This budget bill has brought the 2020 session back to Jackson a little earlier than expected to make an amendment changing the authority of who can spend the CARES Act funding from the Governor to the Legislature.
The day started with Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn holding a press conference to explain the reasoning as to why they would like the change and what the main focus of gaveling in both chambers today would be.
“We are here to take up one thing, that’s to talk about the CARES funding,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said.
Hosemann wants to make sure the funds go where they need to, making an emphasis on the unemployment problems people are running into not getting their money.
“That is where the immediacy is, people are applying for unemployment and not getting their money. They need money, they need to put food on the table,” Hosemann said. “We need to focus on that, not reimbursing places that will get their money.”
Speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, especially wants the change because the legislature is the “voice of the people.” Gunn says, “The people of Mississippi voted for their Senators and Representatives, they rely on them to voice their concerns.”
Both chambers, the House and the Senate gaveled in at 1PM today. The bill was brought to the floor in the house and was unanimously passed with a 112-0 vote and immediately released to the Senate for concurrence or nonconcurrence.
The bill was argued in the Senate. Senator Chris McDaniel brought up his concern that the bill was moving through the process too fast. Senator John Horhn was concerned on where all the funding would be going.
Senator Melanie Sojourner also questioned if they were moving to fast on making the decision of changing the authority. She claimed to have several Emergency Management Directors call her not wanting it to be taken from the Governor.
While the bill passed unanimously in the House, it was passed in the Senate as well but with 2 no votes. These votes were Senator McDaniel and Senator Sojourner. Senator Horhn voted “present.”
The bill will now go to the Governors desk where he will either approve or veto it.
The House and Senate are adjourned until May 18th, 2020.