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"Hire Mississippi," says Public Service Commission
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A new requirement will take effect a month from now that could give more business to Mississippi contractors.  MPB's Ezra Wall reports.

The Hire Mississippi rule will take effect in 30 days, now that it has been delivered to the Secretary of State's office by the Public Service Commission.  The rule will require private utilities to keep a list of Mississippi contractors who want to bid on upcoming projects.  The contractors will then be notified when a bidding process is about to open.  Commission Chairman Brandon Presley says the goal is to put Mississippians to work.

"I'm sick of driving by projects funded by Mississippians and finding tags from Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama and other states," says Presley. "We need to be trying to put Mississippi businesses to work and make sure they know about all contracts in our state regarding public utilities. And this goes in that direction; this is the entire goal."

Hire Mississippi applies to any private utility company regulated by the Public Service Commission. Entergy Mississippi spokesperson Mara Hartmann says the new regulation won't create very many extra steps for her company.

"It's in the best interest of our company, our customers, the communities we serve in Mississippi to promote economic development and create jobs," says Hartmann. "We're in that business already, so we definitely support the rule and we do a lot of what is in the rule already." 

Hartmann says in addition to growing its contractor database, Entergy will also expand the way it advertises to contractors in the state. The Hire Mississippi Rule was passed by the Public Service Commission unanimously, 3-0.