The NAACP is prepared to challenge several bills in the Mississippi legislature should they become law. Civil rights leaders say these measures would take away the rights of Jacksonians.
NAACP of Mississippi announces plans to challenge legislation targeting Jackson
Several bills are still moving through Mississippi’s legislature that would grant the state more power over aspects of the capital city. Lawmakers have proposed expanding state police jurisdiction to help reduce crime and granting the state control over the city’s troubled water system. Charles Taylor, Executive Director for the Mississippi Conference of the NAACP, says these bills take power away from Jackson voters.
“This is not something that’s just new to this session. It’s been an ongoing process,” says Taylor. “We’ve seen disinvestment into the city from the state, we’ve seen neglect as we think about the water crisis, and now we’re seeing that they’re trying to take over access or even create scenarios where you may even have a city within a city.”
Most bills pertaining to Jackson this year have been filed by lawmakers who do not live or have constituents in the capital city. But most lawmakers who do represent Jackson have been outspoken against these measures. Local officials have compared this collection of bills to apartheid. Taylor says if these bills pass, the NAACP will seek legal action to stop them.
Taylor says “We’re going to look at every avenue possible, especially if that means litigation, in order to fight it. Because ultimately we believe in Democracy. And what we’re seeing is the quintessential examples of anti-democratic principals.”
While these measures may change significantly before the end of the session, Taylor says the NAACP will continue to oppose them.