Robert Davidson

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Legislature Okays Child Support Collection Agencies

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers have voted to give the Department of Human Services broad leeway to hire private contractors to carry out many of its duties.

House Bill 1009 is headed to Gov. Phil Bryant, after the House and Senate both approved the final version of the bill Wednesday.

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock says the governor supports the bill.

The bill started as a way to let DHS hire contractors to handle collection of overdue child support payments.

But opponents say the final version is so broadly written that it will allow DHS to hire companies for other duties, such as nutrition programs for the elderly. Some lawmakers worry that privatization could lead to layoffs of state employees.