House Minority Leader Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, dropped a strong hint at today’s meeting of the Stennis Capitol Press Corps that Democrats could turn to the voter initiative process to advance some of their policies.
“The initiative and referendum process is a great tool for the minority,” Moak told the 40 or so people at the Capitol Club.
Moak, like everybody else, noticed during last fall’s elections that the three initiatives on the ballot generated more conversation than any of the candidates, including those running for statewide office. “They drove up turnout in a lot of places,” Moak said.
I asked Moak what issues Democratic officials were considering for the initiative process. He wouldn’t say. He wouldn’t give the slightest hint. Just a guess, but there has been some casual talk in the past about an effort to insert into Mississippi’s Constitution an amendment that would mandate the full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program every year. MAEP is the formula that determines how much state funding each school district gets every fiscal year.
Full funding of education, mental health services and Medicaid will be top priorities for Democrats come budget time. Moak said as much Monday. “We should take care of the basic needs and we can fight over everything else.”
It’s a possibility if Democrats lose that fight at the Capitol, they’ll at least try to win it with an initiative or two.