change his vote again he would not object, but Baria said he chose to stay with his NO vote on the lottery bill. He did not attempt to change the vote again, but Wooten and Sykes moved forward with the change on Wednesday.
Baria made this post to constituents on his Facebook page as to why he voted NO:
In the earlier iteration of the bill, he touted a pro-education amendment he made.
Aug. 24 Rep. Baria’s amendment assuring the full funding of the classroom supply budget by diverting $12 mill from the lottery’s net revenue passed. His work on passage of this amendment only further highlights the experience he will bring to DC. #bariaformississippi#mssenpic.twitter.com/34GbShle3E
Except, Baria voted against it.
On Wednesday morning, the two other Democrats attempting to change received permission to change their votes.
2 Democrats in #Mississippi House — Kathy Sykes & Robert Johnson — just changed their votes from no to yes on #lottery bill that passed yesterday. Vote changing is allowed if nobody in the House objects. #msleg