June 30, 2004

Statement From Governor Haley Barbour: DHS

I have issued an Executive Order, effective at midnight tonight, to keep available the crucial services provided by the Department of Human Services and its 3,400 employees to nearly one-fourth of our state’s population. DHS will operate under Executive Order as long as necessary. DHS employees should report to work as usual tomorrow. I cannot in good conscience allow DHS to close and have 650,000 people be at risk.

Today’s refusal by the majority in the House of Representatives to join the Senate and simply reauthorize the Department of Human Services jeopardizes of our state’s neediest and most vulnerable citizens. It is inconceivable to me that Representatives would knowingly vote to cut off the benefits all those people rely on, because they are mad about another, totally separate issue. This is not about politics. It’s about 650,000 people’s lives

Recently Attorney General Jim Hood issued an opinion that the Governor cannot run DHS by Executive Order, even though it has been done in the past. I have talked to Jim Hood today and he has told me he will seek a court order to support and confirm the solution I have just announced.

On Monday I delayed the implementation of Medicaid reform to make sure 47,000 Mississippians get their health care benefits in full and on time. You can be assured I’m not going to let 650,000 needy, vulnerable people get cut off at Human Services.


 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741
         

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