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Hosemann creates labor force study group; reinstitutes task force for women, children, and families

Photo courtesy of Delbert Hosemann

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann has created a new legislative task force while reinstituting an existing one to address Mississippi’s workforce and explore solutions for women, children, and families in the state.

In what the GOP lawmaker says should be the state’s top priority, legislators in the newly-authorized Labor Force Participation Study Group will explore how to bring Mississippi up to par with the rest of the nation when it comes to building an active workforce.

While the state has boasted recent record-low unemployment rates, Mississippi’s labor force participation rate in April was 53.7% — 9% below the national average of 62.7% — and has consistently been trending downward since 2022. The task force will be responsible for addressing this drop-off in the state’s workforce and training the unemployed and underemployed for skilled jobs.

Republican Senator Daniel Sparks will chair the task force. Lawmakers serving alongside Sparks include Republicans Jason Barrett, Lydia Chassaniol, Dennis DeBar, Scott DeLano, Joey Fillingane, Tyler McCaughn, David Parker, Mike Thompson, and Bart Williams along with Democrats Sollie Norwood, Derrick Simmons, and Sarita Simmons.

The Women, Children, and Families Study Group, which was created by Hosemann in 2022, serves to address and meet the needs of Mississippians in a “post-Dobbs” era. The task force previously heard from state agencies and others related to easing adoption and foster care, supporting children who are under the care of the state, maximizing child support, addressing the lack of childcare, and early intervention.

The reinstituted group will hear feedback on legislation previously enacted while focusing on new issues facing families and young children in Mississippi.

Hoseman has tabbed Republican Senator Nicole Akins-Boyd as the task force chair. Lawmakers serving alongside Akins-Boyd include Republicans Kevin Blackwell, Jeremy England, Dean Kirby, Angela Hill, Chad McMahan, Robin Robinson, and Brice Wiggins along with Democrats Hob Bryan, Rod Hickman, and Angela Turner-Ford.

“It is the legislature’s job to examine how our state laws and appropriations help or hinder Mississippi’s opportunities for positive growth and prosperity,” Hosemann said. “Both of these topics have tremendous potential to move the needle in terms of economic development, tourism, health outcomes, educational attainment, and other major factors that determine our future trajectory as a state and in our communities.”

Both study groups will hold public hearings in late summer or early fall and hear testimony from state agencies and experts. The public is invited to provide input to both committees at LaborStudyGroup@senate.ms.gov and WCFStudyGroup@senate.ms.gov.

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