Hours after a federal judge ruled that the State of Mississippi's mental-health system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told reporters that he "knew this was coming."
Speaking from his office in downtown Jackson, Hood pointed to years of letters he had sent to the Mississippi Legislature, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves specifically, expressing concern about the mental-health system, as well as more than $267 million that his office had won in settlements, some of which he had urged the Legislature to allocate to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. But the Legislature did not heed his advice, he said.
"If you don't care about the people from your heart that have mental-health issues ... then you ought to care for your pocketbook, but the Legislature didn't," Hood, who is the Democratic nominee for governor this year, told reporters. "They gave (the money) away to out-of-state corporations and all these tax breaks, and so all this 267 million that I gave over there, they didn't put a dime towards mental health."
In 2016, the Legislature passed a tax-cut package that killed the franchise tax, which brought $260 million to state coffers each year from out-of-state corporations. Since the first day of his campaign, Hood has made a point of criticizing his Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Reeves, for pushing for the cuts as president of the Mississippi Senate, while leaving necessities like education, roads and bridges, and the state's mental-health system underfunded.
The Jackson Free Press left several unanswered messages with Tate Reeves' campaign for comment Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but the campaign did not respond.
U.S. District Court Carlton W. Reeves' ruling on Sept. 4 found that Mississippi's mental-health system violates federal law under Olmstead v. L.C., the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found that "states are required