The original Initiative 42 petition which voters signed was accompanied by a statement on how it could be paid for, which asserted that it could be funded over several years out of new revenue only. This is not in the amendment.
Another statement said, "For purposes of the initiative, a minimum standard of contemporary adequate education is described by the funding formula of the current version of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and an efficient education is one that will, among other things, enable Mississippi's public school graduates to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states." But again, nothing about MAEP appears anywhere in the amendment, and these statements will have no legal effect.
Essentially the people who were asked to sign the 42 petitions were told it would do one thing when the words of the actual amendment say something else entirely.
That’s why we keep hearing people insist that there will be no tax increases; after all, that’s what was in the explanatory statement of the petition they signed. It’s just not in the actual amendment. That’s why we keep hearing that the purpose of the amendment is to fully fund MAEP, even though MAEP isn’t mentioned in the amendment. The poor voters who were tricked into signing the thing were told, in writing, that the amendment was to fully fund MAEP.
As a reminder, here is the actual amendment that is proposed. You will note that there is not one word about it being funded over time only out of increases in revenue, not a peep about MAEP, and that the chancery courts have no limits whatsoever placed on their power. This is just plain English:
Section 201 (Proposed)In 2011 the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to consider objections to the Personhood Amendment on the grounds that the issue was not ripe since it had not yet been approved by the voters. It held that the court should only consider the case if the Initiative was actually approved, at which time it would consider challenges.
To protect each child's fundamental right to educational opportunity, the State shall provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.
If Initiative 42 should pass it will become ripe for challenge. Opponents will be able to point out to the court that the amendment doesn’t include the provisions that were promised to those who signed the original petition, and therefore the attempt to amend the constitution should fail.
It’s not hard to write a constitutional amendment that will do exactly what an explanation says it will do. There is no excuse for the Initiative 42 that is being laid before the voters to have none of the provision that were in the petition description, unless the omissions were intentional.
This fraud on the public must not be allowed to stand.