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: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
Bolivar199477
Oktibbeha197654
Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
Leflore163287
Sunflower158849
Warren153255
Monroe146572
Pontotoc145219
Pike137256
Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
Copiah135736
Coahoma124036
Scott123829
Grenada120638
Yazoo119933
Simpson119549
Union116025
Leake113940
Holmes113760
Tate113639
Itawamba111325
Pearl River110559
Adams105243
Prentiss102919
Wayne99421
Alcorn96712
George95718
Covington94525
Marion93342
Tippah86521
Newton84927
Chickasaw83225
Winston82621
Tallahatchie82525
Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
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