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Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves Signs Multiple 'Culture of Life' Policies into Law

'We will be relentless in our support of mothers and children,' Reeves said of the foster care, adoption and pregnancy center related bills

The governor of Mississippi has signed a collection of laws designed to increase support for pregnancy centers and improve the state’s foster care system.

Governor Tate Reeves signed seven bills relating to child welfare and pregnancy support, referring to the new laws as “Pro-Mom” and “Pro-Life.”

“Mississippi will always protect life,” said Reeves in a statement on April 19. “Our state will continue to be a beacon on the hill, a symbol of hope for the country, and a model for the nation.” 

“Mississippi will be relentless in its commitment to life,” said the governor. “We will be relentless in our support of mothers and children. And we will be relentless in our efforts to advance the New Pro-life Agenda.”

“The legislation I signed today is further proof that when it comes to protecting life, Mississippi isn’t just talking the talk – we’re walking the walk,” Reeves concluded.

Five of the new laws focus on improving foster care and aiding state residents pursuing adoption.

Residents who adopt a child can now qualify for an income tax credit to cover the cost of certain expenses through Senate Bill 2696. The new program covers up to $10,000 of expenses stemming from the adoption of a child from Mississippi and $5,000 for the adoption of an out-of-state child.

Reeves also established the foster parents’ bill of rights and responsibilities by signing House Bill 510. According to the policy advocacy group Mississippi First, foster parents now have the right to “communicate with professionals who work with the foster child, including the child’s teachers,” “communicate with a Department of Child Protection Services representative, such as the family protection worker, when further educational services are needed to ensure the child’s educational needs are met,” and “be involved in crucial decisions regarding the child including, but not limited to, individual service planning meetings, foster care review, individual educational planning meetings, and medical appointments.”

Through House Bill 1149, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services officially became a separate entity and is no longer a division of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Lawmakers believe this step will improve the agency’s efficiency and will permit it to receive additional federal funding.

MDCPS’s budget was also expanded through House Bill 1625 and is now “the largest budget in its history,” according to the Governor’s office

House Bill 1318 extends the time that an infant can be surrendered at a safe haven location for adoption without being required to disclose any information about the parents’ identities. It also authorizes cities and counties to sponsor baby safety devices or locations where a child up to 45 days old can be safely surrendered.

Senate Bill 2384 creates the Mississippi Task Force on Foster Care and Adoption, which is tasked with evaluating the state’s foster care and adoption procedure in order to recommend improvements to the legislature. 

The other newly enacted measures focus on supporting resources available to pregnant women.

House 1671 increased the tax credit available for pregnancy resource centers from $3.5 million to $10 million.

“This is an incredible increase that will encourage private donations for the benefit of those who are helping women with limited resources navigate motherhood,” Reeves said of the law during a press conference on April 19.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America celebrated the new laws as “the latest example of pro-life states advancing measures to support families.”

We thank Gov. Reeves, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, and legislative leaders for boldly advocating measures that carry out the full-picture pro-life mission to support women during pregnancy and beyond,” said Caitlin Connors, the Southern Regional Director of SBA Pro-Life America, in a press release. “The impact of these policies will be felt for generations.

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