For Immediate Release
Contact: Vice-Chairman Dana Criswell
Mississippi Freedom Caucus
Jackson, MS (March 11, 2022) — The RegionSmart Compact Bill is DEAD! The attempt to subvert the people’s vote and establish a quasi-governmental agency controlling parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas has been killed in all three states.
In Mississippi the bill died on the calendar on Wednesday, March 9 never being considered for a vote. The Chairman in charge of the bill announced on the floor of the House that he was moving the bill to the bottom of the calendar with the resounding statement, “Where it will die!” This action brought “woos” from the members as they expressed their relief that the bill was dead. After receiving over 800 emails, hundreds of calls, and an untold amount of social media tags, Representatives were more than happy to get it off the calendar. House members were simply tired of being hounded by the people of Mississippi who are increasingly watching their elected officials and holding them accountable.
The companion bill in Tennessee and the resolution in support of the compact in Arkansas both had similar fates, dying without considerations in their respective chambers. The more citizens learned about the RegionSmart Compact, that would strip states of their sovereignty, the angrier they became. The bill gave an unelected commission of bureaucrats, appointed by mayors in each of the three states, the ability to seize your property through eminent domain, assess fees (the Republican term for taxes), and issue bonds with no clear details of who would be on the hook for a bond in default (most likely the taxpayers in the state). The commission would be based in Memphis therefore not subject to Mississippi’s open records laws or open meetings laws, which means it would receive and spend tax dollars taken from Mississippians but could not be held accountable by the Mississippi State Auditor. In 2011 the people of Mississippi felt so strongly about preventing abuse of eminent domain they amended the state constitution. The amendment prevents private organizations from using eminent domain. But Senate Bill 2716 would have circumvented the state constitution and given RegionSmart, a “quasi-governmental” private organization located in Tennessee, the right to take property from the people of Mississippi.
The bill itself was bad but as citizens dug deeper into the organization of RegionSmart their findings were alarming. RegionSmart is an affiliate of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). RegionSmart/ULI held a conference in Memphis, TN that included topics on transforming communities worldwide by prioritizing “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”, with a strategy that focuses on “Race and Ethnicity, Gender, LGBTQ Status, Gender Identity…” ULI supported BLM and the 1619 project that Glenn Beck says, “argues that America was rotten at its beginning, and that slavery and systemic racism are the roots of everything from capitalism to our lack of universal health care.”
The Urban Land Institute is clearly a leftist organization with ties to the 1998 Clinton era “reinventing government” agenda. The project, established by President Bill Clinton and organized by Al Gore, sought to reinvent government by encouraging public/private partnerships and shifting power from elected officials to appointed individuals and agencies.
The people of Mississippi spoke loudly and clearing against this leftist organization and through their actions the RegionSmart Compact is dead.
The Mississippi Freedom Caucus congratulates the people of Mississippi for defeating this attempt to subvert the Mississippi constitution and destroy their voice at the ballot box.