Difference between revisions of "Laws governing the initiative process in Mississippi"

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===Legislative tampering===
 
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::''See also: [[Legislative tampering]]''
 
::''See also: [[Legislative tampering]]''
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<onlyinclude>{{#ifeq:{{{transcludesection|MStamperingpage}}}| MStamperingpage |
  
 
Since only [[initiated constitutional amendment]]s are permitted in Mississippi, lawmakers must follow the ordinary amendment process to overturn or amend successful ballot measures. In order to place an amendment on the ballot, lawmakers in each chamber must pass the resolution with by 2/3 majority vote. The state's supermajority requirement does not apply to {{lrcafull}}s.
 
Since only [[initiated constitutional amendment]]s are permitted in Mississippi, lawmakers must follow the ordinary amendment process to overturn or amend successful ballot measures. In order to place an amendment on the ballot, lawmakers in each chamber must pass the resolution with by 2/3 majority vote. The state's supermajority requirement does not apply to {{lrcafull}}s.
  
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [[Article XV, Mississippi Constitution#Section 273|Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (2)]] & [http://www.sos.ms.gov/links/elections/home/tab2/InitiativeCode.pdf Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17&nbsp;]''</span>
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [[Article XV, Mississippi Constitution#Section 273|Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (2)]] & [http://www.sos.ms.gov/links/elections/home/tab2/InitiativeCode.pdf Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17&nbsp;]''</span>
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===Re-attempting an initiative===
 
===Re-attempting an initiative===

Revision as of 08:21, 12 February 2014

[edit]

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Petition summary
1.2.4 Fiscal review
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Effective date
1.5.3 Litigation
1.5.4 Legislative tampering
1.5.5 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State initiative law
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Mississippi may indirectly initiate constitutional amendments. Mississippi residents may not directly initiate state statues or repeal legislation via veto referendum. Once a measure has collected enough signatures, the Mississippi State Legislature may choose to adopt the measure by a majority vote in each house. If the legislature rejects the measure, the proposed amendment proceeds to the ballot. Alternatively, the legislature may choose to approve an amended version of the measure. In this case, both measures will appear on the ballot together (See: Competing initiatives below for details). The Mississippi State Legislature may also place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments with a 2/3 vote in each chamber.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the scope and content of proposed initiatives. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

Mississippi does not have single-subject rules for ballot initiatives.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17 

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Petitioners in Mississippi may not propose legislation on certain subjects. Initiated laws may not:

  • Propose, modify, or repeal of any part of the State Bill of Rights
  • Amend or repeal any law or any provision of Mississippi Constitution relating to the Public Employees' Retirement System
  • Amend or repeal the Mississippi Constitution's right-to-work provisions
  • Modify the initiative process itself

In addition, each measure must specify a funding source sufficient to cover any expenditures mandated by the amendment. In addition, amendments that require a reduction in revenue or a reallocation of funds must specify which programs will have their budgets cut.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (4-5)

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of Mississippi ballot measures

If two conflicting measures are approved at a single election, the measure receiving more affirmative votes supersedes the other. Once an amendment petition has been delivered to the Mississippi State Legislature, lawmakers may choose to pass an amended version of the measure. In this case, both measures appear on the ballot. However, unlike ordinary conflicting measures, they are bracketed together and presented to voters in two unique questions. First, voters are asked to vote on whether they prefer either measures or neither measure. Second, voters are asked to vote on whether they prefer the original measure or the legislative amendment. Voters who vote for either measure in the first question are required to vote on the second. Voters who vote for neither measure can, but need not, vote on the second.

If the majority of voters on the questions prefer either measure to neither measure, then the votes on the second question are considered. In this case, the version of the measure that receives a majority of the second vote will prevail. However, the number of affirmative votes in favor of the majority-approved version, original or legislative, must still be equal to 40% of all voters who cast a ballot in the election. This is the state's ordinary supermajority requirement for initiated measures.

The purpose of this process is to allow "no" voters to express a preference on competing measures. This helps ensure that any measure that passes over a competing measure is also preferred over the other by the majority of voters.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (7-8) & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 29 

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

Prior to collecting signatures, the initiative sponsor must file with the Secretary of State a draft of the amendment text and an affidavit establishing that sponsor is a registered Mississippi voter.

  • An example of a successful original filing can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Sections 2 & 5 

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

Once the Secretary of State has received the original filing, he or she transmits the petition to the Attorney General for review. The Attorney General then confers with the sponsor and suggests substantive and stylistic revisions. The sponsor is free to accept or reject these suggestions. Once the review has been completed, the Attorney General gives the sponsor a "Certificate of Review" certifying that the review has taken place.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 5 

Petition summary

See also: Ballot measure summary statement

Once the Attorney General has reviewed the measure, the sponsor must submit the amendment (revised at the sponsor's discretion) and the "Certificate of Review" to the Secretary of State. The secretary then assigns the measure a serial number and transmits it back to the Attorney General to receive a title and summary. Petitioners may begin collecting signatures once the title and summary have been finalized. Only the title appears on the petition form. Petition forms must follow the form designated by Secretary of State and prescribed by state statutes.

