I’m voting no on both 42 and 42A

Published 1:00 pm Monday, November 2, 2015

It’s election time again and something unusual will be on your ballot. Ordinarily you would go to a voting machine, find the names of your favorite candidates and push the right buttons on the screen.  Simple and quick, right? But wait — the last page of this year’s ballot is a full page of small print and long words that are confusing, complicated, contorted and costly. So what now?

For me, it should be easy because I served 12 years, first as a senator in the Mississippi Legislature and then as a presiding justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

But it’s not easy.

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A sample ballot from our Circuit Clerk’s office helped. And now having spent a large part of three days reading law books and talking with some  other lawyers, I’ve decided my vote will be against both Initiative Measures 42 and 42A.

There are many reasons, but for this letter, I mention only a few of the most egregious:

• The Mississippi Constitution places sole law-making authority in the Legislature and stipulates that no money be spent from the State Treasury unless the Legislature passes a law to do so. Initiative 42 violates both.

It would also:

• grant authority to transfer power over schools away from the Legislature to Chancery Courts.

• establish a Fundamental Right without consideration of unintended consequences.

Initiative 42A is unnecessarily vague and likely to create litigation and confusion in the future.

Your informed vote is needed. See you at the polls!

Kay Cobb