The Mississippi Legislature will return to Jackson tomorrow (Friday) at 1 p.m. to take up legislation addressing CARES Act funding, two weeks earlier than their anticipated return on May 18.
House and Senate leaders will hold a press conference in the Capitol tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Gov. Reeves has maintained that he should have sole authority to determine how Mississippi’s $1.25-billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding is spent, and he has hand-picked a group of private citizens – a group that is not subject to public oversight – to advise him on those expenditures.
As public education advocates, we have seen how important it is to have funds appropriated through an open process that is subject to public scrutiny and accountability. That is why our state constitution gives appropriation authority to the Legislature, to the men and women we elect to represent us – those who understand the unique needs of our communities, of our local school districts, of the small businesses that populate our downtowns, and of the individuals who are our neighbors.
The Parents’ Campaign supports the actions taken by Lieutenant Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn to affirm the appropriations authority of the Legislature and to protect the rights of Mississippians to have input into and oversight of the way the CARES Act funds are spent.
Our children’s futures are at stake. Mississippi students have missed out on a significant portion of the learning they were to achieve this year. It is critical that they are given the resources required for them to make up that lost learning time. Our Legislature must take action to level the playing field – to ensure that all teachers and children in every single school district have the resources necessary to continue teaching and learning should another coronavirus wave arise in the fall.
The Legislature is expected to adjourn after passing only CARES Act-related legislation and to return closer to the originally-scheduled May 18 date to take up bills left pending when lawmakers left town mid-session due to the coronavirus.
As always, we will be watching. We hope you will be, too. Watch the livestream of floor action here.
Because the stakes are so high, we must remain vigilant – not just now, but throughout the months ahead – in holding state leaders accountable for the decisions they make regarding all federal and state funds. We are committed to doing just that. Will you join us? Your voice will make us stronger, and together, we’ve got this!