- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 2018
- 6 Healthcare
- 7 Policing
- 8 Immigration
- 9 Voting Rights
- 10 Mass Incarceration
- 11 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 12 Housing/Infrastructure
- 13 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 14 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 15 Educational Justice
- 16 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 17 Climate / Environment
- 18 Disability Rights
- 19 Organizations
- 20 Local News Sources
- 21 Relevant City and County Information
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Dewey Phillip (Phil) Bryant, Governor of Mississippi, elected in 2011 and 2015. (Term-limited, and not eligible for reelection in 2019.)
- Jonathon Tate Reeves, Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, elected in 2011 and 2015. (Term-limited, and not eligible for reelection in 2019.)
- James Matthew (Jim) Hood, Attorney General of Mississippi, elected in 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015.
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming state and local events.
To see past updates for Mississippi, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Mississippi lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- No bills have been identified at this point
Harmful bills proposed by Mississippi lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- SB 2730 would make obstruction of traffic a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence. 
- SB 2469 "Blue Lives Matter" bill, would include members of law enforcement in hate crime protections.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 30 days before Election Day. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. A photo ID is required every time you vote.
Incumbent, Roger Wicker (R)—First appointed in 2007; won special election in 2008.
US House of Representatives
Incumbent District 1, Trent Kelly (R)—First elected in 2010
Incumbent District 2, Bennie Thompson (D)—First elected in 1992
Incumbent District 3, Greg Harper (R)—First elected in 2008
Incumbent District 4, Steven Palazzo (R)—First elected in 2010
In Mississippi, 13% of the population remains uninsured compared to a national average of 9%. Mississippi is a state that has not expanded Medicaid coverage to more people as allowed under the ACA.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 102,000 people in Mississippi (or 3.4% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 229,000 people (or 7.7% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/28/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Mississippi is predicted to be 353,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 544,000, a 54.2% increase.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Mississippi could pay up to 22% more for the same coverage as men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Mississippi is among the many states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 16,000 jobs could be lost in Mississippi in the case of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who is up for reelection in 2018, voted to repeal the ACA with no replacement.
- On January 13, 2017, Republican State Senator Michael Watson introduced a bill to prevent Mississippi from participating in the ACA.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Mississippi could pay $655 more in 2018.
- 51 people have been killed by police in the state of Mississippi from 2013 through 2016.
- 47% of the people killed by police were black.
- No homicide rates for police killings per population are available at this time..
- In 2012, undocumented immigrants comprised 0.9% of the state’s population, or 25,000 people.
- Undocumented workers make up $259 million GSP (Gross State Product).
- In 2010, undocumented immigrants in Mississippi paid $48.1 million in state and local taxes.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Mississippi does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.
- Mississippi does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend a public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Mississippi, 2,317 people have benefitted from the order.
- DACA residents qualify for in-state tuition at community colleges.
- HB 212 was introduced in January 2017. The bill proposes in-state tuition for undocumented students who have resided in Mississippi for five years and paid state taxes for one year.
- In 2013, immigrants comprised 2.9% of the state’s workforce, or 39,080 workers.
- In 2012, undocumented immigrants comprised 1.2% of the state’s workforce, or 15,000 people.
- If all undocumented immigrants were deported, Mississippi state would lose $538 million in economic activity.
- Mississippi would lose 4,680 jobs if all undocumented immigrants were deported.
- If all undocumented immigrants were given legal status, they would pay $60.8 million in state and local taxes.
- Mississippi local law enforcement complies with the “Secure Communities” program. The program mandates that all arrested people must be fingerprinted and have their criminal record checked.
- Mississippi does not currently have any sanctuary cities. The term "sanctuary city" is used to describe cities that limit how much they help federal law enforcement (usually ICE) with removals (also known as deportations).
- In Mississippi, voluntary agency affiliates offer resettlement services for career development, ESL training, cash assistance, and other social service programs.
Mississippi began requiring a photo ID to vote in 2016. Passed in 2011 by a voter referendum, the ID law initially required preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but the measure was allowed to go into effect after the US Supreme Court gutted that provision in 2013.
- In 2014, Mississippi had 31,266 incarcerated people, plus a probation population of 31,675 and parole population of 6,901.
- 4,114 people are incarcerated in private prisons in Mississippi.
- 243 juveniles are in custody in Mississippi.
- Of the prison population, 2,073 people were serving life sentences, and 1,518 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In Mississippi, a black person is 3.0 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $378 million.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Mississippi residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 69,000
- Adults and children: 216,000
- Children: 132,000
- In 2015, an average of 296,094 households and 636,322 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Mississippi. In 2011, approximately 21% of the population of Mississippi was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Mississippi household was $251 per household and $115 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 11,777 households, including 5,924 families and 9,169 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Mississippi was $170 in 2014. Average benefits in Mississippi have fallen in value by 7.1% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 20,485 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 8,301 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received an average of $228.88 per person, for a total of $1,900,000.
