State News: Charter Schools Legal; OK to Sell ‘Veggie Burgers’; Hughes-Hosemann Debate Ahead

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The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 5 that charter schools, which receive public funds, are legal under the state constitution. The Southern Poverty Law Center had argued that charters violate a provision in the constitution that bars local public funds from going to schools outside the local district's control.

Private nonprofits with no oversight from the Mississippi Department of Education or local school districts run private schools.

"While it is true that a charter school is exempted from the oversight of a school district, this does not mean that a charter school is a separate, geographic school district," Justice Bobby Chamberlin wrote.

Justice Leslie King dissented, writing that the Mississippi Constitution plainly says local property taxes must "be used only to maintain the schools controlled by a school district."

King wrote that the authors of the state's constitution used "plain language" to specify that local property taxes "are to be used only to maintain the schools controlled by a school district."

Six charter schools currently operate in Mississippi, and all but one are in Jackson. The other is in Clarksdale.

Gipson: 'Veggie Burgers' Not Illegal

In a Sept. 6 press release, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture Andy Gipson clarified that it is not illegal to sell products in Mississippi labeled as "veggie burgers." His statement comes in the wake of a recent lawsuit against a new Mississippi law that made it illegal to sell plant-based products labeled as "meat food products." Vegans foods company Upton's Naturals joined forces with the Plant Based Foods Association and the Institution for Justice law firm to bring the cases, claiming in a July 2 press release that it violated "their First Amendment right to label foods in a way that consumers understand."

Gipson said new rules from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture will make that clear.

"Contrary to what the plaintiffs have been

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