Regarding the split between Tate Reeves and the Legislature over control of the federal stimulus money, the first-term governor doesn’t understand why lawmakers are behaving this way, other than the possibility that they might hold a grudge from his time as lieutenant governor.
Reeves says he is only trying to exercise the emergency spending power given to Mississippi governors in a 40-year-old law, as some of his predecessors have done before him. Arguing in his corner is Haley Barbour, who as governor controlled billions of dollars in federal relief and recovery money following Hurricane Katrina.
The state constitution, though, is clear that the appropriation process is a legislative function. If a former Legislature decided decades ago to relinquish that power in an emergency, a current Legislature is within its rights to take it back.