Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law 39 bills on Monday, including one that gives the ability of high school students to earn elective credit for apprenticeships.
The governor also approved another bill that makes it easier for military members or their spouses to earn occupational licenses and another that gives the Occupational Licensing Review Commission the ability to do backward-looking examination of existing regulations.
House Bill 1336, also known as the Mississippi Learn to Earn Act, gives students participating in an apprenticeship or internship in occupations such as welding, plumbing, auto repair, hospitality, manufacturing and other trades the chance to receive elective course credit toward graduation from high school.
This experience could be applied to earning an occupational license, if required, in their chosen field. The Mississippi Department of Education will administer the program as part of the existing apprenticeship program and participation in it by school districts is entirely voluntary.
SB 2117 allows military members and their spouses who hold an occupational license from another state to receive one in Mississippi, provided that their license in the other state wasn’t suspended and they pass an exam specific to Mississippi laws and regulations.
HB 1104 will provide the OLRC the ability to scrutinize an existing regulation to determine whether it increases economic opportunities for citizens by promoting competition while using the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers.
Any regulation that doesn’t meet that criteria will become invalid 60 days after it was reviewed.
Right now, the OLRC, which is comprised of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state, can only review new regulations, not existing ones.
Reeves also signed HB 326 into law on June 25 that would increase the earning cap on those with cottage food businesses from $20,000 to $35,000 and allow them to advertise on the internet. It was the second go-around for cottage food reform, which died last year on the calendar in the Senate without a floor vote after being passed by the House.
Cottage food operators are defined by the Mississippi Department of Health as those who sell non-perishable foods made in their home kitchens such as candy, cookies, pies, cakes, dried fruit, trail mix, jams and jellies and popcorn.
Mississippi had one of the lowest caps nationally before the bill was signed into law. Cottage food operators were removed from state regulations by SB 2553 in 2013.
Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming don’t have any annual restrictions on cottage food sales.
These bills will go into effect on Wednesday, the first day of the new fiscal year.