/JAY-Z, Meek Mill group wants Mississippi lawmakers to override Reeves prison reform veto

JAY-Z, Meek Mill group wants Mississippi lawmakers to override Reeves prison reform veto

It’s not clear if lawmakers, especially in the Senate, could get the two-thirds vote necessary to override Reeves veto of Senate Bill 213. Since 2002, when the governor was replaced by Ronnie Musgrove, Mississippi’s legislature has not overridden a governor’s veto. Ronnie Musgrove vetoed budget bills. “This veto is just the latest example showing how Gov. REFORM Alliance released a statement saying that Reeves continues to fail the state’s incarcerated population. “… Reform Alliance is urging the Legislature not to grant Reeves’ veto. This would allow thousands of Mississippi prisoners to seek parole, reduce prison population amid the COVID-19 crisis, and save taxpayers upwards to $45 million.” Mississippi has the second highest incarceration rate. It also faces a prison crisis that includes overcrowding and violence. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the matter and has filed lawsuits against it. The problem is largely due to Mississippi’s harsh sentencing laws, which were passed in the mid-1990s, and the lack of rehabilitation or reentry programs. This year’s reform legislation received broad bipartisan support from many conservative groups, such as Empower Mississippi and American Conservative Union, Right on Crime, Americans for Prosperity, and Right on Crime. The centerpiece of the reform was Senate Bill 223. It would have established consistency in parole eligibility by allowing nonviolent offenders to be eligible after they have served 25% of their sentences, and violent offenders after they have served 50% or 20 to 30 years depending on the years. Supporters of the reform said that it would have restored parole board oversight over parole eligibility to levels comparable to the early 1990s. This was before tough-on crime laws, which created harsher sentences and lowered parole eligibility, had led to an explosion in prison population. It was expected that the legislation would allow parole eligibility for around 2,000 prisoners and save the state approximately $45 million annually in corrections costs. House Judiciary B Chairman Nick Bain (Republican from Corinth), who helped to pass the now-vetoed legislation, said that there were many safeguards in place. “This is only eligibility. Yes, the parole board would have the final say. I believe that this got lost in the.” Senate Judiciary B Chairman Brice WIGGINS, R-Pascagoula said that the reform was just eligibility. The parole board would have final say. Bain and Wiggins both said that they don’t know of any concerted effort to whip votes in order to override a veto. Due to a COVID-19 epidemic among Capitol staffers and lawmakers, the Legislature is currently in limbo. There are still unfinished business from 2020 and multiple Reeves-vetoes. Senate Bill 2123 was passed by the House with a majority of veto-proof votes. It was passed 25-17 in the Senate, but it failed to get a two-thirds vote. Although most of the other groups supporting Mississippi criminal justice reform are not joining the REFORM Alliance and calling for a direct veto override to the bill, they urge the state leaders to address the prison crisis. Some believe Reeves may call a special legislative session to push for reform. Grant Callen, Empower Mississippi president, stated that “Clearly we’re in the middle of a crisis in prison” and that it was not addressed during the regular session. “We have heard that there is growing momentum for an Override. But we believe a special session will be the most productive way of addressing the issue.” Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen said, “Clearly, we are in the middle of a prison crisis and it went unaddressed during the regular session.” House Bill 658 was a criminal justice reform bill. It aimed to help convicts re-enter society by increasing the number expungements for felonies people can get after they have served their sentences. Reeves claimed that allowing people to erase multiple felonies would lead to “career criminals” walking around with no record. But Wiggins, who was a former prosecutor, stated, “People fail realize that expungement can be a valuable tool within the criminal justice system.” Wiggins stated that expungement allows people to return to work after serving their sentences, and not be hindered by an event from years ago. “It’s a tool that reasonable judges and prosecutors can use to hold people responsible – understanding that non-adjudication for violent offenses is not permitted… If you are 100% committed to allowing people back to work and not being an inconvenience to society, this tool is a way to do that.”