The resolution originally died due to inaction on a deadline day but could be brought back to life if the House also passes the suspension resolution.
With just days left in the 2023 Legislative Session, the Mississippi Senate has made an effort to revive the dead resolution that would have restored the ballot initiative process.
SCR 572 will allow for SCR 533 to be brought back up during the Legislative session by agreement of the House and Senate. The rules suspension bill as well as the original ballot initiative resolution requires a two-thirds vote for passage.
A rules suspension is required to revive the bill because the deadline for handling of resolutions has already passed.
State Senator Dean Kirby (R), Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, called the meeting prior to gaveling in on Monday. SCR 572 was passed by the committee and shortly after brought up on the Senate floor where it was also passed.
There were four no votes in the Senate. They were Senator’s Angela Hill, John Polk, Chris Johnson, and Mike Thompson – all Republican members.
“At my request, the Senate passed a suspension resolution to revive the initiative process this morning. House leadership has also expressed a desire to continue working on this issue. If the House agrees to this suspension resolution, the Senate will again address legislation providing Mississippians with direct input on policy. We are hopeful to come to a final agreement before sine die,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann.
The suspension resolution now heads to the House for action. If it is passed, the bill will start over in the process and Hosemann will have to refer it to committee. It is unclear what committee it will be sent to.
Prior to now, Senator Polk said that the chambers were too far apart on an agreement pertaining to how the ballot initiative process would function. One major sticking point for the Senate was the percentage of votes, per congressional district, required to certify an initiative for the ballot.
The Senate wanted the full 12 percent of all qualified electors, while the House passed amendments to lower that number back to the original language of 12 percent of voters who voted in the last Gubernatorial election.
House leadership expressed surprise at the initial death of SCR 533.
“For two years now, the House has passed the bill reinstating the initiative process as close as we could to the way it was in the original language. Obviously, they [Senate] didn’t agree with that. It’s unfortunate that the whole process died,” said Speaker Gunn.
Now, with the suspension resolution passed in the Senate, members will have a second opportunity to work the bill prior to this year’s sine die.