Judge orders delay in finger scanning program - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge orders delay in finger scanning program

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Opponents of a new finger scanning program being put in place by the Department of Human Services brought their opposition to a Hinds County chancery judge Wednesday morning.

"We plan to fight this all the way," said attorney Lisa Ross.

Ross filed a complaint asking the court for a restraining order to stop the department from moving forward. The program requires parents who get federal money to help pay for child care to scan their finger when picking up or dropping off their child. Ross told the judge DHS failed to publish a legally required economic impact statement and because DHS didn't get child care provider input first, the program is one sided.

"For months now DHS has been unwilling to listen to the child care providers. It took a state court judge to tell them that they had to sit down at the table with the child care providers and to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act," Ross said.

Representing DHS, Assistant Attorney General Earl Scales agrees an impact statement should've been filed and says it'll be published in the next day or two. He doesn't agree DHS is obligated to anything more

"The statute does not require meetings with the groups. The statute requires the filings and we did comply with the statute with exceptions of the economic impact statement which has been complied with," Scales said.

A restraining order was not granted but the court did order DHS to meet with providers and hold another public hearing once the impact statement has been made public. The department contends the program, which is used in several other states, helps to streamline services, reduce fraud and save money. the program requires contracts with Xerox for the equipment which some providers say could end up costing them money.

"We think that DHS thought that it was going to dup these childcare providers and to sign these costly contracts with Xerox and no one would raise question, they would just do as they were told to do," Ross said.

With the court order, the earliest DHS can implement the finger scanning program would be in mid-December. The original date was set for November first.

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