House Democratic Leader says the declaration should be about health, not politics.

The State of Mississippi has been under a state of emergency since Spring 2020 due to COVID-19. That designation allows the state’s chief executive certain authority to act to address the public health crisis.

On Wednesday, Speaker Philip Gunn called on Governor Tate Reeves to end the state of emergency unless there was a reason to keep it in place that he was unaware of. Gunn wrote on behalf of House members, saying, “…we call on you to declare the state of emergency over.”

Governor Reeves responded that the declaration has remained in place to ensure National Guard troops working with the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) and other agencies received payment.

<<READ MORE: Governor Reeves: State of emergency over COVID-19 in effect to ensure National Guard gets paid.>>

House Democratic Leader State Rep. Robert Johnson told Y’all Politics via text that everyone should be listening to MSDH’s State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs. 

“I defer to the State’s Chief Health Officer and I think everyone else should as well,” Rep. Johnson said. “This is not a political question; it’s a health question. So someone should ask Dr. Dobbs.”

Rep. Johnson would not say whether he agreed with the Republican Speaker’s request of the Governor.

Yet, it would appear that it is, indeed, a policy question according to MSDH.

Y’all Politics asked MSDH for their position on whether the state of emergency should be extended. MSDH would only say that they would accommodate whatever the Governor decides.

“The agency will accommodate whatever decision the Governor makes regarding this issue,” a spokesperson for MSDH replied.

According to Governor Reeves’ office, that declaration is set to expire this weekend. There has been no official word as to whether it will be extended.

No COVID-related executive orders or restrictions remain in place in Mississippi.