Initiative 42 made a fuzzy issue by politicians

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 25, 2015

The debate over Initiative 42 or Initiative 42A is one of the most confusing I can recall in my life as a voter.

As a refresher, the initiatives, which amount to amending the Mississippi constitution if approved by voters in the Nov. 3 general election, deal with how education is funded in Mississippi.

Right now, whatever method is used to fund Mississippi our public schools is broken, inadequate, a joke — pick whatever term you like. The status quo isn’t working. That’s my opinion. Remember, this is an opinion column. If your opinion differs from mine, by all means, send me a letter to the editor.

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A group created Initiative 42 to force the Mississippi Legislature to spend more money on public education in the state, basically funding government education mandates.

This group is composed of educators and parents and others concerned about public education in Mississippi.

Initiative 42A was created by a group of Republican legislators in an attempt to derail plain ol’ 42. Wording is changed just enough to make it basically worthless and forces no change in how education is funded in the state now.

I think so far that’s a fairly accurate version of events and one that can be agreed upon by those on both sides of the issue if they are being honest.

The perplexing part of this issue comes in the campaign advertising from both sides.

The side against Initiative 42, which would force the Legislature to more fully fund education, has political advertising out which claims, if approved, that move would put the funding of all the state’s schools in the hands of a Hinds County judge.


Initiative 42 supporters say that’s ridiculous, that the initiative does nothing of the sort.

So, who’s correct? Who are voters to believe?

The truth, as far as I can decipher, is somewhere in the middle.

Initiative 42 contains language that reads something like if the Legislature does not do its job in funding public education, a judge will then make those decisions the Legislature fails to make.

In other words, if the Legislature doesn’t do its job, a Mississippi judge would do it for them.

The advertising coming from the GOP Legislature fails to point that out. But in fairness, the political advertising on both sides seems to purposely leave out critical information from voters.

That’s my problem with politics in general. At some point, politicians and lobby groups must start thinking about voters, rather than simply furthering their power or their particular corporate or union cause.

Until that time, nothing will be accomplished. When did compromise become such a horrible thing? Perhaps when campaign finance laws were changed, which legalized bribery and corruption. Certainly that’s when politicians on both sides of the aisle stopped working for their constituents and started working for special interests, which fund their campaigns, hire their wives and grown children and friends as lobbyists and promise them lucrative jobs after their legislative “service” is over.

So, what about Initiative 42 or 42A?

In my opinion, legislators are against 42 because it threatens to take away some of their power. That’s a good thing, in my opinion.

Initiative 42 is gaining widespread support from those in the state who realize we must do something to improve the education of Mississippi’s children, particularly those who have no choice but to attend public schools.

Just this week, we received a letter signed by 108 Mississippi United Methodist pastors — including three from Vicksburg — which urges the passage of Initiative 42.

That’s good enough for me.



Jan Griffey is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at 601-636-4545, ext. 123, or