JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) talked to WJTV 12 News in a one-on-one interview ahead of the 2022 Legislative session. The topics included COVID-19, teacher pay raises, and medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana plan is likely to be put into law during the regular session, with or without the governor’s blessing. Reeves recently said he will try to persuade some Republicans to stand with him if he vetoes a bill.
“Well, we’re continuing to work with the members of the Legislature. You know, the question is always asked about how do you feel about medical marijuana? We’ll, I’m 100% for medical marijuana. The question is, how do you define medical marijuana?” Reeves questioned.
He continued, “There’s some 30 states that have various versions. You have states like Oklahoma that we’re trying to avoid, and then you have states like our neighbor to the east, Alabama, which passed true medical marijuana that is regulated and is limited to only those who really need it.”
When it comes to teacher pay, a pay raise was not included in the initial budget recommendations made by legislative leaders.
“I’m a big proponent of raising teacher salaries in Mississippi. I’ve proposed $4,300 increase over the four-year period. The Legislature enacted the first $1,000 last year. I hope we can see a significant move forward with respect to that,” said Reeves.
When it comes to COVID-19, Mississippi has experienced a rapid rise in the number of cases due to the omicron variant. WJTV 12 News asked to governor about how he plans to handle the rise in cases.
“We’re monitoring the hospital situation very closely. We had less than 200 Mississippians in the hospital two and a half weeks ago. We got well over 500 today, and those numbers are going up. And so, we think the next couple of weeks could be challenging, and we’re working closely to monitor that,” said Reeves. “And should we take action, we will. We’re not going to have mandates. We’re not going to have to shut down businesses. We’re not going to do those things, but we are going to monitor and make sure we protect the integrity of our health care system.”
You can watch the full interview in the video player above. The Associated Press contributed to this report.