The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Wintston L. Kidd did not have the authority to rewrite the ballot title for the Legislature’s alternative to Initiative 42.
The original legislative alternative asks, “Should the Legislature provide for the establishment and support of free public schools without judicial enforcement?”
The legislature voted in January to put the alternative, or Initiative 42A, on the November ballot as an alternative to Initiative 42. Initiative 42 would require the legislature to fully fund public schools through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and give the chancery court the authority to enforce the requirement.
Attorney General Jim Hood authored the ballot title for the alternative, according to state law.
Critics of the legislature’s alternative said it was worded to confuse voters, prompting Oxford mother Adrian Shipman to challenge the language in Kidd’s court.
Kidd agreed with Shipman during an April 1 hearing, changing the title to instead ask, “Should the Legislature establish and support effective public schools, but not provide a mechanism to enforce that right?”
The legislature then appealed Kidd’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which handed down its ruling on Thursday.