Governor takes different tone concerning coronavirus money

Governor Tate Reeves seems resigned to the likelihood that the Legislature will take control over how more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus money will be spent.

Posted: May 5, 2020 10:58 PM
Updated: May 5, 2020 11:07 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA/AP) — Governor Tate Reeves seems resigned to the likelihood that the Legislature will take control over how more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus money will be spent.

"I was angry. I was mad. But now, I'm way beyond that. I've got too much other work to do. I've got too much stuff that I have to get done," said Reeves during the state coronavirus news conference Tuesday.

Gov. Tate Reeves speaking during a coronavirus news conference

According to the governor, he has yet to receive the bill passed Friday that gives state lawmakers spending authority over that cash. Based on that vote, however, it appears they could easily override any veto by Reeves.

The governor, a Republican, has called that bill a power grab by the GOP-majority Legislature, saying he's best positioned to spend the federal money as needs arise.

He also said Vice President Pence told him this week the Trump administration intended for governors to decide how that money should be spent.

But longtime Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat from Amory, said the issue is not with the governor. The issue is making sure the money is spent properly.

"No one individual, not even me, should be in charge of $1.25 billion with no oversight," said Bryan during a live interview on WTVA 9 News at 5:00.

Discussion about the dispute came on the same day the state health department said Mississippi — with a population of about 3 million — had at least 8,207 confirmed cases and 342 deaths from the coronavirus as of Monday evening. That was an increase of 330 cases and 32 deaths from the previous day.

It was Mississippi's largest single-day increase in virus death numbers. The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said 18 of the deaths happened earlier but were included in the Monday statistics because that's when the health department received information from death certificates.

The number of coronavirus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. 

The Department of Health said Tuesday that more than 80,300 coronavirus tests had been done in Mississippi as of Monday. The department said at least 965 cases of the virus had been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 125 deaths from it in those facilities.

The governor’s “safer at home” order started April 27, replacing a stricter stay-at-home order that was in place for more than three weeks. The new order remains in effect until Monday morning and has allowed some to reopen with limits on how many customers may be present. Barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors and entertainment venues such as movie theaters remain closed.

Reeves is easing some restrictions on restaurants and outdoor gatherings, beginning Thursday. Restaurants will be allowed to open indoor dining rooms and outdoor seating areas with masks on servers and limits on the number of customers. Outdoor gatherings such as youth sports practices may have up to 20 people, an increase from the current limit of 10.

Reeves said Tuesday that even though larger gatherings are allowed, those still might be bad for some people.

“There is no government replacement for your personal responsibility and wisdom,” said Reeves. “Please take our warnings seriously. Please do not go back to normal. Please do not give up.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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