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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.

Confirmed Cases: 64400

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5416112
DeSoto347227
Madison236360
Harrison228735
Rankin220231
Jackson215641
Jones182857
Forrest170155
Washington154835
Lauderdale137990
Lee129732
Neshoba126490
Lamar117713
Oktibbeha107737
Lowndes102333
Bolivar101032
Warren99531
Scott97820
Panola96012
Sunflower94223
Copiah92928
Lafayette90714
Leflore88261
Pike86133
Holmes85948
Grenada81921
Yazoo80312
Lincoln78741
Pontotoc7808
Leake77625
Simpson76730
Wayne74921
Monroe73151
Coahoma68410
Tate68327
Marion63419
Marshall6169
Covington60313
Adams59625
Winston59315
Union55215
George5454
Newton53011
Pearl River51537
Tallahatchie51210
Attala51024
Walthall48219
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee43811
Claiborne39913
Calhoun3929
Smith38913
Clay38014
Jasper3799
Alcorn3775
Prentiss3699
Hancock34914
Tishomingo3445
Itawamba32310
Clarke32225
Tippah32013
Tunica3076
Yalobusha30410
Lawrence3027
Montgomery3023
Humphreys28111
Carroll24811
Quitman2381
Greene23011
Kemper22715
Jefferson Davis2256
Perry2207
Amite2176
Webster21112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson19313
Sharkey1913
Stone1603
Choctaw1294
Benton1280
Franklin1152
Issaquena241
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12186230
Mobile9269204
Montgomery6350148
Madison512227
Tuscaloosa400269
Baldwin332223
Shelby311932
Marshall300134
Unassigned287856
Lee255442
Morgan227015
Etowah196728
DeKalb172113
Elmore163337
Calhoun162713
Walker147964
Houston133412
Dallas129823
Russell12672
St. Clair125214
Limestone122713
Franklin121520
Cullman117112
Colbert112213
Lauderdale111113
Autauga103021
Escambia98115
Talladega94613
Jackson8904
Chambers83238
Tallapoosa82778
Dale79823
Butler75435
Blount7453
Chilton7386
Coffee7255
Covington71620
Pike6727
Barbour5645
Lowndes56124
Marion54724
Marengo52914
Clarke4919
Hale45926
Bullock44411
Winston43511
Perry4324
Wilcox41110
Monroe3964
Randolph39210
Bibb3844
Pickens3769
Conecuh37310
Sumter36018
Lawrence3251
Macon31613
Washington31512
Crenshaw3073
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2497
Greene24711
Henry2473
Geneva2430
Clay2255
Lamar2052
Fayette1785
Cleburne1211
Coosa952
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