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Mississippi’s post-Dobbs agenda sets the pace for other states

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 @ 11:29 AM

TUPELO, Miss. — AFA Action, the government affairs affiliate of the American Family Association, congratulates Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature for championing a strong, post-Dobbs agenda aimed at helping children and families. Today, the governor signed a package of pro-life, pro-adoption and pro-foster care bills featuring the following five policies: increasing Mississippi’s Pregnancy Resource tax credit to $10 million (HB 1671); modernizing Mississippi’s baby drop-off law (HB 1318); doubling the existing state tax credit for adoptive parents (SB 2696); protecting the legal rights of children in foster care (HB 1149); and codifying the rights and responsibilities of foster parents (HB 510).

“Mississippi is again setting the pace by demonstrating how states should prioritize the rights of vulnerable children,” said Dr. Jameson Taylor, director of policy and legislative affairs for AFA Action. “The legislative package signed by Gov. Tate Reeves is the culmination of a strategic plan to increase services to children and families without increasing the size of government. These laws will help expand the services and volunteer opportunities offered by Mississippi churches and nonprofits. They will also encourage adoption and make it easier to care for children in foster care.”

Anticipating a favorable outcome in the Mississippi-led Dobbs case, Speaker Philip Gunn authored legislation in 2022 to create a $3.5 million tax credit to incentivize business donations to pregnancy resource centers. This innovative idea was expanded in 2023 via HB 1671, increasing the cap to $10 million and adding transitional homes serving homeless young people, pregnant women, and homeless families. Building on past reforms, like the Children’s Promise Act, the legislature also continues to take concrete action to address the needs of children in foster care. This is all the more necessary because of the Olivia Y lawsuit and resulting settlement agreement.

“One of the most important safeguards states can implement for children in foster care is to provide them with better legal representation so that their constitutional rights are protected in court,” said Dr. Taylor. “Although there is much more to do on the legal front, as well as in training and equipping CPS employees, HB 1149 is a step in the right direction. Transparency and trust in the foster care system itself is another vital need. Families all across Mississippi are eager to help, but the process — long waits and lots of red tape — is intimidating. By codifying a Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (HB 510), Mississippi has the opportunity to reduce frustration, anxiety, and confusion for both children and foster parents. This will make a difficult and complicated journey a little bit easier for everyone.”

AFA Action is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to advancing biblical, family values in society and government by educating and influencing public policy. The mission of AFA Action is to inform and mobilize individuals to strengthen the biblical foundations of America by persuading individuals with the truth of the Gospel, challenging the lost to repent, promoting societal values that are consistent with Scripture, restraining evil and exposing the works of darkness, motivating people to take a stand on cultural and moral issues, and encouraging Christians to bear witness to the world the love of Jesus Christ. Find AFA Action Alerts here. 

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