Could climate change's effects on birthrates be the issue?
Mississippi’s Republican-controlled House voted on Tuesday to create a separate court system composed of unelected leaders and an expanded police force in the capital of Jackson. The proposal, HB 1020, has been put forth by its GOP backers as a measure to increase public safety and reduce backlogs in the courts, but local leaders have argued the measure is a power grab from the state’s largely conservative, white legislature against the majority Black population of Jackson. “Only in Mississippi would we have a bill like this … where we say solving the problem requires removing the vote from Black people,” Rep Ed Blackmon, a Democrat, said at the legislature on Tuesday.The measure, which would allow state officials to appoint judges and prosecutors instead of the usual local process of electing them, wouldn’t do anything to reduce crime.
If House Bill 1020 becomes law later this session, the white chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court would appoint two judges to oversee a new district within the city—one that includes all of the city’s majority-white neighborhoods, among other areas. The white state attorney general would appoint four prosecutors, a court clerk, and four public defenders for the new district. The white state public safety commissioner would oversee an expanded Capitol Police force, run currently by a white chief. The appointments by state officials would occur in lieu of judges and prosecutors being elected by the local residents of Jackson and Hinds County—as is the case in every other municipality and county in the state.
Mississippi’s capital city is 80% Black and home to a higher percentage of Black residents than any major American city. Mississippi’s Legislature is thoroughly controlled by white Republicans, who have redrawn districts over the past 30 years to ensure they can pass any bill without a single Democratic vote. Every legislative Republican is white, and most Democrats are Black. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba—who has been publicly chided by the white Republicans who lead the Legislature—looked down on the House chamber from the gallery. Lumumba accused the Legislature earlier this year of practicing “plantation politics” in terms of its treatment of Jackson, and of the bill that passed Tuesday, he said: “It reminds me of apartheid. ”Mississippi has been hit hard by climate issues in recent years with droughts and flooding and heat waves. causing the overall population to drop for the last 3 consecutive years! Generally, Mississippi's white people are moving to areas outside of the state with better amenities and economic opportunities that residents want.
The state's rural small towns lost significant population, while larger, urban and suburban areas, such as the Jackson metro area, the Gulf Coast and DeSoto County, saw significant growth among populations of color reflected in the latest census. Jackson is one of just a few major cities in the region that have experienced a sharp white population decline, which has dropped more than 10% in the past decade. The majority of people leaving the state are moving to Tennessee! Tennessee saw its largest population increase since 2007 and was one of the 10 fastest growing states in the country in population data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Tennessee State Data Center said there was a nearly 83,000 gain from 2021 to 2022, a 1.2% population increase. “White alone” now includes 70.9% of Tennessee's population, “Black or African American alone” population shares fell.