Black Caucus stalls Mississippi House work amid tensions

Rep. Earle Banks
Rep. Earle Banks
Rep. Earle Banks

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Black Democrats in the Mississippi House say Republicans are unfairly freezing them out of the legislative process, and they are stalling business to pressure the majority GOP.

Legislative Black Caucus leader Earle Banks, a Jackson Democrat, demanded that a 431-page bill be read aloud Thursday, stopping House business for hours.

The move retaliates against Republicans for passing a bill Wednesday to change boundaries of Supreme Court, Transportation Commission and Public Service Commission districts.

Democrats say moving Simpson County from the Southern District to the Central District would reduce the chance of Democrats and African-Americans winning seats. But Thursday’s delay also reflects mounting frustration among Democrats, some of whom say Republicans aren’t consulting them even about bills directly affecting their districts.

More than 200 House bills face a March 3 deadline.

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