A box containing a new umbrella is placed on each lawmaker's seat in the House during the first day of the 2021 Mississippi Legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


Mississippi legislators have started their three-month session during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. 

The 174-member body met on Tuesday for the first time since concluding last year’s business in the fall. The 2020 session was extended several times as lawmakers worked to distribute federal money to agencies fighting the pandemic. 

A major topic this year will be how to continue to provide relief to the state during the pandemic as numbers of new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. 

Dozens of Mississippi legislators, including Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn, tested positive for the coronavirus during the summer during last year’s legislative session. Several were hospitalized. 

Hosemann said last week that he thinks the Legislature should delay handling most business until March and only handle a few pressing matters this week.

Under the current schedule, the session is supposed to end April 4.

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