Q A particular bill in the 2013 legislative session was passed by the Senate on March 27, 2013, passed in the House on March 30, 2013, and signed by the Governor on April 15, 2013. The effective date in the bill was “from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. . . .” The bill was submitted to the U.S. Justice Department for preclearance on June 21, 2013. On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an opinion in Shelby County v. Holder stating that the formula contained in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional and can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance under Section 5. The U.S. Justice Department subsequently announced that it ceased processing Section 5 submissions as of June 25. So, when does this bill take effect?

A Because the U.S. Justice Department has stated it will make no determinations on submissions made under Section 5, due to the Shelby County v. Holder decision, the bill cannot be effectuated under Section 5, and thus is silent as to when it takes effect. Section 75 of the Mississippi Constitution provides, “No law of a general nature, unless therein otherwise provided, shall be enforced until sixty days after its passage.” The Attorney General is of the opinion that “the bill took effect on the date the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Shelby County v. Holder or sixty days from its passage (the date it was signed by the Governor) – whichever occurred later. In this instance, the bill was signed by the Governor on April 15, 2013 so the effective date was June 25, 2013.” (Attorney General’s Opinion to Campbell, August 14, 2013)