The Mississippi Senate is pushing ahead a plan to privatize the collection of child support payments.
Senators voted Wednesday to support House Bill 1009. It would allow the Mississippi Department of Human Services to contract with private vendors to collect unpaid child support, which lawmakers say totals more than $1 billion.
State employees protested the bill March 5 at the Capitol, warning a previous privatization effort had failed.
Sen. Terry Brown, of Columbus, presented the bill. Brown says he can't answer many of senators' questions, but says he supports the bill for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of Mississippi children who aren't getting the payments they deserve.
The bill goes to the House for more debate.