472 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Mississippi’s governor is constitutionally recognized as the chief executive officer of the State. The aforementioned seven additional statewide elective officials in the executive branch are not tied to the governor politically, nor do they serve as a part of his executive “cabinet,” as is the case in many other states. Instead, those officials serve independently without formal gubernatorial oversight, budgetary dictates, or direction in how their assigned departments operate or prioritize spending. The Mississippi Code grants the governor authority to appoint the heads of the following departments: finance and administration; economic development authority; emergency management; banking and consumer finance; corrections; human services; environmental quality; public safety; state military; and wildlife, fisheries and parks. The governor also appoints lay members to more than one hundred quasi-independent agencies, boards, and commissions. Although the constitution gives the governor a mandate “to see that the laws are faithfully executed,” it provides the governor no authority or power to give specific direction to agencies assigned to the seven other independently elected statewide officials. While the governors of most states control their state’s budget process, the governor’s fiscal role in Mississippi is minimal, consisting mainly in the presentation of a balanced budget to the Mississippi legislature for its consideration. In practice, Mississippi has two budget offices—one for the governor and a second—the Legislative Budget Office—for the state legislature. Both offices prepare an annual budget for legislative consideration, although it is the budget proffered by the legislature which receives the most serious legislative consideration. The legislature by constitutional mandate holds the purse strings, and no state money is allocated for spending unless first approved and budgeted by both the House and Senate membership. However, the governor must approve, by signing into law, the budget adopted by the legislature before it goes into effect. Most importantly, the governor possesses the power to line item veto specific budget appropriations while still approving the remaining budget as a whole. Mississippi’s fiscal year begins each July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following calendar year. Mississippi’s governor also has a few significant legislative powers. He is given authority to call the House and Senate into a special session to consider specific agenda matters set by him and has veto power over legislative actions including the line item veto over all appropriation bills. Although the governor is not formally involved in the legislative process once the House and Senate convene, the governor annually presents his legislative agenda and priorities for the state in a formal “State of the State” address to a joint convocation of the House and Senate membership at the opening of the legislative session each January. The lieutenant governor, the second-highest ranking executive officer in the state, serves as president of the Senate, only voting when needed to break a tie. The lieutenant governor serves on the Senate Rules and Joint Legislative Budget committees, has the sole ability to appoint standing committees of the Senate, and refers all bills to committees for consideration. In the event the office of the governor becomes vacant, due to death, resignation, or removal, the lieutenant governor will assume that office. The secretary of state directs a service and information agency with major statutory functions: administration of the Mississippi Corporation Law, Uniform Commercial Code, Uniform Securities Law, and Elections Code. The secretary of state administers and supervises 16th Section School Trust Lands, the Tidelands Trust, lieu lands, and tax- forfeited property. The position is also responsible for the issuance of documents and publications of the state, including those for the executive and legislative branches; for investigation of charity and securities fraud; and for enforcement of campaign finance and lobbyist reporting requirements. Other duties include issuing notary commissions, registering correspondence schools, administering the state’s trademark and service mark laws, receipt of service of process, and administering the Administrative Procedures Act. The state constitution designates the secretary of state as the “keeper of the capitol.” The attorney general is the chief legal officer and advisor of the state and serves as lawyer for the state itself, its public officials, and its governmental agencies. The attorney general is the only official who may bring or defend a lawsuit on behalf of the state. The attorney general employs a staff of attorneys and investigators who assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity occurring in the state. The state auditor is responsible for auditing state agencies, county governments, school districts, community and junior colleges, and universities. The auditor also conducts investigations into abuse of public funds and violations of law. The state auditor is tasked with providing “best practice” standards for all public offices of regional and local subdivisions of the state. The auditor establishes systems of accounting, budgeting, and reporting for governmental offices in conformity with legal requirements and with accepted accounting principles. Additionally, the officeholder conducts inventory audits of all state property and audits the