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Two senators, two different votes on Gov. Reeves education bill veto

Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MOSELLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Politics and education were one in the same this week when a Republican-led legislature overrode Gov. Tate Reeves’ veto of the education budget.

One state senator said politics aside, the override means schools get the funding they needed. Another state senator said there was important work left on the table.

With a house vote of 110-6 and a senate vote of 41-1, the education budget bill that was passed by legislators then vetoed by Reeves is now law.

According to The Parents’ Campaign, a group founded in 2006 to give public school parents and educators a voice in legislative decision making, the override was a win that allows The Mississippi Department of Education to notify districts of their budget allocations for the year.

Republican State Sen. Joey Fillingane agreed and voted to override the governor’s veto. He said lawmakers needed to take out the uncertainty for educators.

“Obviously, our educators needed to know this week. Many of them are going back into school and back into the classroom this week and some next week, so they needed to have certainties of what their budgets were going to be,” Fillingane said.

Fillingane said the governor vetoed the education bill because it left out the School Recognition Program, which gives $28 million in bonuses that were earned by teachers in the 2018-2019 school year.

“We recognize he was right,” Fillingane said.

He said that’s why lawmakers passed an educational appropriations bill that replenishes the $28 million that was left out of the original education bill.

District 44 State Sen. John Polk voted not to override the veto. He said his decision to do that was his effort to make sure funding was addressed, not only for education but for the Department of Marine Resources, which has no budget.

“I had told our leadership in the senate that I felt the house was determined to override the governor’s veto politically, and I felt like that if we went ahead and overwrote the veto before we got a DMR bill passed that we would not be able to negotiate with them and they would not negotiate with us on the DMR bill. That is exactly what happened. We left this morning at 10 o’clock from the chamber, adjourned without a DMR budget again,” Polk said.

Filligane said they are not completely adjourned. He said the legislature still has a few days saved that it can use if lawmakers need to go back into session.

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