  • An example of an accepted petition form can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 5 & 9 

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statement

In Mississippi, only ballot measures with a legislative alternative receive a fiscal review. The chief legislative budget officer creates a fiscal impact statement for each measure and its legislative alternative. These statements are included on the ballot and voters pamphlet for purposes of comparison.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17 

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Mississippi signature requirements

According to Mississippi law, the number of signatures collected must be equal to at least 12% of the total number of votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial general election.[4]

Year Initiated constitutional amendment
2013 107,216
2012 107,216
2008 89,285
2004 107,338

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (3)

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

Mississippi has a distribution requirement. According to the Mississippi Constitution, "The signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of signatures required to qualify an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot." However, since 2001 redistricting, Mississippi only has four US House Districts. While this seems to cap signatures at 4/5 of the required amount, a 2009 Attorney General's opinion argued that signatures should be distributed among the five districts in existence when initiative and referendum process was established (1992).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (3) & Mississippi Attorney General, Opinion No. 2009-00001

Restrictions on circulators

Circulator requirements

See also: Petition circulator

In Mississippi, there are no requirements for circulators. There is no mandatory circulator affidavit, nor does the person circulating the petition have to sign any documents in front of a notary public. The circulator is not required to swear and sign, under penalty of law, a statement that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition. There is no state statute that states a circulator cannot sign the petition he/she is circulating. According to a state statute, there is a procedure for submitting signatures: "Before a person may file a petition with the Secretary of State, the petition must be certified by the circuit clerk of each county in which the petition was circulated. When... such signatures have been certified by the circuit clerks of the various counties, he may submit the petition to the Secretary of State for filing."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 17 , Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 57  & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 21 

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Mississippi does not ban pay-per-signature. It used to have a ban, but this rule was struck down in 1997 by a federal court in Term Limits Leadership Council v. Clark.[5]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 57 

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Mississippi does not require that petition circulators reside in the state. It used to have such a ban, but this rule was struck down in 1997 by a federal court in Term Limits Leadership Council v. Clark.[6]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (12) & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 17 

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Mississippi does not employ a badge requirement. These laws mandate that circulators be identified as either paid or volunteer. Notices to this effect are sometimes required on the petition form and/or a badge worn by circulators. The latter is also known as a "Scarlet Letter Law."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17 

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Mississippi, like many states with official guidelines for petition sheets, requires petition forms to be printed on paper.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 17 

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

Beginning with the day the sponsor receives the ballot title and summary, proponents have one year to circulate petitions and receive certification from the county circuit clerks. Petitions must be submitted to the Secretary of State at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the regular session.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Sections 3 & 21  

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Petition sponsors must submit signatures to their respective county circuit clerk. There are no mandatory deadlines for this review and sponsors are recommended to coordinate with local clerks to ensure timely certification. Once the circuit clerks have certified the signatures, proponents must file the entire petition with the Secretary of State. Sponsors must also pay a $500 fee upon filing.[7]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 21 

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

The ballot title and summary are prepared by the secretary of state prior to signature collection. The ballot title is a short (less than 20 words) question concisely capturing the purpose of the measure. The ballot summary is longer (less than 75 words), providing a summary of the proposed amendment.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 9 

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

In addition to requiring a majority of the votes cast for or against a measure, Mississippi ballot measures must also receive affirmative votes equal to 40% of the total votes cast at the election. For example, if 100,000 residents cast ballots and 70,000 vote on a ballot question, at least 40,000 of those 70,000 must vote "yes" in order for the question to pass. This condition does not apply to legislatively-referred constitutional amendments (It does apply to legislative amendments of initiated amendments).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (7)

Effective date

Unless the measure specifies otherwise, approved ballot measures take effect 30 days after the Secretary of State has declared the official election results.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (10) & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 41 

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

If any person is dissatisfied with the Attorney General's ballot title or summary, he or she may challenge the decision in the State Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County. The challenge must be made within five days of the publishing of the title and summary. If the Secretary of State refuses to file a petition submitted for filing, the person who submitted the petition may ask the Supreme Court to order the Secretary to file it. The challenge must be made within 10 days of the Secretary's refusal.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (9) & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Sections 13 & 25 

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

Since only initiated constitutional amendments are permitted in Mississippi, lawmakers must follow the ordinary amendment process to overturn or amend successful ballot measures. In order to place an amendment on the ballot, lawmakers in each chamber must pass the resolution with by 2/3 majority vote. The state's supermajority requirement does not apply to legislatively-referred constitutional amendments.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Constitution, Article XV, Section 273 (2) & Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17 

Re-attempting an initiative

In Mississippi, initiatives can not be re-attempted for at least two years (from the election date).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Mississippi Code, Title 23, Chapter 17, Section 43 

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Mississippi ballot measures

Some of the notable features of Mississippi's campaign finance laws include:

  • Mississippi treats groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure the same like other political committees.
  • Mississippi requires urgent reporting of campaign contributions of $200 or more in 48 hours in the last ten days of the election.
  • Mississippi allows corporations and labor unions to donate to campaigns in support or opposition of a referendum.

State initiative law

Article XV, Section 273 of the Mississippi Constitution addresses initiative, referendum, and recall.

Title 23, Chapter 17 of the Mississippi Code governs initiative, referendum, and recall.

References



Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2012
2.1.2 2011
2.1.3 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Mississippi.

Proposed changes by year

2012

See also: Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures


No bills were introduced in the Mississippi State Legislature in 2012.

2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures


The following bills were introduced in the Mississippi State Legislature:

Approveda Mississippi House Bill 1457: Bill description/summary: "S.O.S. may make nonsubstantive correction in section number designation in proposed voter initiative."

Defeatedd Mississippi House Bill 272: Bill description/summary: "Public employee; prohibit from using a public resource for a candidate's campaign or ballot issue."

Defeatedd Mississippi Senate Bill 2297: Bill description/summary: "School bonds; require 55% vote to pass."

Defeatedd Mississippi Senate Bill 2556: Bill description/summary: "Recall election procedures for local officials by referendum; specifically include local school board members."


2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures


The following bills were introduced in the Mississippi Legislature:

DefeateddSB 2102: Would allow recall of local election officials including school board members. The bill died in legislative committee without seeing a vote in either house of the legislature[1].