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The 2021 legislative session is moving quickly, with another important deadline yesterday. Entering the home stretch, several efforts championed by Empower remain alive across our Education, Work, and Justice initiatives.
Here are some of Empower’s remaining priorities.
Education: Empower believes that every child in Mississippi should have access to a good education that prepares them for success in life. That vision requires quality teachers that receive necessary support and freedom in the classroom.
That’s why we support Senate Bill 2267. Filed by Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, the bill reduces hurdles for qualified teachers moving into Mississippi and allows them to begin serving Mississippi children faster.
Work: Empower believes that there is dignity in work and that all Mississippians can be contributors if we remove barriers to getting a good job.
That’s why we support bills aimed at reducing regulations that make it harder for people to work, including:
- House Bill 1263, filed by Rep. Becky Currie, would allow professionals with occupational licenses in other states to more easily move into Mississippi and begin work by removing red tape that currently requires these qualified workers to jump through unnecessary hoops when relocating to Mississippi.
- House Bill 1302, filed by Rep. Jason White, allows optometrists to treat patients at the full scope of their training, providing much needed access to care for citizens.
Empower also believes that tax structure can play a huge role in creating an atmosphere for growth and prosperity. Last week, we released a detailed report documenting potential benefits of eliminating the income tax and saw the House’s passage of House Bill 1439, a bill filed by Speaker Philip Gunn, to eliminate the income tax and create a fiscal rule restricting state spending.
Justice: Empower believes we can have a justice system that protects public safety, ensures the punishment fits the crime, and provides a path to earn second chances.
That’s why we recently led a state and national coalition of conservative organizations calling for action on reforms we support, including:
- Senate Bill 2795, filed by Sen. Juan Barnett, and House Bill 525, filed by Rep. Kevin Horan, which would reform Mississippi’s parole system to give correction officials better gatekeeping tools and bring the system in line with conservative states like Texas.
- House Bill 796, filed by Rep. Nick Bain, would reform Mississippi’s habitual sentencing laws so that a non-violent third offense, such as minor drug possession, cannot result in someone going to prison for life without the possibility of parole. Bain also sponsored House Bill 551, which would allow those who are released from prison to obtain a driver’s license to drive to work, and House Bill 196, which would establish various levels of care as it pertains to pregnant women who are incarcerated.
- Senate Bill 2792, filed by Sen. John Horhn, would prevent licensing boards from using a past offense as reason to deny an occupational license if the offense is not related to the occupation.
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