Do not give governmental power to an unelected board?

Everyone believes in the basic principle of holding those we elect accountable for their actions. In a representative democracy elected men and women are empowered to make decisions, if they make bad decisions we end their political career by voting for someone else. Being re-elected is the holy grail of most elected officials and often the only thing that keeps them in line.

But what would happen if the politicians could figure out a way to be insulated from their decisions, what if they could give their power to someone else who could be blamed for all bad decisions but would allow the politician to take credit for all popular decisions? 

That scheme would undermine the entire fabric of our political system.

Mississippi Senate Bill 2716 – is attempting to do just that, by creating a “quasi-governmental” entity that assumes the powers usually reserved for government.

This form of quasi-government is call “Regionalism”. 

Regionalism is the practice of separate political subdivisions banding together to accomplish a cooperative goal. 

It sounds benign and harmless until we dive deeper into how this concept is put into practice. On writer Tom Deweese says, 

“Regionalism is the means to complete the final stage of taking our private property rights from us and firmly embed us in Communitarianism.”

Currently politicians in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas have proposed a compact between certain counties and cities in their states. This compact would be managed by a private organization called the RegionSmart Development District and Agency of the Greater Memphis Region (RegionSmart).

This quasi-governmental agency will operate virtually autonomously. Because this organization is a privately held company local citizens will lose oversight and control of the tax dollars sent and collected by RegionSmart.  Since RegionSmart is located in Tennessee the people of Mississippi lose access to decisions that are made. RegionSmart would not be bound by Mississippi open records laws or open meetings laws and could not be held accountable by the State Auditor.

This means Mississippi tax dollars will flow into a Memphis, TN based company that does not answer to the people of Mississippi.

Local officials who support this scheme claim their citizens will be protected because each mayor gets to appoint a member to the Board of Commissioners. This board will consist of 15 members, all unelected by the people of their city or county. 

The current proposal under consideration in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas would give the RegionSmart Development District the power to:

  1. Purchase or construct roads, airports, wharves, docks, harbors, and industrial parks, bridges, tunnels, warehouses, grain elevators, commodity and other storage facilities, sewage disposal plants, passenger transportation facilities, and air, water, rail, motor vehicle and other terminal or parking facilities.
  2. Use Eminent Domain to condemn property it wants.
  3. Lease facilities and structures they choose.
  4. Chargfees and collect fees for use of the facilities owned and operated by the RegionSmart Development District.
  5. Issue bonds and borrow money.

Mississippians felt so strongly about controlling eminent domain that the citizens amended the state constitution to ensure that eminent domain cannot be used to take property that is later given to an individual or private company. But RegionSmart would not be held to that standard. If RegionSmart is given the power of eminent domain they could take property from Mississippi citizens and give it to anyone they want or any company they please.

RegionSmart will also be given the authority to issue bonds and borrow money. But who is held liable if RegionSmart defaults on these loans? The people of Mississippi? Tennessee? Arkansas? Or the cities and counties involved in this compact?

You may ask Why Now? Why in 2022 are Republicans proposing the people give up control and authority of their property rights and decisions about their state, city or county. The answer lies in the Biden Administration. The recent “Infrastructure” bill passed by congress encourages compacts and promises millions of dollars will flow into these private entities.

So once again politicians are willing to sell our freedom, our liberty, and our sovereignty for a few dollars flowing into someone’s pocket. 

The people of Desoto County deserve better than this! Giving up our authority and our right to govern ourselves is a dangerous road to head down. We must stop this compact and demand our local officials never attempt to sell our liberty, our freedom, and our governance again. 

Senate Bill 2716 authored by Desoto County Senator David Parker, passed the Mississippi Senate and has passed the House Workforce Development Committee and is awaiting debate on the House Floor.

Three Representatives from Desoto County, Dana Criswell, Steve Hopkins, and Dan Eubanks, all members of the Mississippi Freedom Caucus, oppose this legislation and are fighting to ensure it does not pass. 

Your help is needed.

Please contact your local elected officials and demand they stop Senate Bill 2716. Also, contact every representative in the Mississippi House and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 2716. The representatives may be contacted by emailing [email protected]

In addition to contacting every representative please contact Speaker Phillip Gunn and Workforce Development Chairman Donnie Bell and demand they stop this harmful and dangerous legislation.

Speaker Phillip Gunn
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
Donnie Bell
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
[email protected]

You may also click the link below and complete a form email that will automatically be sent to all Mississippi Representatives and Gov. Tate Reeves.