It has been nearly six months since Gov. Tate Reeves began regulating every detail of how we shop, eat, and socialize. It hasn’t ended. The nanny state is still going strong. The current executive order is set to expire Aug. 31.
To be more specific, here are a few areas where our lives are now regulated from the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson.
First, if you have an immediate family member or close relative in the hospital, you aren’t allowed to visit him or her. I’ve heard countless stories of people dying alone at hospitals and long-term care facilities. This no visitation policy is inhumane. The emotional and psychological damage that is being done to our communities is unfathomable. The governor should request that hospitals and long-term care facilities invest in rapid testing kits that would allow immediate family members to be tested and visit their family member on the same day.
The second area of burdensome regulations relates to business capacity limits set by the governor. Many businesses are operating under a 50% capacity limit. In many cases, this cuts a business’s profits in half, which means more unemployed Mississippians. On the contrary, recent marches in various cities across Mississippi over the tragic death of George Floyd drew thousands of people. I don’t recall the governor limiting these gatherings by 50%. If we want to see our economy recover, then we’re going to have to allow businesses to increase capacity.
Lastly, Reeves says in his latest FAQ document relating to his executive order that while he hasn’t prevented churches from gathering, “he has strongly encouraged houses of worship to consider holding virtual services to help limit the transmission of COVID-19.” While this isn’t a mandate, I don’t think it is within the governor’s purview to recommend churches remain closed to in-person services.
As with other illnesses, the coronavirus will likely be around for a long time. That means that if the governor doesn’t make the decision to end the edicts Sept. 1, he will be able to justify them for months and years to come.
Is this the Mississippi we want?
The executive branch wasn’t designed to set long-term policy for the entire state. That is the job of the legislative branch.
While many citizens may agree with the orders from the governor, what happens when you don’t agree with them? By governors or even the president simply declaring an issue a “public health emergency,” it immediately gives them a wide range of authority that was intended for short-term use. If this long-term use and abuse of executive authority isn’t intercepted now, then we very well could see ourselves being governed by various kings in each state capital across the country.
Regardless of political viewpoint or ideology, I believe it is in the best interest of Mississippians for the governor to cease issuing burdensome executive orders. If the governor still believes there is a need for long-term policies to address the coronavirus, then he should ask the legislative branch to intervene and set policy for the months and years to come. This would put power back into the hands of the people … where it belongs.
Editor's note: The time period in the first paragraph has been updated.