2020 Midsession Legislative Update
Monday, June 1st, 2020
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George Floyd and Emmett Till

Emotions are running high right now after the George Floyd murder. I empathize because I am a black man from the Mississippi Delta. Like the rest of the world, I too am infuriated. Unfortunately, America has found herself at a crossroads.

It reminds me of another pivotal transition moment in history for our country. In 1955, young Emmett Till (15 year old black male) was brutally murdered in the Mississippi Delta by two white men. Although there was no footage, there was no question about who executed the murder. After a very quick deliberation, an all-white jury gave a verdict of not guilty. To make matters worse, several months later, they vividly described how they killed young Emmett Till.

How do these two incidents correlate you might ask? I’m merely making the point that for many years this country has not valued the lives of people of color. It’s never too late to start down the road of progress. However, I think America is beginning to run out of chances to correct its wrongs. I hope we can get justice for George Floyd. It would go a long way in rebuilding citizen trust.
10th Week of
Mississippi Legislative Session

I must admit, it feels odd reporting to legislative session during the summer. About this time of year in the Mississippi Delta, we are enjoying festivals, visiting blues clubs and eating good food. However, I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve the people of both Bolivar and Sunflower counties. It is my goal to help improve our state with each vote I take and each time I open my mouth.

This week, the Legislature shifted focus back to regular business after working to pass the coronavirus relief bill ( Senate Bill 2772 ) earlier this month. Before the legislative session was suspended in March, the House was just beginning to take up appropriations and other revenue bills. House Concurrent Resolution 65 , which was passed on March 17, adjusted the session deadlines to conform with the extended session. Next Wednesday, June 3, is the new deadline for original floor action on House appropriations and revenue bills. After that, House committees will begin considering bills which passed through the Senate.
The House was responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of about 50 state agencies, including the Departments of Education, Insurance, Health, Medicaid and Human Services. These bills represent half of the state’s budget; the other half is currently being considered by the Senate and will be sent to the House for consideration later in the legislative session. Budgets include reverse repealers, a clause which ensures that a bill cannot become law before going to a conference committee for further revisions. Many appropriations bills were voted on in a block to help speed up the process.

On Wednesday, House Concurrent Resolution 69 was taken up by the House. The concurrent resolution would extend the legislative session in 30-day increments as necessary beginning July 10; Dec. 31 would be the latest possible day for sine die. This would allow the Legislature to take up coronavirus-related legislation without having to rely on a special session. HCR 69 passed the House unanimously by a vote of 116-0 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Small Business Grants

Last week, Mississippi Development Authority created a unique website to distribute the $300 million for small businesses here in Mississippi. Although the portal is not yet open, here is the link to get future updates about how to apply for up to $25,000 in grant funding. As you know, I will do my best to keep you abreast via email. For those of you who are my constituents, I will text the information to you as well.

Also, The Mississippi Department of Revenue will begin issuing COVID-19 Business Relief checks starting the week of June 1st. Eligible businesses do not have to to do anything to receive these checks. For more info, please CLICK HERE !!!

I’ll keep you posted on funding in these areas so you can know how resources are distributed.
Corrections

Last week, we made an error in the below section. This is how it should have read:

Dr. Dobbs (with the Mississippi Department of Heath) said a few days ago during Governor Tate Reeves daily press conference, “the goal is to test everyone who is a resident or works at a long term care facility (27,000 people)". I am hopeful we have similar plans for the Mississippi Department of Corrections (18,000 inmates and full staff).

***As of Friday, 28 inmates and 17 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 within the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
New Census Deadline

Have you filled out your census information? It only takes 10-12 minutes of your time. Please click below for the online application. Remember, the new deadline to fill out the census is October 31st.

Covid-19 Test in the
Mississippi Delta

  Several communities in House District 29 (Bolivar and Sunflower counties) and around the Mississippi Delta have already had drive-through testing for Covid-19. They include the following: Cleveland, Mound Bayou, Indianola, Clarksdale and Greenville. Over the next two weeks, Rosedale, Gunnison, Benoit, Beulah and Pace will all individually have tests provided for its residents. Please look at the schedule below. If you have questions, please call 662-987-5023 .

Thank you to the Delta Health Center for all it has done to help coordinate tests in communities that others might have put on the back burner. On behalf of all the elected officials, constituents and front line workers, we value your commitment to the Mississippi Delta.
Joetha Collier

  On May, 25th, 1971, 18 year old Joetha Collier was shot in the neck and killed by three drunk white men - two brothers and a nephew - in her hometown of Drew, MS. Less than an hour earlier, Joetha was honored for her achievements in class and in track at her high school graduation. Ironically, her and George Floyd were gruesomely killed on the same day but different times in history. The irony....
Please text me at 662-522-1400 for additional questions or inquiries.