UPDATE: Lawmakers approve funding for hospitals, landlords, farmers

Mississippi lawmakers have voted to send some coronavirus relief money to hospitals, veterans’ centers, farmers and landlords.

Posted: Oct 2, 2020 12:27 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2020 12:28 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hospitals, veterans' centers, farmers and landlords in Mississippi would receive money to respond to the coronavirus pandemic under bills passed by state lawmakers Thursday night.

Members of the Mississippi House and Senate returned to the Capitol on Thursday to reallocate some of the COVID-19 relief money the state received from the federal government.

Like many other states, Mississippi received $1.25 billion from Congress to respond to the pandemic.

Mississippi lawmakers initially put $300 million into a program to aid small businesses. Officials have said the state received fewer requests than expected for the business aid. Some business owners have said the state has been slow in responding to their applications.

One of the bills passed Thursday would set aside $13 million for agriculture operations, including poultry farms that have lost at least one flock during the pandemic.

Separate bills would make $10 million available to hospitals for improvements to intensive care units and $10 million to the state Veterans Affairs Board. Republican Sen. Dennis DeBar of Leakeville said nurses from veterans' homes have left for better pay at other places.

Legislators also passed $20 million to help residential or commercial landlords with lost rental income. The program would only be available to those who have not evicted people who were unable to pay rent between March 1 and Dec. 30.

“You can’t be participating in the program and evict somebody," said House Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White, a Republican from West.

Landlords would be able to seek a maximum grant of $30,000, which would be exempt from income tax. Only 25% of the total $20 million package can go to commercial landlords, while the rest must go to residential, according to lawmakers.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves banned evictions in Mississippi early in the pandemic, but that prohibition expired at the start of June. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order Sept. 1 banning evictions of people who lost work because of the pandemic, but advocacy groups have expressed concern that evictions are still happening.

During the debate of the legislation, Democratic Rep. John Hines of Greenville asked if the program could help renters. He asked: “Can that particular individual who has been evicted, if they have proof, can they apply for some of that rental assistance?”

White said the bill does not address evicted tenants.

“That’s a different legal issue,” White said.

Mississippi legislators usually finish their annual session by March or April, but the pandemic upended those plans this year. Legislators took an extended break starting mid-March, soon after the virus was first detected in the state. They rearranged their work deadlines and returned for several days in May and June and one day in August. Going into Thursday, they had two work days remaining before the session expires.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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