‘Jackson has to do better’: Gov. Tate Reeves signs bill to expand Capitol Police jurisdiction, add judges

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 2:25 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a controversial bill that will expand Capitol Police’s jurisdiction in the capital city and add additional appointed judges to preside over cases.

“This legislation won’t solve the entire problem, but if we can stop one shooting, if we can respond to one more 911 call - then we’re one step closer to a better Jackson,” he said in a social media post Friday afternoon.

For days, questions have swirled as to whether Reeves would sign H.B. 1020. In a Series of Tweets Friday, he explained his decision to do so.

“I refuse to accept the status quo. As long as I’m governor, the state will keep fighting for safer streets for every Mississippian, no matter their politics, race, creed or religion - regardless of how we’re portrayed by liberal activists or in the national media.”

The bill expands the boundaries of the Capitol Complex Improvement District and provides additional funding to the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office to hire two additional assistant prosecutors and a criminal investigator. The public defender’s office, meanwhile, receives additional funding for three more defenders.

Legislation also has been put in place to increase the Capitol Police force to 150 officers and to give them jurisdiction across the city.

Additionally, H.B. 1020 also creates an inferior municipal court charged with hearing cases from the CCID. This court can be reviewed without deference by elected county and circuit court judges.

“Despite what you’ve seen in the media, the new law does not take away power from Jacksonians or their elected judges,” he said on Twitter. “In fact, all decisions by the newly created inferior court can be reviewed without deference by elected county and circuit court judges.”

Reeves says the bill also will mean a new 911 dispatch center, which will be set up and run by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

“The fact is that Jackson has so much potential. It is our capital city and the heart of our state. It is where I have lived for over one-third of my life,” he said in a statement. “Jackson has to do better.”

The bill’s effective date is July 1.

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