“Youth Leg” participants argue, vote, and legislate

The 58th assembly of the Mississippi Youth Legislature took place Wednesday, November 8th through Saturday the 11th in downtown Jackson, MS. Nearly 500 students from across the state joined together at the Jackson Marriott for this assembly. Jackson Prep was responsible for bringing 46 students and 3 advisors.

The conference is a simulation of the Mississippi state legislature in which students draft bills and present them to their assigned committee and chamber. For example, a senate bill must pass or obtain a majority vote in a Senate committee. If the bill passes, there, it then goes into the Senate chamber. If the bill survives through the debate that goes on here, it will then advance into the House of Representatives committee and continue the process.

If the bill survives the House of Representatives, the Youth Governor ultimately decides the fate of the bills that have passed to his or her desk. The governor is allowed to veto or pass bills, but may not make amendments. Amendments are made in committees and chambers.

Many Prep students who attended the conference said that it was a fun way to public speak, debate, and possibly find out what career they are interested in. They were able to learn parliamentary procedure, partake in heated debates over bills, and meet new people from all over the state.

Students are assigned into either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Due to the amount of  students attending the conference this year, there were two parallel Houses and Senates running simultaneously, labeled “Jefferson” and “Hamilton.” Meetings were held in the Jackson Marriott, where the delegates also stayed, as well as in the state’s Capitol Building and the Old Capitol Museum.

Near the end of the conference, delegates were allowed to vote for Governor for the 2018 legislative session. Junior Prep student Jack Mullen was a candidate for the gubernatorial position. The positions were announced on Saturday during the closing ceremonies of the conference after awards. Although Jack did not win the Governor position for the 2018 assembly, he was appointed as next  year’s Chief of Staff. Sophomore Alex Stradinger was named Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Youth Legislature this year was a great success, with many impressive bills and influential legislators. At the conclusion, three Prep delegates were named Outstanding Representatives. Senior Mitchell Boulanger, junior Catherine Watson, and sophomore Alex Stradinger brought home this honor.


Gubernatorial candidate and Prep Youth Leg vet Jack Mullen addresses delegates. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Delegates in the State Capitol. Photo by Stewart McCullough
Seniors Cameron Mabry and Annie Rogers representing Prep at Youth Leg. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
A thoughtful Jack Bell considers legislation. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Prep delegate Garrett Davis at the well. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Mary Patterson Hester in committee. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Prep delegate Rimes Rutledge about to address his committee. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Alex Stradinger (center) attempts to get the presiding officer’s attention attention in the Old Capitol while press corps member Reece Davis (right) and delegate Blake Haskins (left) look on. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Alex Stradinger in the Old Capitol. Photo by Stewart McCullough.
Seniors Tynes Carroll and Hannah O’Bryan, a bit giddy after three days without sleep.