Mississippi initiates due process but not abortion

Mississippi initiates due process but not abortion

Jackson, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi could revive an initiative process, but people would be barred from placing abortion laws or budget proposals on the statewide ballot under a measure advancing to the state Capitol.

The House voted 75-9 Wednesday to adopt one initiative proposal, changing a resolution passed by the Senate last month. Negotiators are likely to work on a final version later this month.

Since the 1990s, Mississippi has had an initiative process for people to put proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot. In 2021, the state Supreme Court The ruling process was illegitimate Because it required an equal number of signatures from all five congressional districts. Mississippi was reduced to four congressional districts after the 2000 census, but the language of the initiative was never updated.

The resolution to revive Mississippi’s initiative process would allow proposed laws to go to the ballot instead of constitutional amendments.

Once a constitutional amendment is approved, any attempt to amend or repeal it must return to the statewide ballot for voter consideration. Changing a state law is easy: it can be done by a majority vote in the Mississippi Legislature.

The ban on abortion initiatives was added by a House committee last week. It’s unclear whether that segment will survive the final negotiations.

The US Supreme Court used a Mississippi case last June to protect abortion rights nationwide, and Mississippi now bans most abortions.

In 2011, Mississippi voters rejected a personhood initiative, which would have defined life at the beginning of conception. That surprised many abortion rights opponents, including Republican Phil Bryant, who was elected governor the same day the initiative failed. Bryant said a few days ago that if voters reject the pro-life initiative, “the devil wins.”

During Wednesday’s debate, Democratic Rep. Daryl Porter Jr. of McComb asked Rep. Nick Bain, R-Corinth, why abortion facilities would be banned under the new plan. That’s what some delegates wanted, Bain said.

“I’m fine with it,” Bain said. “The state of Mississippi, I think, follows that long policy. It certainly follows that with my constituents. They don’t want abortion.”

Porter’s response: “Your constituents. What about me? … We’re going to stifle people’s voices by telling them, ‘You can have the initiative process, complicated, but there are things you can’t put on the ballot.’

Bain says he disagrees that voices should be stifled.

“It’s safe to say that the state of Mississippi is pro-life,” Bain said.

Since the US Supreme Court’s abortion ruling in June, voters in six states have expanded or protected existing abortion rights through ballot initiatives. Kansas secured abortion rights in August, and five other states either preserved those rights or rejected constitutional restrictions on abortion.

A proposal to revive Mississippi’s initiative process would require an equal number of signatures from each current congressional district.

The Senate version requires the petition to be signed by at least 12% of the state’s registered voters as of the last presidential election. That would be about 240,000 signatures.

The House voted Wednesday to require the same number of signatures as the previous initiative process — at least 12% of the total vote in the most recent gubernatorial election. That would be about 106,000 signatures.


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter

#Mississippi #initiates #due #process #abortion

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button