JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi senators are taking the first steps toward spending some of the $1.8 billion the state is receiving from the federal government for pandemic relief.
Senators passed bills Monday to put $104.6 million into the state Department of Mental Health, $59.1 million into the Department of Child Protection Services, $10.4 million into the Mississippi National Guard and $3.2 million into the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
The bills will move to the House for more work. Other bills are expected to come up for debate during the next several weeks.
A Senate committee held hearings in the fall to consider wish lists from a long list of state agencies. Republican Sen. John Polk of Hattiesburg said they requested $8.3 billion — more than four times the amount available.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Briggs Hopson, a Republican from Vicksburg, said Monday that legislative leaders want “generational, transformational” projects from money the state is receiving.