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Oxonian Mother Wins Battle for Rewording of State Legislation

Jeff Busby, county supervisor; Jay Hughes, oxford alderman; Brian Harvey, Oxford school superintendent; pat Patterson, Oxford mayor; Robyn Tannehill, Oxford alderman all signing the petition, photo courtesy of 42 For Better Schools Facebook page
Jeff Busby, county supervisor; Jay Hughes, oxford alderman; Brian Harvey, Oxford school superintendent; pat Patterson, Oxford mayor; Robyn Tannehill, Oxford alderman all signing the petition, photo courtesy of 42 For Better Schools Facebook page

The Oxonian mother of two children in Oxford public schools won a battle against Mississippi legislation today when a judge ordered the state legislature to reword the title of its alternative legislation on public school funding after an hour long hearing this morning.

Adrian Shipman asked Hinds Circuit Judge Winston Kidd for the decision because the wording in the alternative legislation confused the voters in knowing the difference between that and the citizens’ Initiative 42 to force the state to fully fund K-12 schools.

Adrian Shipman, courtesy of 42 For Better Schools
Adrian Shipman, courtesy of 42 For Better Schools

“I’m so pleased that voters now will be able to see the difference in the real initiative, Number 42, and the decoy, so they can make the right decision November 3,” Shipman said post-hearing in the campaign’s press release. “It’s important for our children’s future that voters easily see the difference.”

She had faced opposition from Jackson attorney Michael Wallace, a well-known Republican attorney who represented Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn. He argued to the court that Shipman had no legal grounds to appeal the alternative ballot’s wording. He further remarked that if she wanted a public objection, she should have used an ad spot in the newspaper.

Shipman said in the press release, “That was a little insulting. But I’m happy the judge agreed I had a right to object to the legislature’s ballot title which was very confusing.”

The citizens’ Initiative 42 will ask voters whether the state is required to provide support of an efficient system of free public schools. The alternative will now ask whether the legislature should establish a support for effective public schools without provision of enforcement.

Logo courtesy of 42 for Better Schools campaign
Logo courtesy of 42 for Better Schools campaign

In 1997, the state legislature passed a law to fully fund K-12 schools but has only twice kept the promise in two election years. Exasperated citizens provided nearly 200,000 signatures on the petition drive that began under the title Better Schools, Better Jobs last year to have Initiative 42 on the Nov. 3 ballot. Its supporters say the state legislation came up with the confusing alternative early January as an attempt to confuse voters away from Initiative 42.

The initiative’s campaign last year was known as Better Schools, Better Jobs but its campaign has changed to 42 For Better Schools this week to show which initiative is the one with a call for full state funding.


Callie Daniels is a staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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