1997 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representatives Horne, Ford, Huskey
House Bill 124
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 23-17-45, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL REVIEW ARGUMENTS OR EXPLANATIONS FOR AND AGAINST INITIATIVE MEASURES PROPOSED TO AMEND THE MISSISSIPPI CONSTITUTION; TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DETERMINES THAT ANY SUCH ARGUMENT OR EXPLANATION CONTAINS FACTS OR INFORMATION THAT IS CLEARLY FALSE OR INCORRECT AND IS LIKELY TO MISLEAD THE VOTERS, HE SHALL PREPARE AN EXPLANATORY NOTE IDENTIFYING SUCH FALSE OR INCORRECT FACTS AND INFORMATION; TO PROVIDE THAT THE EXPLANATORY NOTE SHALL BE INCLUDED IN ALL PAMPHLETS AND NOTICES WHERE THE ARGUMENTS OR EXPLANATIONS FOR THE INITIATIVE MEASURE OR ALTERNATIVE APPEARS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 23-17-45, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-17-45. (1) A pamphlet containing a copy of all initiative measures and legislative alternatives, including the ballot title and ballot summary, arguments or explanations for and against each measure and alternative and the fiscal analysis prepared by the chief legislative budget officer shall be compiled by the Secretary of State. The sponsor may prepare the argument or explanation on the measure. If the sponsor does not prepare the argument or explanation, then the Secretary of State shall do so. Each argument or explanation shall not exceed three hundred (300) words. The Attorney General shall review the arguments or explanations for and against each measure and alternative. If any portion of an argument or explanation is determined by the Attorney General to contain facts or information that is clearly false or incorrect and is likely, in the opinion of the Attorney General, to be substantially misleading to the voters, the Attorney General shall prepare a brief explanatory note identifying the facts or information that he determines to be false, incorrect or misleading and providing such facts and information as he believes to be true and correct. The Secretary of State shall include the explanatory note of the Attorney General in all pamphlets and in all notices where the arguments or explanations for a measure or alternative appears. The Secretary of State shall publish the ballot title, ballot summary, full text of each measure and arguments or explanations for and against each measure and alternative once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks immediately preceding the election in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in each county of the state. The costs of such printing and publication shall be borne by the Secretary of State from funds appropriated by the Legislature.
(2) The Secretary of State shall conduct at least one (1) public hearing in each congressional district on each measure to be placed on the ballot and shall give public notice thereof at least thirty (30) days before a hearing.
SECTION 2. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.