1/5/21 - COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Changes | Legislative Preview
State leaders move to make the coronavirus vaccine more accessible to older residents as COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations continue to soar.
Plus, on the opening day of the new legislative session, we preview the major issues like teacher salaries and the state income tax with our analysts.
State leaders in Mississippi are deviating from CDC recommendations to make the coronavirus vaccine more accessible to the state's older residents. Governor Tate Reeves says the state and the nation is beyond the point of using the hand of government to restrict individuals, and should focus its efforts on vaccine distribution. During a press briefing yesterday, Reeves indicated getting vaccine to the most in need is the best way to prevent hospital strain and death. Mississippi, like much of the nation, is experiencing a slower roll-out of the vaccine than originally anticipated. Reeves suggests this is a result of navigating CDC guidelines, and is expanding initial vaccine eligibility to older residents.
The amended vaccine distribution plan comes as the state experiences its highest levels of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and ICU occupancy. State Health Officer Dr. Dobbs fears another surge is imminent following the holiday season.
With transmission of the coronavirus at an alarming rate, lawmakers are considering how to approach business this session. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann has been publicly vocal about suspending the majority of the session until March 1st. House leadership has not shown signs of being receptive to the idea. Austin Barbour is a Republican strategist. Brandon Jones is a former Democratic legislator. They share their analysis on the upcoming session and the issues on the table. Barbour begins by suggesting the recent death of a former lawmaker may influence how leadership considers how it conducts business.
As lawmakers return to the state capital for the new legislative session today, they will be doing so following a year in which a number of state agencies were rocked by scandals. We continue our preview by examining lawmakers' role in oversight, and what issues our analysts believe should receive top priority.