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*Sue Note:  If you enjoy keeping up with what is happening in the Legislature, Russ Latino covers interesting subjects.

The Front Porch

by Russ Latino

How many words are in Mississippi’s regulatory code? Let me put it this way, it’s the equivalent of reading Mississippi literary giant William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” 157 times over. Faulkner’s seminal work is easier to understand, too.

Unfortunately, the 118,000 regulatory requirements on Mississippi’s books are more than an empty word count. We have data to show that regulations have led to more people living in poverty, greater income inequality, fewer businesses, less jobs, and higher prices for consumers in Mississippi.

Fortunately, many leaders in Mississippi are working to reduce the burden. This includes Secretary of State Michael Watson, who last week launched the “29 by 29” initiative as part of his effort to Tackle the Tape. The goal is a substantive review of existing regulations for each of the state’s 29 occupational licensing boards under the purview of the Occupational Licensing Review Commission. We were proud to stand beside Secretary Watson, members of the legislature, and coalition partners in support and I was honored to be able to share at the press conference the important work Empower has and will continue to do to make Mississippi the most job friendly state in the nation.

One of the ways we are attempting to help is by rolling up our sleeves and digging in the weeds to make practical suggestions for change to lawmakers, instead of offering empty platitudes. We recently collaborated with scholars from the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at West Virginia University to release a report that examines the burden created by Mississippi’s occupational regulations, how they impact entrepreneurs, consumers, and the larger economy, and potential reforms that could reduce the burden.

The Mississippi legislature has also been addressing these issues for several years. And this year is no different. One of those issues is full practice authority for nurse practitioners. Roughly half the states provide full practice authority, and we have years of research showing how this helps expand health care access and reduce costs. I will offer testimony at a Senate hearing in support of nurse practitioners this afternoon, and we are hopeful the measure will become law this year.

In addition, there are a number of other bills we are supporting that will encourage innovation and job growth, including:

  • Senate Bill 2162, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, would require five state agencies to begin a regulatory reduction program over the next three years. It would also prohibit each pilot agency from adopting a new regulation unless they eliminate two or more.
  • House Bill 917, sponsored by Rep. Jansen Owen, and Senate Bill 2630, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Sparks, prohibits local governments from restricting home-based occupations.
  • House Bill 447, sponsored by Rep. Becky Currie, would clarify that licensing boards must issue a license to a license-holder from another state who moves to Mississippi.
  • Senate Bill 2025, sponsored by Blackwell, would prohibit local governments from requiring a license or permit for occasional businesses run by a minor. This is essentially The Lemonade Stand Bill.
  • House Bill 1355, sponsored by Rep. Tracey Rosebud, would authorize licensed barbers to operate mobile barbershops in the state.
  • House Bill 814, sponsored by Rep. Shanda Yates, would expand cottage food operations in Mississippi by repealing the prohibition on internet sales. is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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