MSCPA Advocacy Efforts Take Top Billing During Current Legislative Session
Promoting the value and integrity of the accounting profession and protecting your license from harmful legislation are MSCPA top priorities during the 2019 Mississippi Legislative session which began on January 8th and will conclude on April 7.
Advocacy efforts kicked off in December with our lobbyist, Stephen Clay of the Clay Firm, attending the December 7th Board of Governors meeting to discuss expectations and concerns in the 2019 session and to preview the 2019 statewide elections. On December 19, the MSCPA Legislative Committee met at our Ridgeland office for lunch. Invited guests included Clay, Executive Director of the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy Andy Wright, Louisiana Society of CPAs Executive Director Ron Gitz, and Conner Reeves and Jamie Grantham with Medical Marijuana 2020. Occupational licensing and de-regulation of state boards are top concerns. Gitz discussed de-regulation bills that emerged during Louisiana’s 2018 legislative session and the efforts of the Louisiana Society and the AICPA to protect the profession. Reeves and Grantham gave an overview of the push by their organization for a medical marijuana ballot initiative. Conner stated that many CPA state boards have issued opinions that it is not unethical to offer accounting/advisory services to businesses in the medical marijuana industry even though the sale of marijuana is illegal from a federal perspective.
The Legislative Committee, chaired by Linda Keng and Matt Bailey (millennial chair), along with the AICPA, are currently monitoring bills affecting the profession and working with Stephen Clay and Karen Moody to identify the impact and any actions needed. There were 94 bills on our watch list originally, but many of those died in committee and never made it to the floor for vote. However, several bills are in fact directed at occupational licensing and regulation of state boards and remain active at press time. Criminal justice reform has emerged and includes prohibiting licensing boards from disqualifying someone for criminal convictions. Medical marijuana and hemp production bills were introduced but were among the bills that died. Links to all Legislative bills can be found on the MSCPA website Advocacy page.
In addition to Legislative monitoring, other advocacy efforts include attending State Board meetings and regularly meeting with agencies such as Mississippi Department of Revenue, Internal Revenue Service, and Secretary of State. Members are encouraged to submit topics and problems for consideration. MSCPA provides information to and educates federal, state and local policymakers regarding key issues.
The MSCPA PAC is a non-partisan committee comprised of CPAs who uphold the political voice of the CPA profession. By combining financial resources, the PAC is able to leverage its impact for positive results. The MSCPA PAC pools members’ contributions and contributes funds to friendly state legislators and candidates who support CPA and business interests and encourages and supports our own CPAs as political candidates. The PAC will meet in May to determine which candidates to support in the 2019 statewide elections.