But just as the Legislature has an until-now-unused option of putting an alternative on the ballot, so do citizens have the option of challenging its wording. That’s what Adrian Shipman, a mother of two Oxford schoolchildren, did with the support of Better Schools, Better Jobs, the grassroots organization that led the petition drive for Initiative 42.
Shipman, likely much to legislative leaders’ surprise, succeeded. Last week, Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled that the Legislature’s language was confusing and masked its true intent, and he ordered new language put on the ballot for the alternative. While both the citizen initiative and legislative alternative wording speak to funding schools, the alternative will now include the phrase “but not provide a mechanism to enforce that right.”
The judge was right: That speaks more clearly and accurately to the Legislature’s intent, which was to prevent passage of the citizen initiative from forcing lawmakers to follow the state law on school funding. Kidd’s ruling will allow for a more accurate gauge of public opinion on this issue.
NE MS Daily Journal Editorial