Congressional and Legislative
Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature with the aid of a 20-member advisory commission. The Governor can veto the plans.
The Legislature can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. Republicans currently have a veto-proof majority in the upper chamber. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in the lower chamber.
The advisory commission, The Standing Joint Congressional Redistricting Committee, serves in an advisory capacity only. It is composed of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Apportionment and Elections Committee of the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Elections Committee of the Mississippi Senate; eight members of the Mississippi House, two from each congressional district, appointed by the Mississippi House Speaker; and eight members of the Mississippi Senate, two from each congressional district, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. If the number of congressional districts of the state change, the number appointed from the Senate and appointed from the House of Mississippi by congressional districts is adjusted. The Committee meets to elect the chairman and officers of the Committee when requested by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the Mississippi House. Maps and other measures are approved by a simple majority in the advisory committee. The Joint Legislative Committee plans are presented to the Legislature. Legislative committees make recommendations to their house on or before the 45th day of the session, and the Legislature has a whole must act on the maps before the end of the session. Joint Congressional Committee maps must be presented to the Governor and the Legislature, but action is not mandated.
A five-member backup commission is convened if the Legislature fails to enact a legislative map in a special session. The Commission has 180 days to apportion the Legislature after the adjournment of the special session. The backup Commission is made up of the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the majority leaders of the Mississippi House and Senate. The final maps are submitted to the Secretary of State. The Mississippi Code and Constitution do not specify the voting threshold for the backup commission.
If a bill is presented to the governor during session, the governor has 5 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. If the legislature adjourns during initial 5 day period, the governor must sign or veto the bill within 15 days of transmittal; otherwise, it becomes law. The governor must return a vetoed bill to the legislature in first 3 days of next session. Sundays are excluded in these calculations. Line-item vetoes are permitted.
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Initiatives and referendums are not permitted to amend statutes. Indirect initiatives are permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend the Constitution, but not statutes.
There is not a single-subject rule.
Initiative Subject Restrictions
Initiatives cannot be used for the proposal, modification or repeal of the Bill of Rights of the state Constitution, provisions of the Constitution relating to the Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System, the constitutional guarantee that the right of any person to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or organization, and the initiative process for proposing amendments.
The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 12% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election. Because Mississippi holds gubernatorial elections on odd-numbered years (2015, 2019, 2023, etc.), because the circulation period for petitions is one year, and because elections are not held on the odd-numbered years in which gubernatorial elections are not held (2017, 2021, 2025, etc.), signature requirements are based on elections that occurred at least 3 years prior. For instance, ballot measures on the 2020 ballot have had signature requirements based on the 2015 election. 718,185 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2015 General Election in Mississippi, so 86,185 signatures are required for constitutional amendments. 884,911 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2019 General Election in Mississippi, so constitutional amendments that would become law in 2022, 2023, or 2024 require 106,190 signatures to be brought to the Legislature. Proponents cannot collect greater than 20% of all signatures from a single congressional district.
Initiative petitions must be submitted at least 90 days prior to convening the Legislature in the year the petition is to appear on the ballot (October 6, 2021).
The circulation period for initiative petitions is one year.
Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the Attorney General. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.
Circulators must be residents of the state. A fiscal impact statement is required for all initiatives and any legislative alternatives. Amendments must receive both a majority of ballots cast for or against them, and they must receive votes equal to 40% of all votes cast in the election. Legislatively referred amendments only require a majority of votes cast for or against them. The Legislature can only send an amendment to voters by passing a measure by a two-thirds vote in each chamber. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special, and odd-year election ballots.