State Representative Mississippi House District 89
Serving the People of Jones County
SPECIAL COVID-19 UPDATE | MARCH 24 2020
FROM HOUSE SPEAKER PHILIP GUNN
- Commercial Drivers License. The Department of Public Safety is still issuing commercial drivers licenses. Troop C in Rankin County by the Training Academy is open for business; however, they are adhering to the 10-person limit rule. It would probably be best to call beforehand and arrange an appointment if possible.
- Tax deadline. We are glad to report that the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue has issued an order extending the deadline for the filing of state income tax until May 15. This should provide some relief to those who may be struggling financially right now.
- Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). We have been informed that many of you are having trouble getting through to MDES to file your unemployment claims. In response, we called Jackie Turner, Executive Director at MDES. She makes a very IMPORTANT POINT – Your unemployment benefits run from the time of separation from employment, not from the date you file your claim. She also indicated that MDES will extend their call center hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to accommodate the increase in phone calls. That number is 1-888-844-3577. As you can imagine, they are experiencing a high volume of phone calls, so keep trying and be patient. Likewise, their website is experiencing a high volume of requests, so online responses will be slow as well. Additionally, they are going to try to use people at WIN job centers to help process claims. Follow MDES on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for their most current updates.
- Update on number of cases. There were 71 new cases reported yesterday. Total cases statewide now number 320. There is still there is only 1 reported death. Three new counties reported cases yesterday – Choctaw, Newton, Noxubee.
- Economic concerns. We continue to try to stay informed about the economic impact this will have on our state in order to make solid financial decisions as we move into the budget portion of our session. This morning I had conversations with the state economist Dr. Darrin Webb and Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Herb Frierson in an effort to stay on top of how all this may affect our revenues. We will continue to have discussions with them so that we can be
as informed as possible as we make financial decisions for our state.
- Call if you need help. We have had phone calls to our office forwarded to our staff. If you need any help at all, please call us at 601-359-3300. We have also set up an email address for you to ask questions or seek help. That address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, March 17, the Mississippi House of Representatives suspended the legislative session until April 1 at 2 p.m., or a date mutually agreed upon by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann if necessary. This suspension is out abundance of caution for the members and staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
House Bill 730, would allow municipalities with a population of less than 2,500 residents to conduct special elections at one central polling place. If enacted into law, it would only apply to special elections.
The most heavily discussed bill this week was Senate Bill 2257. The bill will authorize the State Auditor’s office to examine tax returns of individuals who receive federal benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
House members had a busy week full of committee meetings and hearings. The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, February 17
Governor Tate Reeves delivered his first State of the State address on Monday to a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature. He spoke of his plans for education, health care and workforce development. He also announced his plan to close Unit 29 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, or Parchman. This is a response to the string of killings and other violent incidents in Mississippi prisons.
Legislators had a full schedule during the seventh week of the 2020 Legislative Session. The deadline for introducing bills was on Monday night, so the calendar quickly became full with bills and resolutions to discuss. Although most work is still happening in committees, several pieces of legislation reached the House floor.
Weeks of January 6 and 13 On January 7, 2020, the Mississippi State Legislature began the first session of the new four-year term. Per the Constitution of the State of Mississippi, the first session of every term is scheduled to last 125 days, as opposed to 90 days. This is done to accommodate inaugurations, new committee chairmanships and procedural matters like choosing parking spaces and offices. House members took the oath of office on the first day before the election of Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore.
Donnie Scoggin was named as Vice-chairman of the Universities and Colleges Committee last week in the Mississippi Legislature. Scoggin was also named to roles on the Agriculture Committee, Judiciary B, County Affairs and Public Health Committees.
Location is everything
Mississippi House District 89 Serving the People of Jones County