The Secretary of State’s Office launched their “Tackle the Tape” Initiative last July. 

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office’s “Tackle the Tape” initiative sought to cut regulations that are anti-competitive and that do not secure the safety and well-being of Mississippians. The initiative, began a year ago, planned to increase economic opportunities for individuals across the state by promoting competition while encouraging innovation and job growth.

This initiative was introduced around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the last year, the SOS pushed their efforts into overdrive, as they have had the opportunity to reduce regulations which have expanded access to quality healthcare and helped small businesses get back to work.

Michael Watson

“It’s important to note the ‘Tackle the Tape’ initiative goes beyond talking points and political theory,” Secretary of State Michael Watson said. “In just twelve short months, we’ve already created meaningful change for small businesses and consumers, leading to substantial job growth, economic development, and expanded access to quality healthcare.”

Secretary Watson had the opportunity to vote on more than 40 proposed regulation changes through his position on the OLRC, leading to a reduction in the regulatory burden for a wide array of industries ranging from Certified Public Accountants and Architects to Nursing Home Administrators and Pharmacists.

Secretary Watson was also able to pass an amendment to the Occupational Licensing Review Commission’s submission process, which will require the state’s licensing boards to submit regulatory impact assessments. The assessments will measure the impact proposed regulations will have on businesses and consumers.

The initiative covers the Secretary of States’ votes on the OLRC, their partnerships with other state agencies, commissions, and businesses, as well as legislative actions. More specific to innovation and job growth, by helping new and small businesses clear regulatory hurdles, they are then able to be more successful in bringing innovative ideas/products to market which results in job growth.

“Since launching our initiative, we have received an overwhelming amount of support from our friends in the Legislature,” Watson continued. “Our office has teamed up with numerous legislators who reached out for help and support on several key pieces of legislation, which furthers our goal of reducing the state’s regulatory burden.”

A few examples of legislation that helped “tackle the tape” here in Mississippi would be House Bill 1104 (2020), which granted the OLRC the authority to review existing regulations, and House Bill 1263 (2021), which created occupational licensing reciprocity for working professionals moving to Mississippi.

Now that the initiative is a year old, the Secretary of State’s office has several things they are looking to do next.

“While we have seen more success and support for this initiative than we could have ever expected in the first twelve months, I am excited to say this is just the beginning. We receive calls daily from concerned Mississippians, small business owners, and even other state agencies asking for help lifting excessive regulations, not to mention the consistently growing OLRC docket,” said Secretary Watson. “Each vote and partnership we take on is a chance to make operations more efficient and less burdensome for Mississippi businesses.”

Secretary Watson urges all Mississippians to visit the “Tackle the Tape” portal on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website and the SOS social media accounts for more details as they roll out additional projects in the coming months. He also encourages Mississippians to email [email protected] to report a regulation or instance of overburdensome red tape.