Do House Bill 1020 opponents have a proposal to address Jackson crime?

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 7:35 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -House Bill 1020 would expand the Capital Complex Improvement District and appoint two judges to hear cases. We’ve shared the opposition with you. Now, we’re asking if there’s an alternative proposal.

“You don’t like that idea that we’ve put forward?” asked HB 1020 author Rep. Trey Lamar. “Well, give me your ideas.”

We spoke with seven members of the Jackson delegation and found that they don’t have a singular plan to replace 1020. Instead, several members don’t think there’s a need to reinvent the wheel. They just want the system that exists to get more funding.

“We need to support the Jackson Police Department. We need to support our judges who are elected here in Hinds County with additional help. We need to support our district attorney Jody Owens,” said Sen. David Blount.

“We’re playing prevent defense right now,” noted Sen. John Horn. “It’s hard to ask for resources when you’re fighting for your life.”

A search of the bills doesn’t turn up bills that have been filed to specifically address those funding requests.

Rep. Zakiya Summers says the question of proposals to address crime problems in the city goes beyond law and order type bills.

“Can’t just be law enforcement focused,” said Summers. “We know law enforcement is an important piece to the puzzle. But we cannot police or patrol our way out of crime in the city of Jackson.”

She referenced bills designed to target root causes like poverty. Some of her colleagues echo that.

“I say you fight crime with jobs in the economy,” added DeKeither Stamps. “And that’s what we [are] fighting for. It’s not a specific bill. It’s about the culture of disinvestment that causes the crime to happen in the first place.”

Bills that have been filed range from funding for the city to buy advanced crime reduction technology, more video cameras connected to the real-time crime center, and construction of a misdemeanor offenses detention center.

“Just claiming everything is racist because you don’t agree with the exact merits of the proposal that’s put forward is not helping the situation,” added Lamar. “Come forward with real ideas. Let’s focus on the facts. And let’s make Jackson a better capital city for all Mississippians.”>

Members of the delegation tell us they’re still hopeful some of those funding requests can be incorporated in the budgeting process. Meanwhile, Chairman Trey Lamar says he’s still open to debating the details of the bill and whether there are other ways to address Jackson’s crime.

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