From Media Reports
JACKSON – The Mississippi Senate is pushing ahead a plan to privatize the collection of child support payments.
Senators voted Wednesday to support House Bill 1009. It would allow the Mississippi Department of Human Services to contract with private vendors to collect unpaid child support, which lawmakers say totals more than $1 billion.
State employees protested the bill March 5 at the Capitol, warning a previous privatization effort had failed.
Mississippi Alliance of State Employees President Brenda Scott said then that House Bill 1009 would likely cause state workers to lose their jobs. She said the state tried to privatize child support services in Hinds and Warren counties in the 1990s, but that the private entity ultimately collected less money per case.
Scott said private vendors will ultimately go after cases of overdue child support that
are the most lucrative, leaving low-income families underrepresented.
Scott wore a black veil as she spoke that Tuesday, which she said symbolizes her state of mourning over a number of bills passing through the statehouse that will negatively impact state workers.
Senator Terry Brown, a Republican from Columbus, presented the bill. Brown says he can’t answer many of senators’ questions, but says he supports the bill for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of Mississippi children who aren’t getting the payments they deserve.
The bill goes to the House for more debate.