- 82,000 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Mississippi had 41 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Mississippi, there were 1,738 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 133 families, 144 veterans, 75 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 183 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Mississippi received $359 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Mississippi, more than 62,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Mississippi households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Mississippi's infrastructure received a score of C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- This study gave the state no “good” scores, and rated dams as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 21.3% of Mississippi's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 51% of Mississippi's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $419 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to Governor Phil Bryant (R), generating sufficient revenue to maintain roads and bridges is a major infrastructure goal for Mississippi.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Mississippi has one Planned Parenthood center.
- In 2015, that one center was in a rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage area.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 601,000 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were two abortion providers in Mississippi in 2015.
- In 2014, 9.3 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Mississippi had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
- Parental consent is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Abortion is prohibited after 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
- Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurance coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In Mississippi, 21.6% of women live in poverty. 49.6% of single mothers live in poverty, as do 14.7% of women age 65 and older.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.76, which is four cents below the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.56 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.54 for every dollar made by white men.
- In a 24-hour survey in September 2014 hotlines received 181 calls, averaging more than 7 calls per hour. On the 14th of September the same year, 393 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
Religious freedom law
Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, in Mississippi, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, which was passed in 2016 after same-sex marriage became legal, says that the state will not take action against anyone acting in the religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. The law was blocked two months later by US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, but a panel from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled that the law should be applied. They did not rule on whether the law was constitutional, and opponents are appealing.
Mississippi lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit and jury selection, as well as nondiscrimination policies for state employees.. Mississippi considered a so-called “bathroom bill” (forcing trans individuals to use the public toilets matching their gender at birth and not their gender identity) in 2016.
Mississippi lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in parenting, including laws on second-parent adoption, surrogacy, foster care, parental presumption for same-sex couples, de-facto recognition and consent to inseminate (meaning that in the case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is not automatically recognized as a parent).
Hate crime laws
Mississippi does not include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group and does not requires specific reporting of such crimes.
Mississippi lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals against bullying and does not require school suicide prevention policies. The State does not promote transgender inclusion in sports and lacks laws on protection from conversion therapy, laws to address homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies. It has passed school laws that criminalize youth, which tend to disproportionately impact LGBTQT+ students, and laws that restrict the inclusion of LGBTQ+ topics in schools.
Health and safety laws
Mississippi does not have nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges and does not ban insurance exclusions for trans health care. It does not have trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees and does not include trans health care in State Medicaid. The State allows gender marker change on birth certificates (though not on drivers’ licenses) and does collect health data on LGBTQ+ individuals. Mississippi has sodomy laws and laws that criminalize HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly African Americans, and gay men.
- Mississippi is ranked 47th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $4,615 per student.
- As of 2013, Mississippi ranked 49th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $41,994 per year.
- 87% of students in Mississippi attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 83% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0% of total public school enrollment.
- Mississippi's overall graduation rate is 78%, which is below the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 84%
- Latino: 80%
- Black: 72%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 89%
- American Indian: 66%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 71%
- Limited English Proficient: 67%
- Students with Disabilities: 28%
- 1/31/2017: The Cleveland school district in Mississippi has dropped its challenge to a federal desegregation order. Cleveland, Mississippi, has long maintained two high schools—the majority-black Eastside High School and majority-white Cleveland High School. In May, a federal judge found that Cleveland was operating an illegal dual system for its black and white children, having failed after decades to reach the “greatest degree of desegregation possible.” Beginning in fall 2017, all students in Cleveland will attend a single new high school, Cleveland Central.
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- Mississippi has no state minimum wage, so the minimum wage in the state is the same as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
- Mississippi has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Mississippi has no state law for paid family leave.
- Mississippi has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Mississippi is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Mississippi also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Mississippi does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Mississippi does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- Only 3.6% of Mississippi's electricity generation is from renewable sources; the remainder is from fossil fuels (mostly natural gas).
- Mississippi has 8 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 7.3% of Mississippi’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure indices—62—compared to an overall index of 58 and a White index of 56.
- In 2012, Native American people in Mississippi were most likely to have asthma, at 11.7%, compared to 7.6% overall.
- The environmental agency in Mississippi is the Department of Environmental Quality.
- Mississippi has no Climate Action Plan.
- Mississippi has no renewable/alternative energy portfolio standards.
- Mississippi has the sixth-highest percentage of disabled residents in the US: 16.2% of Mississippi's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- The employment rate among disabled adults in Mississippi is 27.5%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Mississippi have a 70.1% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Mississippi has the fourth-highest rate of disability among eligible voters. Approximately 21.0% of eligible voters in Mississippi have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Mississippi, 34.1% live in poverty, as opposed to 18.3% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 54.4%, as opposed to 34.8% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Mississippi, 8.1% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
State and Local Disability Rights Organizations
- Bridges to Independence, a Money Follows the Person (MFP) organization, helping with transition from institutions back into the community
- Disability Rights Mississippi, the state's Protection & Advocacy (P&A) organization
- LIFE of Mississippi, the statewide Independent Living Council
- Mississippi Access to Care Network, the state's ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center)
- Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disbilities
- Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities
- Mississippi Society for Disabilities
- NAMI Mississippi (National Alliance on Mental Illness]
- OlmsteadRights list of Mississippi disability resources
Local News Sources
Relevant City and County Information
- On March 8, 2017 the city of Magnolia became the second in the State after Jackson to enact a city-wide non-discrimination protection including sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations and employment.