Don’t forget to vote in the 2015 General Election Tuesday, November 3rd. This important election will not only determine all state-wide, regional, and county-wide offices, but also whether the state constitution is amended with respect to education.
Make you voice heard and vote!
As home to both Nancy Loome and Philip Gunn, Clinton, MS hosted an election forum and provided opportunities to the Parents’ Campaign leader and House Speaker to present their positions on Initiative 42. See the video below.
Initiative 42 and the Legislative Alternative 42A are a ballot initiatives to change Mississippi’s Constitution with respect to public education. The ballot is long and detailed so every voter must study this issue before voting November 3rd. The specific changes to the State Constitution can be studied here.
The anticipated results or consequences vary widely. Proponents say Initiative 42 will require the Legislature to fully fund MAEP (the State’s funding formula for public schools) and phase it in over a number of years based upon state tax revenues. Opponents say Initiative 42 will seriously impact the state budget, reduce other state services including public universities and community colleges, and could tie-up all kinds of education issues in the courts.
If Mississippi for Cannabis can obtain 107,216 signatures by October, the legalization of marijuana would be placed on the 2016 ballot in Mississippi. The Mississippi for Cannabis registered the initiative with the Secretary of State as Initiative 48. If Initiative 48 reaches the ballot and is passed, it would amend the state constitution to regulate the drug like alcohol, the Governor would also be required to pardon all “persons convicted of nonviolent cannabis crimes,” and the first 3 years of tax revenues would be earmarked for education.
The following specific language would be added to the state constitution:
With proponents obtaining enough signatures to place Initiative 42 on the 2015 Ballot, the State Legislature acted to create an alternative, HCR 9 or Initiative 42A, which the House and the Senate passed this week.
If approved by voters in November, Initiative 42 would change the Mississippi Constitution to read as follows (underlined and struck-through text indicates added or deleted language):
SECTION 201. To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity,
The Legislature the State shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may provide. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.
Proponents say that this constitutional amendment will require fully funding K-12 education in Mississippi per the MAEP formula that was adopted in 1997 to determine funding. Opponents say that Initiative 42 strips the Legislature of control over education and places that control in the hands of the Chancery Court of Hinds County.
Initiative 42A would change the constitution as follows:
SECTION 201. The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an effective system of free public schools.
Proponents of this alternative argue that this will keep control of education in the State Legislature and focus on results (i.e. the insertion of “an effective system”). Opponents say Initiative 42A only confuses voters and does not allow for a simple “up or down vote” on Initiative 42 by the people of Mississippi.
To pass, a proposal must win a majority and at least 40% of the total votes cast. With competing proposals, passage of either is more difficult. If voters are uneducated before going to the polls, the ballot could also be very confusing.
For more information: