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.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds282449
DeSoto186519
Madison141936
Jones118549
Harrison109615
Rankin106315
Neshoba103976
Forrest97243
Lauderdale95481
Scott80915
Jackson74418
Washington70010
Copiah64215
Leake62120
Lee60022
Oktibbeha58928
Holmes57941
Warren57720
Grenada5698
Wayne56018
Yazoo5486
Lowndes53613
Leflore52856
Lamar5227
Lincoln51935
Pike48820
Sunflower4708
Lafayette4644
Monroe43935
Panola4326
Covington4295
Bolivar39418
Simpson3843
Attala38324
Newton36710
Adams34719
Pontotoc3396
Tate33313
Marion32412
Claiborne30011
Winston29611
Chickasaw29319
Pearl River28132
Noxubee2778
Marshall2763
Jasper2716
Clay25611
Walthall2497
Union24611
Smith23712
Coahoma2196
Clarke21725
Lawrence2022
Yalobusha2028
Kemper18314
Tallahatchie1784
Carroll17411
Humphreys16110
Calhoun1605
Montgomery1513
Itawamba1458
Tippah14411
Hancock14113
Webster13411
Jefferson1223
Tunica1213
Jefferson Davis1184
Prentiss1173
George1123
Greene11210
Amite1083
Quitman971
Tishomingo971
Wilkinson969
Alcorn942
Perry794
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin542
Sharkey470
Benton440
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
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