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Lawmakers Refuse to Hand Over Education Funding Correspondence
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Supporters of an education funding proposal, are crying foul because state leaders are refusing to release correspondence related to Initiative 42.

Officials with 42 For Better Schools have asked Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves for copies of all correspondence mentioning Initiative 42 and its legislative alternative 42-A. Both are outspoken critics of the school funding initiative. Patsy Brumfield is with the campaign. 

"The public deserves to know what its elected officials are doing on state time to oppose a citizen's ballot initiative," says Brumfield. "To what lengths will these people go to defeat Initiative 42?"

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Tate Reeves says since the Lieutenant Governor oversees the Senate he has forwarded the request to the Senate Rules Committee for their consideration. 

That committee denied the request citing a portion of the Mississippi Public Records Act they say exempts lawmakers from some sections of the law.

Charlie Mitchell is a lawyer and assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. He says it's unusual for lawmakers to apply the law in that manner.

"In the past, anything and everything having to do with the development of legislation has been available to the public," Mitchell says. "For them to say they're exempt, I don't know where that is coming from."

Initiative 42 allows the legislature to be taken to court if they fail to fully fund the state's public schools. A legislative alternative known as 42-A doesn't provide that right.