/Tate Reeves threatened to veto a bill, lawmakers plan to add small business assistance and again ask for his signature

Tate Reeves threatened to veto a bill, lawmakers plan to add small business assistance and again ask for his signature

Reeves opposed the bill which ensures that $1.25 billion in federal funds for the coronavirus pandemic are appropriated by Congress and not the governor. The bill, which Reeves opposed, will be extended to take $100 million of federal funds to establish a program that helps small businesses affected by COVID-19. Reeves had threatened to veto last week, which would have prevented him from having sole spending power over federal funds. However, he gave up after it became clear that legislators would override the veto. Lt. Gov. Later, Speaker Philip Gunn and Delbert Hosemann both pledged to work together with Reeves for the appropriation of federal funds. However, they stressed that the money could only be spent if appropriated by Congress. As they continue to work on COVID-19 issues, lawmakers could vote on this proposal as soon as Thursday. Hosemann stated that other priorities for federal funding include: * Helping to cover the costs incurred in coronavirus management by counties and cities. * Supporting hospitals that have suffered the double blow of the coronavirus cost and revenue loss as other medical procedures were put on hold due to the pandemic. * Enhancing distance education for schools by exploring ways to increase broadband services in rural areas. The additional $800 million in federal funds received by state agencies, which is more than the $1.25billion allocated to the coronavirus program, has been used for other purposes. The funds were distributed to several agencies including the Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health, and education entities. They will not be appropriated for legislative purposes. If the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has received federal funds directly to cover those costs, the Legislature will not reimburse them. Gunn stated that $1.25billion could be spent quickly, if lawmakers aren’t careful. Gunn warned that while $1.25 billion may seem like a lot, if there are 11 people in the pot, it can go quickly.” This money cannot be used for tax collection losses that have occurred at both the state and local levels due to the economic slowdown. Representatives of the Mississippi Municipal League as well as the Mississippi Association of Supervisors informed legislators that they are trying to figure out how much money they spent on COVID-19. The costs range from overtime pay for law enforcement to funds in order to purchase disinfectants and other personal protection equipment. They have also spent money on technology in order to make public hearings available online during social distancing. Shari Veazey (executive director of the Municipal League) stated that although they will attempt to figure out a figure, it will be difficult. Although we know how much we spent in March, April and May, it could prove difficult to predict what the future holds. Forrest County Supervisor Chris Bowen is the president of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors. He said that there is a chance that the coronavirus could intensify again as the economy reopens. This would mean that local governments will have to spend more money. It is hard to plan for such an event, he said. Tommy Taylor, Mississippi Department of Corrections Interim commissioner, presented to the House his agency’s projected and current coronavirus expenses for hand sanitizers, gloves, masks and hazard payments through June 2021. According to documents presented to lawmakers at the meeting, the department has already incurred $2.1 million in expenses and is expected to spend $12.2 millions over the next year. Taylor stated that the state currently has 10 coronavirus-positive inmates and one death. Taylor stated that if an inmate tests positive for the coronavirus, the person is removed and quarantined. All inmates who are in the same area as the person who has tested positive are also quarantined. Most likely, legislators will resume business at the regular 2020 session on April 18. To support this work, start a recurring gift today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one.