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Speaker Gunn plans to move forward with session without delay

Mississippi Legislature Capitol

The 2021 legislative session in Mississippi appears to be on track to begin as scheduled, according to Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. 

While Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann floated the idea of a possible delay after lawmakers gavel in Tuesday at noon, Speaker Gunn said this morning, after conversations with House members and Senators, that the plan is to “move forward” with the session. Much like everything else last year, the 2020 session was heavily disrupted by the pandemic, causing lawmakers to work into October before officially wrapping things up. 

As we enter 2021, Gunn stated that lawmakers need to get back to work. 

“The work of the people needs to be done. Our people are struggling, they are enduring the pandemic and there are a lot of things that need to be tended to…Secondly, I just don’t think it’s good for us to allow schools to open and people to go back to work and claim that we can’t do the work too,” he said.

The speaker noted that State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has not advised lawmakers to delay the session before outlining the protocols that will be in place at the capitol. In addition to social distancing between members and mask-wearing, this includes the suspension of the page program, tours, and other special events being held in the building. During the summer months of the previous year, a COVID-19 outbreak within the capitol led to the hospitalization of several legislators. 

In terms of what to expect this session, Speaker Gunn expressed that lawmakers will continue conversations around the possible elimination of the states’ income tax, but reiterated that it could be a lengthy process. Speaker Gunn’s main focus heading into this year’s session is “conservative spending” and “making sure we have a good budget.”

Recently, Lt. Governor Hosemann gave some insight into his priorities ahead of the beginning of the session which included a teacher pay raise, the possibility of reorganizing the state’s business incentives, the creation of a new agency for tourism and the continued buildout of broadband in Mississippi. 

Both the House and Senate will gavel in for the beginning of the session tomorrow at noon.

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