Madison County supervisors are exploring what it would cost to create a single judicial district currently shared with Rankin County as they discussed lobbying the Legislature. 

District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin raised the issue last week under “old business,” initially asking for cost estimates to be prepared by next Monday’s meeting. 

“If we choose to do this, this would give my colleagues time to hear from some of their constituents,” Griffin said. 

Griffin said if that’s the direction of the board, they could then send a resolution to the Legislature requesting a new district and to “break loose from Rankin County and go out on our own.”

He added, “Just testing the water.”

District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen said they need to skip those steps and head straight to the Legislature, saying it is up to them. 

“I’m definitely in favor of it,” he said. “I’m definitely there.”

Board Attorney Katie Bryant Snell said that was a topic for conversation that should have been brought up earlier, given the deadline for bills to be introduced to the Legislature is Monday. 

“This might be a next-year project,” she said.

Griffin noted that former DA Michael Guest, who was recently elected as a U.S. Representative for Mississippi’s Third Congressional District, had opposed a separate judicial district in the past. 

“He wasn’t really for it,” Griffin said. “This would be a good time to do it. If we had to wait ’til next year, it will give everybody more time to think about it. It’s the direction I see Madison County should be headed.”

As of Wednesday, a search of all bills still alive in the Legislature returned no results that would create a separate judicial district for Madison County.

In 2014, splitting the judicial district into separate districts for Madison and Rankin was discussed by the Legislature but ultimately abandoned during redistricting. A new circuit court judge was added, though.

That same year, Madison County supervisors at the time sent a resolution to the Legislature in support of a single district. 

Judicial districts are redrawn every 10 years, with 2024 the next mandated year for judicial redistricting.