Mississippi House Republicans push alternative MAEP initiative - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi House Republicans push alternative MAEP initiative

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A heated debate shaped up at the State Capitol Tuesday as lawmakers picked sides on education issues. 

Some legislators are stepping in and saying the public can try to change the constitution. But they don't like the way they want to change it.

Some lawmakers have problems with citizen-led Initiative 42. 

It would change the constitution and force the legislature to fully fund the existing formula for public education.

"I'm going to tell you, it's going down," said Speaker Pro-Tem Representative Greg Snowden. "There are way too many things wrong with this. The people of the state of Mississippi will not support this."

So, House Republicans offered up an alternative. If it passes, it would appear on your ballot as Initiative 42-A. 

Supporters say the goal is to have an "effective system of free public schools".

"It's not just funding for funding sake," explained Speaker Philip Gunn. "We want schools that work. That accomplish something."

Several Democrats argued that there is an ulterior motive.

"This alternative is an effort to block out the people's wishes," explained Rep. Bobby Moak-D during the floor debate.

The Better Schools, Better Jobs crowd thinks this means just one thing.

"We honestly believe that having the original Initiative 42 and the alternate Initiative 42-A will be very confusing to voters," said Patsy Brumfield of Better Schools, Better Jobs.

Speaker Philip Gunn tried to squash repeated allegations of of unethical pressure to vote for the alternative. The members who discussed the rumors did not divulge any sources.

After hours of back and forth---they voted. The resolution passed 64-57. It was held on a motion to reconsider.

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