EDITORIAL: Hosemann’s agenda

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s extensive corporate law experience in the private sector provides strong perspective for him to propose reforms for efficiency, regulation and transparency in some of Mississippi’s most-used business law statutes and code sections.
Hosemann said last week in an interview with Daily Journal writers that he sees an opportunity for Mississippi to become the nationwide pacesetter in regulation through better laws dealing with limited liability corporations, the Uniform Commercial Code and a “work-out” law to help businesses work through and out of financial difficulties, avoiding the costs and damaging impact of bankruptcy.
Hosemann remains fully engaged with legal tangles involving limited liability corporations which owned several Mississippi cemeteries and whose owners allegedly pillaged the trust accounts that were supposed to guarantee benefits purchased by burial lot owners. It was the pre-need cases that drew his attention sharply to LLCs.
In the process he found that Mississippi has an astounding 98,000 LLCs. No one knows how many are active. Hosemann believes, we think reasonably, that reporting requirements should be enhanced and registration procedures updated. The legal entities, relatively simple, do not require a lawyer’s participation in formation, and there are few reporting requirements beyond the original filing.
“Bringing our laws up to national standards is important long term for our business sector,” he said in his Daily Journal interview.
LLCs offer businesses legal protections and tax advantages, and accountability is needed to ensure reliability.
The UCC laws, which record liens on property, need strengthening to help protect businesses’ trade names. “If you’re a small business, and you’ve generated a lot of good will with your name or slogan over the years, this bill will protect that,” he noted, saying the system will be voluntary.
On another issue of broad interest, Hosemann indicated some doubt that backers of a petition to hold a constitutional referendum requiring photo voter identification would gain enough legitimate signatures by the early 2010 deadline to place it on the 2010 general election ballot.
Hosemann also indicated he probably will not pursue a voter ID legislative solution in 2010.
We hope he changes his mind. The voter ID issue was within figurative hours of passing in the 2009 session – following years of legislative negotiation, failure and renewed attempts – when its strongest proponents, Republican legislators, sabotaged the measure in committee in favor of the constitutional referendum route.
A statute would be sufficient. We hope Hosemann tries again for voter identification in the law.

NEMS Daily Journal