Despite news last week that Mississippi Senators were discussing a possible delay to the start of the 2021 session, Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday morning that plans are to gavel in January 5, 2021 and move through the session as scheduled.

Multiple state senators were considering a possible delay to the start of the session due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19 but the Speaker of the House says he and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann are not in talks to that end.

“We are, at this point, we’re planning to start at January 5,” said Speaker Gunn who joined Paul Gallo on SuperTalk Radio.

Gunn said the state constitution mandates that the Legislature convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday and there is no flexibility with that start date unlike there is with the ability for lawmakers to extend or pause the session as was done in 2020.

“We have to show up January 5, and it is our intent to push forward and to meet,” the Speaker said.  “Now, that’s a month off and we’ll see how things look then.”

Gunn said it is likely the Legislature will have the same safety measures as implemented last session, including the encouragement to wear masks and remain socially distant, using the intercom system while members are spread out through the Capitol and using larger rooms, even the main chamber, for committee meetings, and allowing time for members to come to the chamber to cast their votes if needed.

“But the work has got to go on, and so we’re going to continue to push forward,” Gunn said.