The Hinds County Chancery Court has ruled Reeves’ partial vetoes as unconstitutional and based on the findings, the request for the claim to be dismissed was also denied. The decision was made by Hinds County Chancellor Tiffany Grove
Previously, a suit was filed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Representative Jason White over line item vetoes within House Bill 1782 made by Governor Tate Reeves during the 2020 Legislative session. They argued that the Governor interjected his legislative judgement in place of the Legislature itself, according to the order of the court.
The squabble was over $2 million appropriated by the Legislature to the North Oak Regional Medical Center and $6 million given to the MAGnet Community Health Center. The money came out of appropriations from CARES Act funds.
The Governor stood by his opinion that the partial veto was within his rights and requested that the court declare the veto lawful and dismiss the lawsuit. He even took to social media to ask where the public’s opinion on the situation stood.
Both parties submitted briefs to argue their viewpoint on the situation and those arguments were reviewed by the court before a decision was made.
However, according to the decision, the pleadings submitted as well as the Constitution and case law, the Court found that the partial veto was part of a condition, which made it unconstitutional if following those parameters.
The partial veto is therefore a nullity.
“This is not a surprise—the Governor has always publicly said that this case will end up before the state Supreme Court. One Hinds County judge was never going to decide this. The Supreme Court will have to decide the central question of whether spending millions on pet projects is an appropriation or a ‘condition’ on an appropriation,” said Parker Biden a spokesperson for Reeves. “The constitution provides a check on their ability to dole out money to special projects. We hope the Supreme Court will recognize that check is necessary, guaranteed by the constitution, and should not be eliminated. We continue to maintain that someone has to hold the Speaker and his crew accountable if they attempt to wrongly funnel money to favored entities.”
Speaker Gunn did not comment on the ruling at this time.
The court did not dismiss the lawsuit and the motion by Gunn and White, yet Judgement on Pleadings was granted. This will allow for HB 1782 to become law in its entirety without Reeves’ approval.
View the ruling below: