JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Opposition continues to grow against Mississippi House Bill 1020.
Multiple leaders in Hinds County, as well as the Mississippi Senate Democratic Caucus, said they are against the bill.
The proposal, which was authored by State Rep. Trey Lamar (R-District 8), would create a separate court system in the Capitol Complex Improvement District.
Rather than being selected by city residents or elected officials, the new court system’s judges would be appointed by the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and prosecutors would be appointed by the attorney general. The bill would also grant the courts exclusive jurisdiction over cases in which the state government is a party.
A special police force patrols the district to guard the state-owned buildings located in the area. The bill would also expand the district’s boundaries to include a larger portion of the city, giving the Capitol Police a larger territory.
The Mississippi Senate Democratic Caucus said the bill is an attempt by Republicans to undermine the authority of elected officials and voters of the City of Jackson.
The ACLU of Mississippi released a statement about House Bill 1020, which stated in part, “HB 1020 is a move to take voting power, political power, and tax revenue away from the majority Black citizens of Jackson. The legislation illegally empowers Judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and prosecutors appointed by the State Attorney General to oversee criminal and civil cases in Jackson. These judges and prosecutors will be unelected and unaccountable to the citizens of Jackson. But they would have authority over a large segment of Jackson’s criminal and civil court system.”
Hinds County judges also signed a letter opposing the bill.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.