The MIssissipppi Legislature passed House Bill 803 with a unanimous vote in the state senate. The bill would have amended state law by limiting eminent domain to public uses only, forbidding takings for private purposes, private development, or enhancement of tax revenue. Unfortunately for Mississippi owners, however, Governor Haley Barbour vetoed House Bill 803.
Former State Senator Bob Usey’s op-ed below criticizes state senators for failing to muster enough votes to override the veto. All 52 of Mississippi’s state senators voted in favor of the bill; how could these same senators not vote to override the governor’s veto? Usey blames politics, accusing senators of politicking.
Fortunately, the Mississippi Farm Bureau and others spearheaded an effort to put a proposal on the ballot that would amend the state’s constitution to prevent the sort of private development takings House Bill 803 targeted. In Mississippi, the people are bridging the gap where their legislators have failed.
As a matter of fact, the bill passed the Senate 52-0 and several days later Gov. Barbour vetoed the bill. Then guess what happened? The Mississippi Senate could not even get enough votes to override the veto of the governor.
What even makes the story more interesting is that the leader of the Senate, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, wants to now be governor and Sen. (me-too) Billy Hewes wants to be lieutenant governor.
Neither Bryant nor Hewes has shown any leadership or had the courage to do the right thing and gather support in overriding the veto of the governor, with Hewes voting against the wishes of our interest and "voting against the override of the veto."
Finally, 119,251 Mississippians let by David Waide, the Mississippi Farm Bureau and others were forced to gather signatures to put Initiative No. 31 on the ballot, which should have been passed legislatively by those who want to lead and have failed us on this issue in the past.
Leadership is what we need now more than ever - not someone who votes as Hewes does 52-0 for a bill and several days later votes against the bill, that way he can have vote for the bill and one against the bill.