Mississippi legislators regroup in mid-May amid pandemic

Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson

The Mississippi Legislature will reconvene May 18. That's two months after the session was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 2:07 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Legislature will reconvene May 18, two months after the session was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, House and Senate leaders said Monday.

The announcement came the same day that Republican Gov. Tate Reeves eased some restrictions on people's movements, allowing many businesses to reopen but limiting how many customers they can have in their stores. The state has surpassed 6,000 confirmed cases of the highly contagious virus, according to the Health Department.

During a conference call with reporters, Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said Monday that lawmakers will take precautions when the legislative session begins again, possibly limiting the number of people in the Capitol and screening visitors for symptoms of COVID-19.

Legislators were at the midpoint of their session when they suspended work, and they still face several big issues. Hosemann said he will continue pushing for a teacher pay raise that would take effect during the budget year that begins July 1.

He said many people have a newfound appreciation for teachers as parents juggle duties of doing their own jobs and helping their children with online classes or other forms of distance learning.

“The last thing I want to take off the table is a pay raise for teachers,” Hosemann said.

He said legislators will write a state government budget in June, just weeks before the July 1 start of the new state fiscal year. Legislators want to see how tax collections are looking through the end of May, Hosemann said.

With a sharp rise in unemployment and widespread business closures because of the pandemic, “I expect a significant reduction in cash flow,” Hosemann said. He said state agency leaders have been told to find ways to save money.

The governor's stay-at-home order that had been in place since the evening of April 3 expired Monday morning. It was replaced with his new “safer at home” order, which still requires medically vulnerable people to remain home but allows more movement by others.

Reeves said people are still banned from gathering in groups of 10 or more, and they are still required to maintain distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from one another.

Stores in Mississippi are supposed to allow no more than 50% of their capacity of customers at a time, under the new order. And not all business are being allowed to reopen. Gyms, barber shops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors are among those remaining closed, the governor said.

Dentists and physicians can again start offering elective medical procedures.

Public school buildings are closed for the rest of the spring semester, but Reeves has said he wants students and teachers to continue with distance learning efforts.

The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi had at least 6,094 confirmed cases and 229 deaths from the coronavirus as of Sunday evening. That was an increase of 183 cases and two deaths from the previous day. The state’s population is about 3 million.

The number of 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. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said Monday at least 679 coronavirus cases had been confirmed by Sunday at long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. It also said at least 63,462 coronavirus tests had been done in Mississippi as of Sunday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297651

Reported Deaths: 6808
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19829231
Hinds18966395
Harrison16899283
Rankin12851265
Jackson12754234
Lee9722163
Madison9522204
Jones8042148
Forrest7295138
Lauderdale6879228
Lowndes6062140
Lamar593982
Lafayette5768114
Washington5235130
Bolivar4632124
Oktibbeha443295
Panola433798
Pearl River4219132
Warren4145115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall406595
Monroe3998129
Union397074
Neshoba3857171
Lincoln3630104
Hancock353378
Leflore3402122
Sunflower321386
Tate304674
Pike302797
Scott296771
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292266
Itawamba290775
Coahoma283169
Tippah280265
Copiah280159
Simpson277881
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255741
Leake254572
Covington250480
Grenada248978
Adams235978
Newton233353
George232845
Winston222579
Jasper214545
Tishomingo213266
Attala210571
Chickasaw202054
Holmes183470
Clay179452
Stone173529
Tallahatchie171839
Clarke170773
Calhoun158728
Smith154333
Yalobusha146036
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123335
Lawrence121621
Carroll119725
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102931
Tunica99824
Claiborne99130
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91523
Quitman77514
Franklin76520
Choctaw70317
Jefferson62927
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499819

Reported Deaths: 10148
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson720331403
Mobile36423741
Madison32708469
Tuscaloosa24457422
Montgomery22805523
Shelby22276219
Baldwin19935289
Lee15083161
Calhoun13963296
Morgan13801255
Etowah13419327
Marshall11460215
Houston10130264
Elmore9515190
Limestone9440139
St. Clair9057228
Cullman9000183
Lauderdale8630214
DeKalb8509175
Talladega7647165
Walker6601260
Jackson6552104
Autauga634792
Blount6256128
Colbert6010121
Coffee5261104
Dale4685107
Russell408134
Franklin400879
Covington3999107
Chilton3922104
Escambia379573
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3434111
Dallas3428142
Pike293173
Marion288996
Lawrence286287
Winston258668
Bibb246558
Marengo245357
Geneva240670
Pickens226357
Barbour213951
Hale212969
Fayette202857
Butler201666
Henry183741
Cherokee178240
Monroe166739
Randolph165441
Washington157136
Macon147845
Crenshaw146955
Clay146254
Cleburne140341
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123125
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter101032
Coosa90324
Greene88932
Choctaw56123
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