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.
2015 Constitutional Amendment Ballot Language [Click to view larger]
The biggest issue on the November ballot is the proposed state constitutional amendment for public school funding. With competing alternatives on the ballot, Initiative 42 and Initiative 42A, voters will make two choices: whether to amend the state constitution at all and, if approved, whether to amend with the language of Initiative 42 or Initiative 42A.
Every voter with vote on BOTH issues regardless of whether they vote “Yes” or “No” to amend the constitution. In the language of the ballot, voters will first choose “for approval of either initiative” or “against both initiative[s].” In the event “approval of either initiative” receives a majority of the vote, all voters must vote on the second issue “for Initiative Measure No. 42” or “for Alternative Measure No. 42 A.”
Geoff Pender filed the following report in The Clarion-Ledger to describe the ballot approval process and the constitutional amendment choices:
Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday approved the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election, including two dueling constitutional amendments on school funding.
Voters will have to pay attention to their ballots in November – it gets a little tricky around the education funding initiatives.
“It is a complicated ballot, because we have two votes (on the initiatives),” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “I trust voters will read both of those explanations on the ballot and make an informed decision.”
If passed, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 22 would give place a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced state budget on the 2015 ballot. However, the bill authored by Rep. Mark Formby (Pearl River) failed to receive the necessary two-thirds of the House vote. A motion to reconsider has been made and the House may be vote on the measure again.
While the state has routinely balanced budgets, Republican members want to mandate the practice. But the HCR 22 must first be passed by the House and then approved by a majority of voters. The bill does provide, with a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, relief from the provisions of the amendment in times of war, natural disasters, and economic emergencies.
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By gathering enough signatures, MAEP proponents have placed Initiative 42 on the 2015 General Election ballot. Per the Secretary of State press release, “Initiative #42 seeks to amend the State Constitution to require the full funding of education and grant the Chancery Court of Hinds County the power to enforce the full funding of education with appropriate injunctive relief.”
Currently, the Mississippi State Constitution entrusts education funding to the State Legislature. Section 201, states “The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.”
The 2015 ballot will simply read, “Should the state be required to provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools?”
However, Initiative 42 will amend Section 201 of State Constitution to read as follows: “To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity, the State shall, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.”
MAEP is a formula adopted by the State Legislature (MS Code § 37-151-7) in 1997 to define funding levels for public education in Mississippi. Of the $6 Billion 2014 state budget, education received about $2.4 Billion. Fully funding MAEP would require 10-15% more funding and has been fully funded twice since it’s adoption.
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Mississippians voted overwhelmingly to support a state constitutional amendment to preserve the right to hunt and fish. Nearly 90% of voters approved House Concurrent Resolution 30 (HCR 30) which will amend the state constitution and become the 18th state with hunting and fishing protected as a constitutional right.
Winners in the 2014 General Election:
- U.S. Senate: Thad Cochran
- 4th Congressional District: Steven Palazzo
- Chancery Court Judge, District 08, Place 2: Jennifer Schloegel
- Chancery Court Judge, District 08, Place 3: Sandy Steckler
- County Court Judge, Place 3: Margaret Alfonso
- Chancery Court Judge, District 16, Place 1: D. Neil Harris, Sr.*
- Chancery Court Judge, District 16, Place 3: Michael Fondren
*As of November 7th, D. Neil Harris, Sr. led the election against Paula Yancey by 18 votes with 18 affidavit ballots outstanding.
Two races will require a run-off. In the Harrison County race for Circuit Court Judge (District 02, Place 2), Chris Schmidt earned 42% of the vote and will face Robert Fant Walker who received the second highest vote total with 34%. In Jackson County, Mike Ezell garnered 43.9% of the vote and will face Scott McIlrath who came in second with 15.9%.
Runoff election will be November 25th.
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