NAACP Hosts Legislative Advocacy Day

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Jackson, Miss.

For its annual Legislative Advocacy Day, the Mississippi NAACP was armed with a list of what it calls game changing policies for Mississippi.

"Labor rights are civil rights," said Shelia Wilson, who works at Nissan in Canton.

Wilson said she believes a series of Senate bills passed last week are anti-union. The bills' author claims they are meant to increase economic development.

"We're not able to have a fair election without being intimidated," said Wilson. "And when I say intimidated, we'll have a roundtable meeting saying that if we have a union the plant will close."

Wilson and the NAACP say they'll fight to keep the bill from becoming law. Meanwhile, the organization is adding its name to the list of teacher pay raise supporters.

"If we are going to give tax incentives and tax breaks to corporations, we should reward our teachers for training our young minds who will be the workforce of the future," said NAACP president, Derrick Johnson.

Another policy change the organization is giving the green light is corrections and criminal justice reforms.

"Any changes that reduce the state's prison population and reduce reliance on incarceration will certainly free up resources for the other priorities," said Nicole Porter, director of Sentencing Project Advocacy.

Voter ID is a done deal. But the group isn't giving up on expressing concerns.

"All citizens should have access to a polling place free of barrier of intimidation. We've had that history in the state. We should not repeat that history," Johnson said.

Johnson said he thinks a Senate bill that would create early voting and same day registration could be a better solution.

We've heard rumbles of discussions about Medicaid expansion at the capitol this year. Most of those are just in the hallways or at the Democrat news conferences.

The NAACP said it's disappointed that the state refuses to expand Medicaid.