Rescue act

Mississippi Senate Bills Propose Allocation of US Bailout Funds to Agencies and Departments | Mississippi Politics and Current Affairs

Submitted bills provide funds to the Department of Child Protective Services, MEMA, the National Guard, and the Department of Mental Health.

Following fall meetings of the Mississippi Senate ARPA subcommittee, legislation was tabled regarding the suggested allocation of the $1.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds sent to the state by the federal government.

The ARPA subcommittee held a handful of meetings to hear from a variety of presenters as they considered recommendations on how to spend the money. State departments, outside organizations and public institutions presented their funding plans, if received, and highlighted successes and challenges during the pandemic.

The following invoices have been submitted regarding the distribution of ARPA funds. They were tabled by Senate Appropriations Chairman Briggs Hopson and supported by ARPA Subcommittee Chairman John Polk:

  • SB 2862, would allocate $59.1 million to the Department of Child Protective Services.
  • SB 2863, would allocate $3.17 million to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
  • SB 2864, would award nearly $10,391,000 to the Mississippi National Guard.
  • SB 2865, would allocate $86,069,500 to the Department of Mental Health and $18,550,000 to the Department of Mental Health for use in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs).

Other bills associated with the allocation of ARPA funds will no doubt also be considered in the coming weeks.

Funding allocated to the Department of Child Protective Services through Senate Bill 2862 would provide improved services to families involved in child protection and benefit youth who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Through SB 2863, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency may use the funds, “for the purpose of covering eligible expenses related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as permitted by section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) or any guidance or regulation issued by the United States Department of Treasury pursuant thereto.”

Funds allocated under SB 2864 would be used to complete capital projects at Mississippi National Guard buildings and grounds that are authorized by ARPA, federal guidelines, or other regulations.

Capital projects include: projects eligible under the State’s Clean Water Revolving Fund (CWSRF) or the State’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWSRF) of the Environmental Protection Agency. the environment ; stormwater management projects that have a water quality benefit; prevention, mitigation or other services in collective residences and other key locations; improved ventilation in gathering places; capital investments in public facilities to implement COVID-19 mitigation tactics; and any other ARPA-eligible project, excluding broadband infrastructure.

The $86,069,500 allocated to the Department of Mental Health would be for behavioral and mental health needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, other public health impacts and other operational expenses. .

In addition to the $86 million, Section 2 of SB 2865 provides $18,550,000 to the Department of Mental Health for use in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) or for the benefit of CMHC to enable investments in software, databases, telemedicine capabilities and other computing resources that address behavioral and mental health needs exacerbated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, responding to other public health impacts and other operational expenses.

The federal government has provided guidelines on where each state can spend the funds. The Treasury Department has previously said that state and local governments can use federal money for public health issues and for economic issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected workers, households, small businesses. business, industry and government.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann previously said overseeing spending of the $1.8 billion in ARPA funds would be one of the biggest challenges in Mississippi’s 2022 legislative session. Hosemann has repeatedly said that the state should use the funds to focus on “transformational and generational” improvements.

“With challenges always come great opportunities and responsibilities,” Hosemann said in a press release. “There will be many proposals to use one-time money on transitory items. I hope, however, that we will stay organized and focused on generational change. Years from now, we want to be able to highlight the positive difference that this influx of resources has brought to our state.”

You can read the full versions of ARP Funds Bills here: SB 2862, SB 2863, SB 2864, and SB 2865.