Innovation is one of the greatest keys to prosperity, but state regulations are not always friendly to new ideas. In many states, entrepreneurs must climb over mountains of red tape. Many innovators also have to pay thousands of dollars in compliance costs as they try to convince regulators to let them introduce new ideas to consumers.

Fortunately, state leaders in Mississippi are taking action. A bill (SB 2976) introduced by Senator Angela Hill would create a “regulatory sandbox” program that would help new technologies flourish in Mississippi.

The program, administered by the Mississippi Development Authority, would encourage companies with innovative business concepts and technologies to try out new products, without smothering them with regulations. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

One specific industry in Mississippi that is ripe for innovation is energy technology. In light of this, Senator Hill has additionally introduced a bill (SB 2975) that would use the “sandbox” approach to encourage new technologies in the traditional energy sector.

The bill would help generate innovative energy technologies by facilitating the creation of a framework to permanently remove or temporarily waive laws and regulations that may unnecessarily inhibit the creation and success of new companies or industries.

In addition, there are provisions in the bill that would encourage agricultural innovation. SB 2975 has also been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Mississippi needs innovation and prosperity. The potential for expanded entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Mississippi businesses to further grow and flourish cannot be overstated. Both of these bills introduced by Senator Hill are excellent legislative steps that help pave the way for growth in the Magnolia State.

Update: While both SB 2976 and SB 2975 failed to advance this session, we appreciate the hard work of Senator Angela Hill in championing sandbox deregulation. MCPP, through the Mississippi Technology Institute, is looking forward to working with the Mississippi Senate to unleash technological innovation in Mississippi.