/House votes to restore a version of ballot initiative

House votes to restore a version of ballot initiative

The Constitution resolution was passed by 92 to 26, with 78 votes needed to pass. It now moves to the Senate. After the resolution is passed by both chambers, it will be sent to the Senate. This effort is necessary because in May 2021, the Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the initiative process which had been in place since the 1990s. Tuesday’s proposal is different from the one in effect before May 2021. The proposal would allow voters the ability to put on the ballot issues to amend or change general law. The voters were able to amend the state Constitution through the initiative that was adopted in the early 90s, but which was overturned by the Supreme Court last summer. The new proposal would prohibit the Legislature from changing general law for at least two years after it was approved by voters, unless it is an emergency. Even then, it would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber. READ MORE: House Constitution Chair Fred Shanks, along with other legislative leaders, made the first move to reinstate the ballot initiative process. They said that they prefer that the process be used for amending general law as it is easier to alter the Constitution. The approval of the voters is required for any change to the Constitution. The majority of the House members who voted against Tuesday’s resolution were Democrats, who supported the initiative process but disagreed with the House leadership’s proposal for an initiative. Robert Johnson (D-Natchez) proposed an amendment to give voters the right of appeal to the Supreme Court in order to block any changes to the initiative within the first two years. Shanks suggested that he might collaborate with Johnson to include in the process a form of appeal for changes made in the first two-years. However, the amendment was rejected. In a controversial May 2021 ruling the state Supreme Court declared the process invalid. The Constitution required that the required number be collected equally from five congressional districts. Due to the 2000 Census, the state now has four congressional districts. One of them was lost. READ MORE: Mississippi Supreme Court rejects the medical marijuana program and ballot initiative process. The House passed this week a proposal that would require that a pro-rata portion of signatures from any number of congressional districts be collected. READ MORE: Will legislators be open to giving up some power in order to restore ballot initiative?