Mississippi Senate lets Ballot Initiative bill die for another year

JACKSON, Miss. (WCBI) – The Mississippi Senate lets a bill that would allow voters to put measures on a statewide ballot die, without even voting on it.

District 44 Senator John Polk, who chairs the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, and Transparency Committee, said that Senate Concurrent Resolution 533 didn’t have support to pass this year and that there were too many differences between the House and Senate versions to iron out.

Today was the last day that the bill could be taken up, and it was left to die on the calendar.

Mississippi’s 30-year-old Ballot Initiative was struck down on a technicality by the State Supreme Court in 2021 after the Medical Marijuana initiative overwhelmingly passed in the state.

Opponents said the initiative process was invalid because it called for petitions to be signed by voters from Mississippi’s 5 Congressional Districts. The original Initiative and Referendum measure passed in 1992 when the state still had 5 Congressional Districts. Mississippi lost a Representative after the 2000 Census and now has only 4 Districts. The high court agreed.

Rather than simply change the language to account for the loss of the district, lawmakers sought to completely overhaul the Initiative and Referendum process, including excluding voter-driven changes to the State Constitution, doubling the number of signatures needed to get a measure on the ballot, and limiting what issues could be put before voters. A similar measure died last year.

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Categories: Featured, State News