2022 Legislative Priorities

The 2022 legislative session began on January 4, 2022. As we work to protect, defend, and expand civil rights and civil liberties for all Mississippians in the hallways, meeting rooms, and chambers of the State Capitol, we need you to stand with us to make our voices heard. 

At key moments during the legislative session, we will be calling on you to help us push for and fight back against any attacks that may arise. Sign up to recieve our action alerts so you can be a part of the movement with us. 

Here is what we hope to accomplish in 2022:

1. Access to Voting

It's no secret that voting rights have always been under attack in Mississippi. The targets of these attacks, often Black Mississippians, have been denied the ability to fully exercise their right to vote free of suppression. Voters should be able to fully participate in the political process to ensure their rights to adequate housing, healthcare, education, economic pursuits, and freedom from discrimination.

We need:

  • Online voter registration
  • No-excuse early voting
  • Automatic Voter Registration at Age 18
  • Restoration of the Ballot Initiative Process

2. Marijuana-related Expungement 

This session, as the legislature takes up legalization of medical marijuana to benefit businesses, medical professionals, and patients, we must also ensure that the legacy of marijuana criminalization does not prevent the equal enjoyment of this new right. People who have been victimized by the war on drugs deserve to benefit from this right as well.

We need:

  • A marijuana-related expungement policy included in any marijuana legalization bill

3. Fair Maps

Racial gerrymandering has long diluted the power of Black voters. To ensure fair and adequate representation, Mississippi voters should choose who represents them, rather than politicians and political parties choosing their voters. The process of redistricting should be transparent, and allow voters to present maps they feel fairly represent them.

We need:

  • A transparent redistricting process
  • Fair and equitable maps

4. Suffrage Reform

Mississippi is one of only 10 states where voting rights are not automatically restored to people convicted of felonies after completion of their prison sentence. The right to vote is inherent and should never be infringed upon for commission of a crime. The policy serves no purpose with regard to safe, fair and accurate elections.

We need: 

  • A constitutional amendment to end the practice of voter disenfranchisement
  • Automatic restoration of voting rights

5. Criminal Justice

Returning persons identify criminal records, housing instability and lack of employment as some of the main obstacles to successful community reintegration and recidivism prevention. Recidivism not only harms returning persons, it harms their families and society in general, as taxpayers foot the bill for broken systems that set returning persons up to fail. Holistic reentry policies aimed at removing barriers that prevent successful reintegration is the only way to give formerly incarcerated persons a chance at true rehabilitation.

We need:

  • A shorter expungement wait time

  • An easier process for individuals to file their own expungement petitions

  • Allow up to three felony expungements

  • Automatic expungements for arrests and dismissals for certain offenses

  • Work release policies that don't financially exploit people who are incarcerated

6. LGBTQ Rights

Mississippi has its share of policies that subject LGBTQ+ people to discrimination from the prejudiced religious liberty accommodations act to the most recent anti-transgender student athlete bill targeting transgender children by prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. We must protect this vulnerable community from hateful laws.

We need:

  • A safe and fair state that welcomes and respects LGBTQ individuals

7. Freedom of Speech

Teaching history is called truth. It should be undisputed that Mississippi students deserve to be taught the truth of their home state’s history – both the good and the bad – so that they may make informed decisions about their views and roles in making Mississippi a place of freedom for all people.

We need:

  • Teachers and students to be able to speak freely and truthfully about our country's past and present without punishment

8. Reproductive Justice

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the state continues to be one of the most restrictive states in the nation for people looking for access to reproductive healthcare. The Court's decision could open a door for even more restrictive legislation. But abortion must remain legal and safe.

We need:

  • For abortion to remain legal and as accessible as possible