Secretary Watson IDEAS award
The 2023 National Association of Secretaries of State IDEAS (Innovation, Dedication, Excellence and Achievement in Service) Award recipient. 


  • Universal Reciprocity for Occupational Licensure Act (UROLA) (Supported by SOS)
  • HB 1104 (2020 Legislative Session) – granted OLRC new authority to “look back,” not just review new proposals.
  • HB 1263 (2021 Legislative Session) – reciprocity for out-of-state licenses/licensees.
  • SB 2626 (2021 Legislative Session) – removed in-person restriction for MS Business Corporation Act.

As a member of the OLRC, Secretary Watson has voted on over 110 regulation cuts.

Click here to view OLRC Resolutions

Examples include:

  • Licensed Professional Counselors—reduced overly burdensome testing requirements and created universal licensing reciprocity
  • Physician Assistants—reduced and restructured medical continuing education requirements 
  • Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists—expanded continuing education opportunities, including remote and online learning
  • Licensed Psychologists—reduced overly burdensome training hour requirements, expedited licensure timelines, and expanded access to continuing education opportunities
  • Board of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training—removed burden on former state law enforcement officers returning to duty from a federal or other state jurisdiction.

MSDH New Facility Permit
Partnered with the Mississippi State Department of Health to amend its site assessment checklist to reflect accurate information and remove unnecessary, burdensome requirements.

Handicap Driver’s License Issue
Partnered with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) to remove a barrier to obtaining a driver’s license and vehicle controls for a disabled citizen of Mississippi. Resolved in July of 2021.

When Co-Founder and CEO of Carmigo, Inc., Andrew Warmath, heard about Tackle the Tape, he reached out to Secretary Watson to assist with a permitting issue with another state agency. Warmath was in the process of trying to relocate Carmigo’s corporate headquarters to Mississippi, bringing 50 new jobs each exceeding the average annual wage of the state. With Watson’s aid, Warmath was able to clarify and complete the necessary requirements to settle the new software company in Tupelo.

Piggly Wiggly
Assisted a Winston County business owner trying to open a Piggly Wiggly in his community. With Secretary Watson’s help, the owner was able to garner assistance from the USDA and have the store’s doors open three days later.

Representative Rodney Hall:
 “One thing I’m very encouraged by is Secretary Watson. He has the Tackle the Tape effort; I mean, that is phenomenal.” 

“When you talk about the regulatory burden that we had to go through and all the different steps when you’re trying to build the company from the ground up, there is a lot to it. So what Secretary Watson is doing is absolutely critical.” 

Representative Jerry Turner:
 “The greatest challenge in right sizing government is haltering regulations to insure fluid and efficient operation. The Occupational Licensing Review Commission (OLRC), must have the authority to censor regulations to avoid over-regulating. Removing undue regulation will contribute to the spirit of free enterprise, and a government of the people.”

Representative Becky Currie: 
“I am so proud that we passed House Bill 1263 to help cut the red tape of getting a license and being able to work in Mississippi. This goes hand in hand with the Secretary of State’s Tackle the Tape initiative. For too long, state agencies have made rules that made it difficult for people to work in Mississippi because they did not want the competition moving in. We want people to move here and raise their families. We have a wonderful state, and I want to join Secretary Michael Watson in his efforts of tackling the tape across the Magnolia state!”

Senator Chris Caughman: 
“I am proud we passed Senate Bill 2626, which allows corporations the option to hold annual or shareholder meetings remotely. Anytime we pass legislation that creates efficiency and reduces expenses, it is a good day! Thanks to Michael Watson and the Secretary of State Office’s support of this bill and also for the work on “tackling the tape” in Mississippi.”

Andrew Warmath, founder and CEO of Carmigo: 
“Laws can sometimes be detrimental towards innovation and progress. As a new technology startup in Mississippi, we faced some of those laws that were hindering our growth. We reached out to Secretary Watson and his response was very refreshing. He was quick to bring the necessary parties together to find an amicable resolution.”

Joseph Cure: 
“As a businessman on the Coast, I am appreciative of the efforts of Secretary Watson to ensure even the smallest of regulations don’t go unchecked. With Michael’s assistance, we were able to work through the red tape that hindered completion on our new business development. He formulated a strategy to ensure a discretionary rule was given proper consideration and promoted collaboration between state agencies, ultimately enhancing economic growth for Mississippi.”

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab: 
“I was proud to present my colleague and friend, Secretary Watson, with this year’s IDEAS Award, which showcases the best programs states have to offer.”