State Politics

Reeves breaks tie, saves bill to push school start back

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday became an honorary “fish eater,” saving a bill to push back the start of school – legislation long pushed by Coast lawmakers in part to help tourism.

A move by opponents in the Senate to recommit the bill to committee, and thus kill it with today’s deadline for action, came down to a 25-25 vote. Reeves broke the tie, voting against recommitting it. House Bill 707 then passed the Senate 29-21. It heads back to the House now after the Senate made minor changes.

In debating the bill, lawmakers joked about the Coast delegation being “fish eaters,” a term coined by Senate President Pro tem Terry Brown, R-Columbus. Coast lawmakers pushing for the bill argued that it would help tourism statewide and was not “just a fish-eater bill.”

The bill, authored by Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, would prevent school districts from starting their year before the third week of August. Supporters, including the Gulf Coast Business Council, said it will help tourism by allowing families to take vacations later in the summer and help schools save money on utilities during the sweltering month of August.

Read more in Wednesday’s Sun Herald and at