DHS privatization bill clears Mississippi House

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill allowing the Department of Human Services to hire private companies to handle some of its duties.

House Bill 1009 had passed the House on Tuesday but was held for a second round of debate Wednesday. It also awaited consideration of the Senate and must pass both chambers before it can go to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The bill started as a way to let DHS hire contractors to handle collection of overdue child support. But opponents say the final version of the bill is so broadly written that it will allow DHS to hire companies for other duties, such as nutrition programs for the elderly.