Voter ID

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 24, 2009

State secretary: petition will put voter ID on state ballot

By John Howell Sr.

Thwarted by the death of a voter ID bill in the Mississippi Senate during this year’s regular session, State Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is forging ahead with a referendum that could amend the state constitution and require the identification, he said last week.

Hosemann visited the offices of Panola Circuit Clerk Joe Reid and Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock during a trip to Batesville Friday, April 16.

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An initiative sponsored by Senator Joey Fillingame of Jackson would amend the state constitution to require voters to submit a government photo identification before being allowed to vote, according to a summary provided by Hosemann’s office. The initiative faces substantial hurdles before it can be placed before Mississippi voters, Hosemann said.

A petition calling for the referendum must gain the certified signatures of almost 90,000 voters with at least 17,857 signatures coming from each of the state’s five congressional districts, according to the secretary’s information.

Hosemann acknowledged that the effort to gather the necessary signatures would be similar to a campaign for statewide office.

For more information about the initiative, see

“Our non-profit law is now the best in the country,” Hosemann said, describing changes the legislature passed this year. The Secretary of State said that “60 people worked all summer” to create legislation that would streamline the state’s business.

The non-profit corporation laws, which were addressed in House Bill 680, reduced the administrative burdens and eased compliance, according to a press release from Hosemann’s office, while it increased charities’ accountability to the public.

•    Senate Bill 3060 provides a discount for corporate filers who file online, a change that Hosemann described as “business-friendly.” The bill also allows expedited filing for an extra fee.

• House Bill 878 increases protection for trademark owners. “It applies to every small business and closely-held corporation, that’s the real protection,” Hosemann said.

•    The Mississippi Securities Act repealed the existing Mississippi Securities Act and gives the state, “the best securities act in the country,” he said. “We took the model act and we improved on it,” he said. The new securities act makes state law consistent with federal law and gives the Secretary of State “powers to investigate, prosecute and sanction individuals and securities firms that violate securities laws,” according to Hosemann.

•    A new law regulating pre-need funeral service contracts requires that the documents be pre-approved by the Secretary of State and offers other consumer protections, according to the elected official.

•    An Entertainment District Act allows local governments to establish the districts where the rate for state income tax depreciation deduction is accelerated from 40 to 5 years, among other incentives. “No other state has this,” he said.