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Just like that, we are at the end of 2021, and what a year it was…

At Empower, we are getting ready for a new legislative session just around the corner, but before we close the chapter on this year, I want to reflect on the impact your support made possible.

This year, we took significant steps in helping all Mississippians rise by removing barriers to opportunity.

Empower President Russ Latino testifies before a special legislative hearing on income tax repeal.
  • We worked alongside legislative leaders to make the case for income tax repeal in Mississippi. This included a comprehensive report authored by a Ph. D. economist that provides dynamic modeling on eliminating the income tax with policy recommendations for lawmakers.
  • Mississippi became the first state in the South to adopt universal licensing recognition with House Bill 1263. This means that when a licensed professional moves to Mississippi they will not have to jump through government red tape to begin working. Simultaneously, the legislature passed similar legislation specifically for teachers moving to Mississippi.
We were proud to join Gov. Reeves at the signing of HB 1263. 
  • The legislature also made it easier to work in a number of professions in the cosmetology field. This includes eyebrow threaders, makeup artists, and those that apply eyelash extensions. These are safe practices that do not involve cutting, coloring, or chemically treating hair, but previously required a license that cost time and money for training that often wasn’t related to the actual work.
  • Full practice authority for optometrist became law last year and we took an important first step toward nurse practitioners full practice authority.
  • The legislature took courageous steps to address Mississippi’s prison system. In June, Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law major parole reform that puts public safety first while providing second chance opportunities to rehabilitated individuals who have earned them.
Michael Moore shared his story after he was the first person to be paroled under reforms adopted earlier this year. 
  • Other reforms to the justice system included recognizing the dignity of incarcerated pregnant women and ensuring they have the same standard of medical care that a woman outside of prison might expect and providing a driver’s license to someone as they are released so that they can get out and find a job.

Each of these reforms will have a real human impact. It’s not just about policy. It’s about people. is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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