JACKSON, Miss - While we expected Governor Tate Reeves to sign House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343, it is still disappointing to see legislation that limits the political and voting power of the majority Black citizens of Jackson become law.

Now with the Governor’s blessing, the Legislature has exceeded its authority by creating unelected judicial positions in Hinds County that have the same power as our elected Circuit Court Judges.

State lawmakers have also increased the authority and jurisdiction of a Capitol Police force that is unaccountable to Jackson citizens. While doing so, they are also making harder for Jacksonians to protest and speak out against police misconduct.

SB 2343 would require individuals or groups to receive written authorization from Capitol Police to hold public events and protests near State-owned buildings. This means that Jacksonians would have to get permission from an unelected body to exercise their freedom of speech in their own city.

These laws act to disenfranchise the residents of Jackson, targeting the City’s vulnerable, predominantly Black community.

“Jacksonians want a safer city more than anyone, but this is not what real public safety looks like,” said Executive Director Jarvis Dortch, “If our state lawmakers really wanted to help fight crime, they would invest more tax dollars into mental health and anti-poverty programs to better support all of our communities, not finding new ways to oppress and overpower the Black residents of this state. No one should have to live with the fear of being targeted, harassed, or killed by law enforcement, especially in their own neighborhoods.”