COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Halts 2020 Mississippi Legislative Session

March 17, 2020

Following advice from Mississippi’s State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the Legislature decided Tuesday morning to suspend the 2020 legislative session indefinitely. The session and all deadlines will pause and then pick back up exactly where they left off when they return. Neither Lt. Governor Hosemann nor Speaker Gunn gave an exact date they plan to resume the session, but said that they would be following the advice of Dr. Dobbs.

Before the House adjourned Tuesday, they suspended the rules and passed a bill that would attempt to ease some of the economic burden to Mississippians during this uncertain time.  House Bill 1647 will allow for local governmental entities and school districts to grant administrative leave with pay during state declared emergencies. This is already in statute for state employees. While this provides no relief for small businesses who will be most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, it will dampen the negative economic impact as a whole in Mississippi. HB 1647 passed the House 119-2. The Senate will convene Wednesday morning, likely pass it as well and send it on the Governor.

Federal Government Proposes Relief Measures

At the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a relief package to address the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. While some of the provisions may provide some relief, MMA is concerned that the impacts of mandatory paid sick/family leave time will be too heavy a burden for our members who face such extraordinary circumstances. At this point, tax credits and payroll tax suspensions will not provide the level of relief needed for businesses that are trying to maintain operations while dealing with increasing costs and dwindling demand. 

It does appear likely that the Senate will offer a counter proposal in the coming hours/days. We will continue to work with our congressional delegation and the National Association of Manufacturers to ensure that manufacturer’s needs are being addressed. With the uncertain timeframe on this disaster, there could very likely be multiple rounds of relief packages discussed over the coming months.

Creating a Safe Work Environment

MMA is working with state leaders and public health officials to ensure that proper precautions are being taken in the workplace. With a complicated and diverse sector such as manufacturing, there will likely be no one-size-fits-all approach, but we are working on solutions for companies to properly protect their workforce and customers. We will be communicating all relevant recommendations from state and local officials to you via email, as well as our social media platforms.

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