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Jackson joins suit against airport takeover

Jackson is joining a lawsuit filed in April to fight state attempts to restructure control of the city’s airport.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the city and the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Jeffery Stallworth in federal court, in which he claims House Bill 2162 violates his Fifth Amendment as a resident, taxpayer and landowner in Jackson.

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Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill, which creates a regional authority over the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, in May.

“Today, I stand not just as a mayor, but I also stand as a citizen as well as a taxpayer,” Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber said at a news conference Thursday. “The illegal takeover of our airport infringes on our basic fundamental principles and, again, constitutional rights.”

City Attorney Monica Joiner said the city’s claims will be somewhat different than those in Stallworth’s complaint, but they will generally allege the same infringement of rights. She added that the city’s complaint may also include Fourteenth Amendment claims.

“The conflict arises out of the same issues, the same matter, the same piece of legislation,” Joiner said. “It makes sense to consolidate all of these in an effort to not only (not) waste the judicial resources but also all of ours. We’re trying to consolidate it, get a remedy to all of this and to move forward with our airport.”

The Federal Aviation Administration must grant the new commission’s application and certificate of authority before it will have governing authority over the airport. The FAA released a new policy June 6 suggesting it will not take action while litigation is pending.

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