STATE OPINION: Emergencies also threaten consumers during storms

By Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport

The next time Gov. Phil Bryant issues an emergency declaration, we trust he will include the wording necessary to invoke the state’s anti-price gouging statute.
We are pleased Gov. Bryant followed up his first declaration on Sunday with another one Monday that empowered Attorney General Jim Hood to protect consumers.
Now Attorney General Hood’s office can investigate reports of price gouging for the duration of the emergency. Price increases are not automatically illegal even as a hurricane approaches or after it departs. But unreasonable price hikes are against the law.
It would have been thoughtful of the Legislature to make the price-gouging statute automatically go into effect with the issuance of any emergency declaration, and perhaps that will be considered during the next session.
Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport