By Patsy R. Brumfield
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann filed notice Thursday of their appeal to a recent federal court ruling, which declared part of the state’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional.
They will ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to scrutinize the Sept. 30 decision by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock that state requirements are “too burdensome” and “confusing” for small groups or individuals who participate in ballot initiatives to change the state constitution.
Aycock did not rule on any other part of state laws, which require individual candidates or campaigns to register and file periodic reports about finances after they reach a $200 spending threshold.
The Northern District of Mississippi decision came from a 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of five Oxford-area resident who sought to oppose a state ballot measure about eminent domain.
Aycock said the requirements for individuals or small groups attempt to influence votes on ballot measures set “too low” a spending threshold and suppressed their free-speech rights.
Speaking to the Daily Journal last week, Hosemann said he will seek adjustments in the affected state law relating to the reporting threshold, but he said he will oppose any legislative attempts to weaken the rest of the law.