Arguments at the Mississippi Supreme Court will be at 10 a.m. today in the legislative challenge to preserve the wording of the Alternative 42A ballot title.

In April, a Hinds County Circuit Judge refused to approve the Alternative 42A ballot title agreed upon by Attorney General Jim Hood and legislators. The Legislature appealed the Hinds County Circuit Court Judge’s decision to alter the ballot title for Alternative 42A.

Attorneys for the Legislature will argue the judge did not have the authority to alter the ballot title. Elected representatives should retain their authority granted by the Mississippi Constitution to determine education policy and funding decisions.

“The ultimate enforcement of the Mississippi Constitution, of course, lies in the hands of its people,” the appeal states. “Voters dissatisfied with the Legislature’s discharge of its duties may vote to change the membership of the Legislature. Voters dissatisfied with this Court’s performance of its duties may vote to change the membership of this Court. What the voters of 81 counties and three-fourths of the voters of Hinds County cannot do is vote to change a Circuit Judge who elevates his view of truth and impartiality over that of the Attorney General elected by all Mississippians.”

The legislative alternative, known as Alternative 42A, ensures public schools are effective in educating Mississippi’s children without subjecting statewide education policy decisions to a single judge in Hinds County. The Legislature passed the initiative to provide Mississippi voters with an alternative to Initiative 42, which allows a single Hinds County judge to make decisions that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire state.

This dramatic shift in power away from locally-elected legislators is likely to result in significant tax increases, drastic cuts in state priorities – such as funding for universities, community colleges, University Medical Center, roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and even agricultural programs – or both.
Initiative 42 and Alternative 42A will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters can also choose not to change the Constitution by voting “no” to both options.

MS Legislature Press Release
6/9/15