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Mississippi Lawmakers Revisit State Initiative Process

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Mississippi legislators are exploring reviving the state’s initiative process. Tuesday the State house voted to adopt House Concurrent Resolution 39 by a vote of 91-26. It now goes to the Senate. The resolution would allow people to collect signatures on petitions to put proposed state laws on the ballot. The state’s old initiative process allowed people to collect signatures to put proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot. The move comes months after the state Supreme Court tossed out the state’s old initiative process. The state supreme court ruled in May that Mississippi’s former initiative process was outdate, because it specified petitioners should collect one-fifth of their signatures from each congressional district. The process was put in place during 1990s, when Mississippi had five congressional districts. Mississippi dropped from five congressional districts to four after the 2000 census due to a population decrease. The state’s initiative process was never updated to specify one-fourth of the signatures should come from each of the four districts.