The 2022 Legislative Session had some real highs (hooray for a REAL teacher pay raise!) and some appalling lows.
The lowest lows came in the final days of the Legislative Session when we discovered a massive voucher program that had been hidden from public view – and from most legislators – since 2019. Apparently, a few legislators in leadership positions have for years engaged in an underhanded scheme to funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools without the knowledge of the full Legislature or the public. These legislators knew full well that such a voucher scheme would likely fail if presented honestly to the Legislature – because Mississippi voters overwhelmingly oppose sending public funds to private schools.
When they realized we were onto their shenanigans, their relentless attempts to divert public funds to private schools quickly became a game of hide and seek. We would discover private school funding in one conference report, so they would hide it in a different one. Over and over and over again.
On the last day of the legislative session, many legislators stood with you to defeat yet another conference report to which funding for private schools had been added, $10-million in this case. But in the Senate two hours later, in an unprecedented move, they took it back and voted again on the same measure, this time passing the private school funding bill (SB 3064 Conference Report #3). You deserve to know why.
Please reach out to your legislators and:
1. Thank those who voted NO on SB 3064 CR3. See that list.
2. Ask those who changed their votes to YES why they made that change. See that list.
3. Ask those who voted YES why they support sending public dollars to unaccountable private schools. See that list.
Sen. Walter Michel Personal: Not available Capitol: 601.359.2220
Rep. Joel Bomgar Personal: 601.207.0813 Capitol: 601.359.3770
Find additional contact information for legislators
Ask House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann if they support sending public dollars to private schools.
Lt. Gov. Hosemann: 601.359.3200
Speaker Gunn: 601.359.3300
Some of you are “represented” by legislators who provide no personal contact information on the legislative web site. That is unacceptable. Those who want to represent you should make it easy for you to contact them – at any time of year – not just when the Legislature is in session. Legislators tell us that their official legislative email addresses are not a reliable means of communicating with them because few of them check those accounts. Here are some other ways you might try reaching legislators when the Legislature is not in session:
- Mail a hand-written note or letter to the address listed on the House or Senate roster
- Send a direct message via their social media accounts: Representatives Senators
While you’re asking them about funding private schools, also request that they make public personal phone numbers where they can be reached.
We all deserve a Legislature that is truly representative of and accountable to the people. Let’s work with our legislators to make that a reality – and to keep the public’s funds in the public’s schools. Together, we’ve got this!