JACKSON • The Mississippi House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to adopt a new resolution that would allow lawmakers to extend the 2020 legislative session in 30-day increments beginning on July 10. The measure would allow the lawmakers to meet throughout the end of the calendar year.
“This is at no extra cost to the taxpayer,” state Rep. Jason White, R-West, said.
By previous legislative measures, the last day of the legislative session, called sine die, was originally scheduled for July 12. Under the newly passed House measure, this date has now changed, and the latest day for the Legislature to adjourn the session is Dec. 31.
State lawmakers in March voted to temporarily suspend the session to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The lawmakers reconvened on May 18.
Gov. Tate Reeves at his daily press conference said he knew that the Legislature would be taking the measure up, but said it was the prerogative of the Legislature to decide its calendar.
“My understanding is it was said on the floor that this wasn’t going to cost taxpayers any more money, so if they’re going to work for free, then I think that’s good,” Reeves said.
The resolution passed the House by a vote of 116-0. The bill will now head to the Senate to vote on.
Typically, the governor reserves the power to decide if the Legislature needs to return to Jackson to deal with an emerging problem, and he would outline the items that need discussing.
If the Senate also adopts the resolution, this would likely eliminate the governor calling the Legislature into a special session to take a legislative item up. The resolution would also do away with any typical legislative deadlines for any bills related to COVID-19, which would allow the lawmakers to address any new matters related to the virus.