Lawmakers have been told to be prepared to possibly work into the weekend once they reconvene on Thursday at 1pm, but most everyone under the Capitol Dome and those back home in their districts seem to be in the dark about what exactly will be contemplated.

While no draft legislation has been made publicly available, nor have any such bills been confirmed by House or Senate leadership, Y’all Politics has learned from members that the Legislature is likely to take up an Appropriations bill and possibly a Finance or Ways and Means bill over the next few days to address the COVID-19 emergency.

As has been noted previously by leadership, conference calls between legislative leaders and its members are ongoing as they prepare to head back to the Capitol.

It remains unclear as to what the legislation will address other than what was referenced in the Tuesday press release issued by Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn.  In that release, the two stated that legislative leadership is working together on a plan to help small businesses across the State that are struggling amid COVID-19, adding, “Legislation establishing the program will set parameters and allocate funds to a State agency to administer.”

Speaker Gunn told Paul Gallo on SuperTalk Radio Wednesday morning that it was his intention to ask the body to explore areas of need resulting from the pandemic and bring them to the attention of the House so they can be addressed.

Speaker Gunn on The Gallo Show

We're talking about the latest developments in the battle over the #CARESAct funds with Speaker of the House Philip Gunn

Posted by SuperTalk Mississippi on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

One item that is worth watching is whether Governor Tate Reeves will veto SB 2772 that moved $1.25 billion appropriated to the State of Mississippi in the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, effectively stripping the Governor of his ability to spend the funds during the pandemic and setting the Legislature as the body to decide where the emergency funds should be spent.  The measure passed the House unanimously on Friday before receiving nearly a similar vote in the Senate, as only State Senators Chris McDaniel and Melanie Sojourner voted in opposition.

Thursday is the deadline for the veto, if Governor Reeves so chooses to act in that manner.  Presumably, the Legislature would be in session to consider that action should the bill make its way back to them.

Nancy Loome, lobbyist for The Parents Campaign, sent a release to her membership today calling for the Legislature to override a potential veto by Governor Reeves.

“SB 2772 ensures that these funds go through an appropriations process that is open to the public and allows us to have a voice in the use of our tax dollars,” Loome wrote, adding, “Last fall, you elected the most pro-public school Legislature we have seen in years. It is more important than ever that their ability to act on our behalf is not diminished… These are scary times for all of us. They will be much more frightening if our right to an open and accountable government is taken from us.”

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, a longtime Democrat lawmaker, also appeared on Gallo’s radio show Wednesday morning.

Flaggs said in his years in the Legislature this was never an issue, noting that the Governor was allowed to manage the emergency and the Legislature held him accountable.  He sided with Governor Reeves’ position on the matter but said if he were the Governor he would not veto the bill; he would instead let it become law and file a lawsuit to have the courts decide the constitutionality of the issue.

Mayor Flaggs Pleads With The State Legislature & Governor's Office To Work Together

"…I'm BEGGING them to put this behind us…" Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. pleads with the State Legislature and Governor's office to work together to avoid Mississippi counties, cities, and towns from going bankrupt.FULL INTERVIEW:

Posted by SuperTalk Mississippi on Wednesday, May 6, 2020