Controversial Bill Takes Over Jackson
The new bill proposed to reshape the authority of Jackson, Mississippi has the city in uproar. It gives the state government officials more power, but not without the fight from Jackson locals.
The controversial bill, HB 1020, is the root of the matter. This act expands judicial control across the city of Jackson. Judges and prosecutors are appointed by the state Supreme Court chief justice as well as the state Attorney general. All of whom are white elected officials.
It began with a troubled city water system plus a rise in crime. It is a prominent black city that has had to overcome battles against the state since the 1980s. Locals have asked for help on issues that plague the city, but the new policy sounds reminiscing of the old Mississippi.
Old Jackson, Mississippi
Timothy Norris, owner of Mom’s Dream Kitchen in Jackson, MS vocalizes how state officials have been slow to respond to the towns grievances.
“We had to go through all this by ourselves,” Norris says. “Now, all of a sudden you want to come and take it and say, ‘OK, well we’re going to take over.’ You know treating us like kids. We’re not kids.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba criticizes the legislative body for their counteract to the water crisis. Lumumba had implemented policies working toward decreasing crime, but now he believes the changes negate the city’s black leadership. Changes to the court system and expanded police jurisdiction is not what he had in mind.
Along with Lumumba, Civil Rights Leader Ed Blackmon sees the legislation as ‘no different from the Jim Crow laws.’ The mishandling of issues are faulted by the local government, making the state believe they should step in.
Not about Race
Conversely, Republican representative Trey Lamar argued for the new system to erase ‘high crime rates’. For a guy who lives outside of the city, he believes funneling more cops will make Jackson a safer place. He insists that the bill ‘isn’t about race,’ but it comes in a disguise as a takeover.
“It all leads back to money,” which concludes the Twitter statement of the Mississippi House Minority Leaders. Money poured into the infrastructure lessens the necessity of the state government to step in.
Featured Image by Rogelio V. Solis/AP