As the final few weeks of the legislative session begin, Gov. Tate Reeves will remain busy signing legislation agreed upon by the House and Senate into law. With the governor’s signature, the measures will become law in July.

Occupational licenses

House Bill 1263 has passed both chambers and is awaiting the governor’s signing.

When it becomes law it will recognize occupational licenses from other states, making it easier for professionals to move to Mississippi.

It’s called universal recognition and by enacting this law Mississippi will become the 12th state to accept licenses obtained in other states. Easing the process of transferring a license to Mississippi will reduce the cost and hassle of moving here, attracting more talent to the state said Empower Mississippi.

The measure requires that licensing boards issue a license to a professional when they move to the state. To qualify, the applicant must have been licensed without disciplinary actions and have met the state’s minimum requirements. It will also accept professional experience for professions licensed in Mississippi that are not licensed in other states. For a worker moving from a state without licensing, they must demonstrate three years of practice, without formal complaints or evidence of consumer harm.

Down syndrome

Among the bills, Reeves has signed is Senate Bill 2746, the Down Syndrome Information Act also known as Hudson’s Law.

Named after Hudson Hartman, a two-year-old Mississippi child who has Down syndrome, the law will require doctors to provide accurate and up-to-date educational information to parents of children newly diagnosed with Down syndrome in the state.

“Protecting the sanctity of life is among the most important things we as believers are called to do,” Reeves tweeted on Thursday regarding the measure.

Optometrists scope

House Bill 1302 is becoming law and will expand the scope of practice for optometrists.

The change will allow optometrists to examine, diagnose, manage and treat conditions and diseases of the eye, something they are currently prohibited from doing.

According to Empower Mississippi, removing the current barrier will grant optometrists the authority to provide care consistent with their training and experience. It also opens the ability to clear substantial backlogs and Mississippians will see expanded access to eye care.

Reeves is expected to sign even more new laws in the coming weeks as lawmakers move towards the end of the session on April 4.

The session could be extended however to provide enough time to determine how Mississippi’s $1.78 billion in federal funds from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan should be spent.

(Capitol Connections by Daily Corinthian staff writer Zack Steen appears during the Mississippi Legislative session and includes news and notes from local lawmakers.)

Staff Writer

Zack Steen was first hired in 1999 as a junior in high school to work in the Daily Corinthian design department. After several years away, he returned in 2014 as staff writer. He's married to the love of his life Brandy and they have 5 wonderful fur-kids.

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