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License reciprocity bill advances through Mississippi Legislature

Mississippi Legislature Capitol

A bill that aims to make it easier for someone to move to and work in Mississippi has cleared another hurdle in the legislative process. 

HB 1263, which has now passed the Senate, would require Mississippi to recognize occupational licenses obtained in another state as long as that individual is in good standing with that state. With a few changes made by the chamber, the legislation, authored by Rep. Becky Currie, now heads back to the House. 

According to Empower Mississippi, licensing requirements have been extended to nearly “a quarter of all jobs, including many low to mid-income professions,” and this bill could go a long way in attracting residents to the state. 

“If signed into law, Mississippi would become the first state in the south to adopt universal recognition, making it easier for professionals to move into our state and immediately begin providing services to their neighbors,” said Empower President Russ Latino. “House Bill 1263 is an important step toward making Mississippi more competitive, providing a welcoming environment for people looking to relocate, and ultimately expanding opportunity for everyone.”

Empower noted that, in recent years, studies done across the country have cast doubt on the efficacy of licensure to protect the public and have raised serious concerns that licensing stops people from finding work and dramatically increases prices for consumers.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy estimates that approximately 19% of Mississippians need a license to work compared to just 5 percent in the 1950s. The organization claims that the net result is that Mississippi has lost 13,000 jobs because of occupational licensing and the state has suffered an economic value loss of $37 million. The MCPP also pointed to data from the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index showing that Mississippi is the 41st most costly state in the Union in terms of occupational licensing costs.

If passed, the Magnolia State wouldn’t be the first to take this action after Arizona adopted similar legislation two years ago. Empower explains that more than 1,100 new Arizonans applied for and were granted a license to work in the first year and now, six other states have followed suit. Mississippi would be the first southern state to adopt such a bill. 

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