Since May 2021, Mississippi has not had a ballot initiative process. In fact, the state Supreme Court revoked the November 2020 medical marijuana initiative and the entire ballot initiative process. Because the state Constitution required that five congressional districts be represented in order to obtain the required signatures for a ballot issue to be placed on it, the court declared the process invalid. Since 2000 Census, Mississippi has lost one congressional district. Mississippi now has four. READ MORE: Mississippi Supreme Court overturns the medical marijuana program and ballot initiative processes. Although Mississippi has lost one congressional district, many entities within state government are still based on the five districts. For example, the board that oversees 15 state community colleges is one of these entities. Other state laws that are still in force have also been approved on the basis of these five districts. Constitution Chair Fred Shanks (R-Brandon) said Monday that the proposal was approved. It would require signatures to be collected from any number of congressional districts in the state. The amendment would be open to citizens, but not to the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that the process was invalid in May and allowed only the amendment of the Constitution. Shanks and other legislative leaders stated that they prefer that the process be used for amending general law, as amending the Constitution requires approval from voters. The proposal states that a citizen-sponsored initiative can be approved by the voters, but the Legislature cannot amend it for two years, unless there is an emergency. Even then, it would require a two-thirds vote from each chamber. The full House is expected to consider the proposal in the next two weeks. The Senate and House must vote for the proposal at least two-thirds. Mississippi voters would need to approve the bill at the ballot box if it passes the Legislature. Philip Gunn, the House Speaker, and Delbert Hosemann, the Lieutenant Governor, support this bill. Delbert Hosemann has expressed his support for the restoration of the initiative process. Hosemann has assigned to two committees the Senate bill to restore the process, making it harder to pass. The House proposal that was passed Monday by the House does not permit legislators to put a different alternative to the citizen sponsored initiative on the ballot. Initiative sponsors have complained in recent years that legislators have put alternatives to the citizen sponsored initiative on the ballot. This has created a complicated voting process, which many claim caused confusion at the polls. READ MORE: Will legislators be open to giving up some power in order to restore the ballot initiative? In 2020, lawmakers put an alternative to a legal marijuana initiative on the ballot. The 2015 initiative was an initiative to increase public education’s commitment in the state Constitution. In a hearing before the House Constitution Committee, Rep. Jeramey, D-Escatawpa stated that as long as the legislative alternative measure is eliminated, he was satisfied with it. February 1 is the deadline for bills and constitutional amendments to be passed out of their origin chambers. The Senate proposal was not considered by either chamber late Monday night. Even if the Senate legislation to reinstate the initiative does not pass out of its committees by Tuesday’s deadlines, the House proposal will still be considered. Like the Supreme Court’s version, the House proposal would require signatures equal to 12% of those collected in the last gubernatorial elections in order for an issue to be placed on the ballot. Sponsors would still have 12 months to collect signatures. To allow citizens to verify whether they have been listed as signers on a petition for a ballot issue, the proposal would establish a database at the Secretary of State’s Office. Shanks stated that some people have complained about being listed as signers of an initiative petition, even though they didn’t.