Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is pushing back against accusations that his leadership helped set the conditions for Mississippi's mental-health crisis. After a federal judge ruled last week that the State is violating the civil rights of people with mental illnesses, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood produced letters dating back to 2013 in which he warned members of the Legislature, including Reeves, that a lawsuit was likely unless they did more to shore up its mental-health system.
On Monday, though, Reeves suggested that the fallout over the mental-health trial is not a real issue and that Hood is making things up.
"I understand that he has convinced y'all not to focus on the issues—either you want to focus on process and you want to focus on everything else—but the reality is we're going to continue to focus on the issues that are important to Mississippi," Reeves told WJTV, before turning around from the cameras and walking away without expounding on what those issues might be.
"(A) repeated follow-up question on whether or not the state's mental-health situation is an issue went unanswered," WJTV's Gerald Harris reported about Reeves.
Hood is the Democratic nominee for governor this year; Reeves is the Republican nominee and serves as the president of the Senate in his current role with the ability to greenlight or block legislation.
Hood: 'Tate Reeves Has His Head Buried in the Sand'
At his post-ruling press conference last week, Hood pointed out that he had asked Reeves to use some of the more than $267 million that his office had won in settlements to better fund the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, but that the Legislature, where Reeves serves as president of the Senate, ignored his advice. In the time since, the Legislature cut corporate taxes and also cut hundreds of hospital beds and jobs in