The Public Service Commission is trying to put more Mississippians to work. As MPB's Alexis Ware reports they're proposing a new regulation Hire Mississippi.
State regulators are encouraging utility companies to consider more Mississippian contractors. A new Hire Mississippi rule would require companies to publicly notify Mississippi contractors about available jobs through local media. It would apply to contracts over 200 thousand dollars.
Central District Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown says some small businesses don't know when contracts are available.
"Some of the particular small contractors in local areas are not aware of that and that some of these contracts are going to out of state companies. And, some cases the out of state companies are hiring subcontractors who employ folks from out of state and we're not opposed to that. We just want to be sure that Mississippi contractors have a fair chance to bid on these contracts."
Brown says the utility companies could see lower costs by hiring in-state workers, and in turn Mississippians would pay lower rates. The rule could apply to Entergy Corporation and Mississippi Power Company and some private natural gas providers and small telephone companies.
Entergy Spokesperson Mara Hartmann says the company already has efforts in place to reach Mississippi contractors. She says hiring more in state workers would benefit communities.
"It helps keep more money here in Mississippi, and that benefits not only those companies we work with but every Mississippian because when there's more money in our state more taxes being paid in our state then it makes all of our communities stronger and it helps the state grow and prosper."
Commissioner Brown says the new rule is now online for public comment.