Two lawsuits now pending, both challenging controversial House Bill 1020

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 8:19 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -One controversy is moving from legislative to legal territory as House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343 are challenged in federal court. The bills give an expanded role to Capitol Police and the creation of a new temporary Capitol Complex Improvement District court with an appointed judge and prosecutors.

The Governor took to social media Monday to respond to NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

But the president of the Jackson branch of the NAACP says this about the fight.

“It’s definitely not over,” said Nsombi Lambright-Haynes. “This is the next phase of it.”

The recently filed federal lawsuit argues the House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343 is designed to suppress black residents’ from exercising their First Amendment rights and strips them of their political control.

“Hopefully, the injunction will go through in Capital Police will never be able to completely monitor the entire city.”

It’s familiar arguments that we heard throughout the session from members like House minority leader Rep. Robert Johnson.

“It’s unconstitutional on its face,” said Johnson. “It has a it has racial undertones that are not good for the state and it looks extremely bad, and it’s going to take time to litigate it is going to hold things up when we ought to be doing things to help Jackson instead of trying to take over Jackson.”

But conferee Sen. Brice Wiggins maintains that’s not the case.

“You can’t not do stuff because you’re afraid somebody’s going to file a lawsuit,” explained Wiggins. “And if we did that, then we would never get anything done in this building....nobody thinks that this is going to solve every issue, but it certainly will help. And at the end of the day, we have to do something about the crime in Jackson.”

The Mayor commented for the first time on camera Monday about the bill signing and suit.

“I think that my communication around that legislation has been clear and consistent. I’ve called it not only racist and draconian. It is oppressive legislation. We look forward to our day in court. We’re grateful for organizations like the NAACP,” Mayor Lumumba said.

Three Jackson residents have filed another lawsuit today. This one in Hinds County Chancery court asking that the court block the implementation of House Bill 1020. They argue it violates the state constitution.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.