by Calvin Ishee

Wednesday during Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves recurring COVID 19 briefing, when asked why the Governor had not already appointed three people to the Mississippi Flag Commission and about their absence at the initial meeting of the commission, the Governor went on a diatribe about the commission itself.  First Governor Reeves retorted “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a bit tied up. We’ve got serious hospital capacity issues going on throughout the State, people dying every single day, we will make our appointments when we choose to make those appointments.”

Governor Reeves went on to say that Mississippi has a constitution and in that constitution, “we have a separation of powers”.  He added that nowhere in the Mississippi constitution will you find the legislative branch given the authority to call and hold a meeting of the executive branch. Furthermore he said that also not found in the constitution was legislative authority to make appointments. He followed up by saying that in the last seven months “some legislators are trying to expand their power and control”.

He concluded by saying, “we will make those appointments as soon as we can, but I do worry about the Constitutionality of certain legislative leaders making appointments to executive agency positions because it’s unconstitutional and if you don’t believe me, go read the Alain case from 1983.  There are limits on legislative authority and I think that’s important for us to note.”  His current priority and commitment is to fighting COVID 19 and the safety of all Mississippians. The case that the Governor was referring to is Alexander v. State, 441 So.2d 1329, 1343-45 (Miss. 1983), commonly referred to as the Allain case as Bill Allain was the Attorney General at the time the case was filed.

On the COVID 19 front the war is ongoing with no end in sight. Due to the record number of reported COVID 19 cases the Governor and his team are evaluating ways to effectively deal with this virus. Compulsory requirements for wearing protective masks has increased to 23 counties, ours, Harrison County is one of them. Governor Reeves stated that “if every Mississippian does their part by wearing masks, social distancing and staying home as much as we can, we can help prevent the spread” of this virus.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi State Department of Public Health passionately made a plea for citizens to do their basic civil duty to support the Governors mandates and recommendations. He commented, “People don’t need to be socializing. We need composure and discipline. Behave sensibly and you don’t have to panic”.  Specifically mentioned was avoiding anywhere that involves large numbers of people such as funerals, large parties, sports events, etc.

Also of note was Reeves comment that “nothing is off the table”.  Currently under review is the limitation on elective surgeries as well the closing of bars. When asked specifically about bar closures, Reeves said that he would make a decision by the end of the week.