The Mississippi Legislature today suspended the 2020 Legislative Session until April 1, 2020, at the recommendation of State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, medical professionals have suggested avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people, therefore making it difficult to conduct legislative business at this time.
Due to the session’s suspension, a resolution was passed by the legislature extending the session for 30 days into June 2020.
On March 14, Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency for the state of Mississippi. The declaration contained several provisions, including:
- Directing all state entities to determine core functions and essential personal, and try to allow as many people to work from home as possible
- Recommending schools allow children to work from home toward essential grade-level instruction for the 2019-2020 school year
- Recommending school districts continuing providing staff and transportation to supply meals for school aged children
- Ordering all state employees continue being paid while at home for specified reasons
On March 17, the Mississippi House passed a bill allowing municipalities, counties and school districts to pay their employees that are home during the state of emergency, similar to the Reeves’ declaration related to state employees. The Mississippi Senate passed the same bill on March 18, before suspending the session.
“I want to speak clearly as to the future,” Lt. Gov.Delbert Hosemann said. “We will continue to plant and harvest the food which feeds us and the world. We will build the cars which transport us. We will build ships which defend us. Our schools will continue to educate our children. We will again join our friends, families, and our neighbors at our sporting events, restaurants, and churches. In short, our lives will return to normal. These challenges are temporary, but our resolve is permanent.”
For more information about COVID-19 in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi Department of Health’s website, msdh.ms.gov.