Mississippi News

Watson: Mississippi’s regulatory wrecking ball

Note: The following is an opinion-editorial item provided by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.

Coming into the Secretary of State’s Office in 2020, I understood from my time in the Senate there is no better place to lead a movement for regulation reform than right here in Mississippi. Being the most regulated state in the Southeast, Mississippi needed a new approach to regulation much like America in 1980 when President Ronald Reagan took office.

With the goal of promoting an environment of business growth and competition by reducing overly burdensome regulations on individuals and businesses alike, my team and I launched the Tackle the Tape initiative upon entering office.

Since its launch, Tackle the Tape has served as a premiere resource for individuals trying to start a business or obtain a license who need help navigating the often complex and restrictive nature of state government.

In the last four years, as a member of the Occupational Licensing Review Commission (OLRC), I am proud to have cast 110 votes to reduce red tape. We have also worked with our friends in the state legislature to adopt sensible and meaningful regulation reform ranging from universal licensure reciprocity to expanding the review authority of the OLRC.

Tackle the Tape’s resounding success sparked the need for an organizational plan to assist with the influx of requests for help from businesses and individuals. In response, we developed a website portal and the 29×29 strategic review plan, bringing in academic and nonprofit partners to help our team review all rules and regulations for Mississippi’s 29 boards and commissions by the year 2029.

While Tackle the Tape began with the intention of helping Mississippians navigate the complexities of an overly burdensome government, it has sparked interest in states across the nation. Statewide leaders across the country have contacted our office wanting to learn more about Mississippi’s success and how to replicate Tackle the Tape in their own states. The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) even awarded Tackle the Tape the 2023 IDEAS Award, which recognizes and honors innovative programs across the country.

Be it the White House, the state Capitol, or mainstreet Mississippi, the impact of Tackle the Tape can be felt on every level. From presenting to President Trump’s administration to assisting countless Mississippians who contact our office for help, my team and I are honored to continue working diligently on your behalf over the next four years. Our success is your success.

Should any regulation stand in your way of opening and/or operating your business, I encourage you to reach out to our office. We stand ready and willing to make it easier for all to work and do business in our state.

Mississippi needed a regulatory wrecking ball; it has arrived.

Michael Watson is Mississippi Secretary of State.

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