Earlier this week, we remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial Day is such a somber reminder of all military who died fighting for our Country. I hope you spent time with your family but also took time to remember those who we lost and thank those still living for their service. We can never repay those who gave their life but we must always remember them and be thankful for them.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Legislature reconvened. We are resuming work on general bills and the budget for the State of Mississippi.

The health and safety of all Mississippians continues to be one of my top priorities along with the economic health of our state. Mississippi continues to work through the re-opening phases as Mississippi begins to get back to work.

Across the state, our churches are able to resume in-person services. Governor Reeves announced a series of social-distancing and cleaning guidelines that will allow churchgoers to attend in-person services again over the coming weeks. Reeves instructed church to have a more strict regiment of deep cleaning, including frequent sanitization of restrooms, doorknobs, counters, microphones and seats. He encouraged vulnerable congregants to delay their return or for churches to offer a separate service for them. He also suggested instead of choirs and soloists, use small ensembles that are at least six feet apart as choirs have been known to rapidly spread the virus due to their heavy breathing and close proximity to others.

Last week, Governor Reeves signed into law the $300 million in small business assistance. The Legislature will continue to work on COVID-19 related legislation as we work to get our state back to work and get the economy restarted. To all of our business owners – I am here for you.

I continue to hear complaints about the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, specifically as it relates to filing for unemployment. If you are eligible for unemployment, your claim will be back-dated to when the unemployment occurred, NOT when you get through to MDES. If you are having trouble getting through via phone, you may email CV19@mdes.ms.gov or contact your local WIN Job Center for assistance at tupelojobcenter@mdes.ms.gov. MDES has also developed a Frequently Asked Question section on their website and can be found here: https://mdes.ms.gov/unemployment-claims/covid19/. If you are still unable to get a response, email covid19questions@house.ms.gov and we will reach out to MDES on your behalf.

While much of Mississippi is re-opening, I still want to remind you to practice strict social distancing, standing at least 6 feet away from others, when you are in stores, etc.; minimize your time inside any public places; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and be sure to clean the front, back, wrists, between fingers and under your finger nails; dry your hands using a clean towel or paper towel; wear a mask to protect yourself and others; and wipe down any surfaces you may touch with disinfect wipes before touching.

Please contact me if I can help you or if you have a question/comments. I’m using my Facebook page to post regular updates. You may email me at jsteverson@house.ms.gov, call me at 662.837.0194 or message me on Twitter and Facebook. I thank you for allowing me the honor to represent you in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Jody Steverson (R-Ripley) is State Representative for House District 4, representing Tippah and Alcorn counties. Representative Steverson serves as Vice Chairman of Ways & Means, Secretary of Public Utilities, and a member of the Insurance, Transportation, University & Colleges, Local & Private and Municipalities committees for the 2020-2023 term.

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