The legislative fight over the MAEP initiative grown pretty hot at times as Republicans added an additional amendment to the ballot. Needless to say, the measure did not go over well with Democrats. Supporters of a an initiative to "fully fund" education under the MAEP formula obtained enough signatures to place the proposed amendment on the ballot. However, the law allows the legislature to place alternate amendments on the ballot as well. The Democrats had a few things to say about the vote:
Steve Holland: Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said the House leadership’s development of an alternative to try to thwart the intent of the nearly 200,000 people who signed the initiative proposal was akin to the effort of then-Speaker C.B. “Buddie” Newman in the 1980s to block a vote on public kindergartens.
“There is no good reason except politics and confusion to vote to have an alternative,” Holland said. NEMDJ Article
Bobby Moak: Opponents of the alternative vehemently disagreed. After Snowden's introductory remarks, a series of Democrats took the podium to slam the resolution and ask their colleagues to vote it down.Then there are the quotes mentioned in the Jackson Free Press:
"This is about Amendment 42," said state Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto. "I look at it personally as an effort to actually weaken the position of this ballot in November."
He said the state isn't doing its job and has failed to fully fund education, forcing educators to hold bake sales and spend their own money to buy classroom supplies. CL article
Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said the state's alternative will draw votes from the original proposed amendment.Time for a history lesson. Its no secret that the legislature dominated Mississippi government for decades. Indeed, the most powerful person in the state was often the Speaker of the House as one Speaker after another casually broke the careers of legislators. Mississippi was one of the few states that did not have an initiative and referendum process. The Clarion-Ledger and public interest groups pushed the legislature to pass a law creating one but it did so kicking and screaming as one can imagine. The legislature added a poison pill to the bill as passed: the power to place an alternate amendment on the ballot next to any that gathered enough signatures. Its mighty interesting to see who voted for the bill as passed and enacted into law.
JJ dug up the legislative journals from 1992. Guess who voted for the bill? Holland and Moak (p.8 below) as did other Democratic stalwarts such as J. Compretta and Ronnie Musgrove (p.11). The legislature tightened up the law in 1996 after an initiative imposing term limits made it to the ballot.
One must ask these Solons who scream loudly against the use of an alternate amendment why they voted for the bill in 1992. If they are so offended by its mere existence, why didn't they offer an amendment to strike that part of the bill when they passed twenty-three years ago? It was 1992. The Democrats literally owned the legislature. The Democrats added this language to the bill because they wanted, no, demanded the right to sabotage anything passed by the voters. Now that someone actually payed attention to what they passed, they scream bloody murder. In other words, they were for it before they were against it.