Bills that would allow the Occupational Licensing Review Commission to review existing regulations are moving in both chambers.
Mississippi’s Occupational Licensing Review Commission, adopted in 2016, is a positive step toward scaling back the regulatory arm of the state, but is limited to new regulations only. This would give the Commission – which is made up of the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state – the ability to review existing regulations and to act upon it if it does not:
- Increase economic opportunities for all of its citizens by promoting competition and thereby encouraging innovation and job growth.
- Use the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers from present, significant and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety.
Today, Mississippi has more than 117,000 regulations, which numerous empirical studies show to have a detrimental effect on economic growth. Mississippi also licenses 66 low-and-middle income occupations. According to a recent report from the Institute for Justice, Mississippi has lost 13,000 jobs because of occupational licensing and the state has suffered an economic value loss of $37 million.
Senate Bill 2790, authored by Sen. John Polk, would give the OLRC the ability to review the substance of any regulation cleared the Senate and is on the calendar in the House. A similar bill, House Bill 1104, authored by Rep. Jerry Turner, has now passed the Senate, after clearing the House earlier in the session. That bill originally only gave the OLRC the ability to look at regulations adopted since 2012, but the Senate changed the language to allow the Commission to review any regulations.
It will be returned to the House for concurrence or conference, where the two chambers would hash out differences before agreeing to a final bill.
This is a good step, but more needs to be done to rein in Mississippi’s regulatory burden. This includes:
- Prevent growth in the Mississippi Administrative Code by requiring two regulations be removed for every new regulation proposed.
- Require a review of all regulations once they have been on the books for a certain number of years and a process for the agencies to justify the necessity of each regulation. If the regulation does not pass the review process, it is automatically retired from the code.
- Create a pilot program where agencies are required to eliminate a certain percentage of regulations.