1. Commercial Drivers License. The Department of Public Safety is still issuing commercial drivers licenses. Troop C in Rankin County by the Training Academy is open for business; however, they are adhering to the 10-person limit rule. It would probably be best to call beforehand and arrange an appointment if possible.
2. Tax deadline. We are glad to report that the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue has issued an order extending the deadline for the filing of state income tax until May 15. This should provide some relief to those who may be struggling financially right now.
3. Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). We have been informed that many of you are having trouble getting through to MDES to file your unemployment claims. In response, we called Jackie Turner, Executive Director at MDES. She makes a very IMPORTANT POINT – Your unemployment benefits run from the time of separation from employment, not from the date you file your claim. She also indicated that MDES will extend their call center hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to accommodate the increase in phone calls. That number is 1-888-844-3577. As you can imagine, they are experiencing a high volume of phone calls, so keep trying and be patient. Likewise, their website is experiencing a high volume of requests, so online responses will be slow as well. Additionally, they are going to try to use people at WIN job centers to help process claims. Follow MDES on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for their most current updates.
4. Update on number of cases. There were 71 new cases reported yesterday. Total cases statewide now number 320. There is still there is only 1 reported death. Three new counties reported cases yesterday – Choctaw, Newton, Noxubee.
5. Economic concerns. We continue to try to stay informed about the economic impact this will have on our state in order to make solid financial decisions as we move into the budget portion of our session. This morning I had conversations with the state economist Dr. Darrin Webb and Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Herb Frierson in an effort to stay on top of how all this may affect our revenues. We will continue to have discussions with them so that we can be as informed as possible as we make financial decisions for our state.