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SPLC Action Fund Statement on Mississippi House Bill 1020

JACKSON, Miss. — The Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund (SPLC Action Fund) Mississippi State Office Director Waikinya Clanton issued the following statement in response to House Bill 1020:

“Without a doubt, HB 1020 is demonstrative, undemocratic, unconstitutional, and is an example of ‘Big Government’ at its best. The passage of HB 1020 targets the city of Jackson, infringing on the civil liberties of Jacksonians and opening the door for the legislature to expand its government overreach into other municipalities as they so choose.

“The bill weakens and diminishes the voices of the people of Jackson, proposes a severe and sincere threat to the equitable allocation of educational resources, stifles diverse business interests, impedes diverse and inclusive economic growth for the city of Jackson, further removes control by the city of its utilities and airport, and deepens public safety concerns for Jackson residents through the expansion of police authority.

“This bill encourages an extreme imbalance of power by creating a newly appointed judicial district by which the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and legislature have controlled interest of its appointees. HB 1020 also strips the Hinds County District Attorney of its power, transferring that authority to the Attorney General to make decisions about cases, including civil claims raised against the state in amounts upward of $20 million. “

This extreme government overreach is yet another attempt by self-interested leaders to dilute Black and Brown voices, proposing a profoundly serious threat to democracy and weakening the electoral power of all Mississippians.”