Child Support Privatization Bills Advance

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Mississippi lawmakers are advancing a second bill to let the state hire private companies to collect overdue child support. House Bill 1009 passed the House 59-57 Tuesday.

A similar measure, Senate Bill 2734, passed the Senate 35-16 last week.

The two chambers would have to agree on a single bill before anything could go to the governor.

The bills would allow the Department of Human Services to hire a private vendor, or vendors, to collect overdue child support payments in some parts of the state.

Supporters say privatization could improve efficiency. Opponents say Mississippi's experience with privatizing child support collections from 1995 to 2000 was disastrous.

Both sides say DHS has too few attorneys working in child support collections, and the ones it has are overworked.