Skip to content
Governor Reeves on Universal...

Governor Reeves on Universal Occupational Licensing Act: “Mississippi is open for business”

By: Sarah Ulmer - June 29, 2021

Reeves highlights HB 1263, the Universal Recognition of Occupational Licensing Act in Mississippi.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves held a press conference on Tuesday to highlight the Universal Recognition of Occupational Licensing Act, a measure he says will reduce bureaucracy and red tape for businesses and be a win for the state’s economy. 

Governor Reeves was joined by the author of the bill, State Rep. Becky Currie, along with State Sen. Kevin Blackwell, President and CEO of Mississippi Center for Public Policy Douglas Carswell, and Executive Director of Accelerate MS Ryan Miller. The group discussed the economic impact HB 1263 will have on Mississippi.

The new law will allow individuals who hold occupational licensing, in good standing, in other states to move to and work in Mississippi without additional testing or licensing requirements.

Mississippi is one of the first states in the U.S. to pass legislation to allow universal licensing which Governor Reeves said falls in step with the state leading the way in pro-growth economic policies.

RELATED: Governor signs bill for universal recognition of occupational licenses

Those in favor of the law say they hope it will be a positive step forward for the state, particularly after the economic decline and labor shortage that hit businesses due to the pandemic.

“We are removing road blocks for people in Mississippi to get be able to work,” said Governor Reeves, adding, “99.999 percent of all of the conversations I’ve had with businesses in the last few months have centered around labor shortages.”

Reeves said the most common thing to see driving through communities are “Help Wanted” signs. He said companies are beginning to hire more and more people back to work since the termination of the additional pandemic federal unemployment benefits and that this licensing restriction removal will play a part in that.

The Governor added that if you are looking for a job, there is one to be had in Mississippi.

“The fact is for Mississippi to experience full economic recovery we must get our people back to work,” said Reeves.

Rep. Currie, who authored the legislation, said the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2021, and agencies have through the summer to update their rules and protocols. She said many such rules have not been changed in decades.

“We want to make sure that if you want to come to Mississippi, work here and raise your family that you are welcome and we are not going to put roadblocks or red tape up to do so,” said Currie.

MCPP has advocated for decreasing regulations on working Mississippians. Carswell said today is a great day for seeing red tape be removed.

“This change in the law is a big deal, it’s a bold deal and it lifts restrictions on our labor market,” said Carswell. “Many skilled workers that received certifications out of state will now be able to work in state.”

Ryan Miller with Accelerate MS said his organization was excited about the changes to come with the new law. His office houses the state’s program for encouraging workforce development.

“This is a wonderful day. There are lots of opportunities in Mississippi for not just jobs but careers,” said Miller. “This is also a day for us to communicate to the rest of the country that Mississippi is here and it can be your home.

You can read up on the actual legislation HERE. 

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: