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Governor mulling special session call as lawmakers reach agreement on medical marijuana

Mississippi legislature

It was announced Thursday that lawmakers have reached an agreement on a medical marijuana proposal and are ready to enact the plan if a special session is called, but the power to bring lawmakers back to the capitol resides with the governor’s office. 

Despite the agreement among legislative leadership, Governor Tate Reeves doesn’t appear ready to make the call just yet. 

“Staff from the Governor’s office and legislature met together to discuss it today, and we are looking forward to engaging further,” Reeves’ press secretary Bailey Martin said in an emailed statement. 

While medical marijuana appears to be the headliner for a potential special session, reports indicate that Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann have asked the governor’s office to expand the agenda. 

According to Mississippi Today, the leaders of the House and Senate are asking that lawmakers be allowed to spend time allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan to address the nursing shortage across the state. This shortage was highlighted in the midst of the Delta surge as Mississippi hospital beds went unfilled because facilities couldn’t staff them properly. Nearly 1,000 healthcare workers were brought in to quell the issues stemming from the shortage. 

Additionally, lawmakers are seeking to change language in existing state law to allow the families of law enforcement officers who pass away from COVID-19 to receive ‘line-of-duty’ death benefits. Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell voiced his support for such a change earlier this week. 

The final ask from the leaders, reported by Mississippi Today, is emergency funding for programs dedicated to addressing child abuse and domestic violence. 

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