Bill Text: MS HB1386 | 2022 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: State agencies; authorize Governor to terminate certain appointed agency officials.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Failed) 2022-02-01 - Died In Committee [HB1386 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2022-HB1386-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2022 Regular Session

To: Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency; Appropriations

By: Representative Hopkins

House Bill 1386

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-4-15, 25-9-119, 27-104-5, 35-1-3,  37-3-9, 37-4-3, 37-33-159, 37-63-7, 39-5-7, 41-3-5.1, 41-4-7, 49-19-3, 53-1-7, 65-1-9, 71-3-93, 75-76-15 AND 77-1-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH RELATES TO THE ETHICS COMMISSION, STATE PERSONNEL BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, STATE VETERANS AFFAIRS BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION SERVICES, AUTHORITY FOR EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION, DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, MISSISSIPPI FORESTRY COMMISSION, STATE OIL AND GAS BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNOR TO TERMINATE CERTAIN APPOINTED STATE AGENCY OFFICIALS, UPON WRITTEN NOTICE TO SUCH STATE AGENCY OFFICIALS; TO BRING FORWARD SECTIONS 25-9-103, 25-9-107, 25-9-121, 25-9-127 AND 25-9-132, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH RELATE TO THE PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM, FOR PURPOSES OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Section 25-4-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-4-15.  (1)  The commission shall appoint an executive director to serve at the pleasure of the commission.  The executive director shall possess a high degree of professional competence and integrity.  The executive director shall be responsible for the administrative operations of the commission and shall perform other such duties within its powers as may be delegated or assigned from time to time by regulations or orders of the commission.  The commission, by and through its executive director, may employ the personnel necessary to properly discharge the duties and responsibilities of the commission, subject to budgetary limitations.  Such personnel shall possess a high degree of professional competence and integrity in the area in which employed.

     (2)  All employees of the commission shall be excluded from the provisions of Section 25-9-101 et seq., relating to the State Personnel System.

     (3)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the commission, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 2.  Section 25-9-119, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-9-119.  (1)  There is created the position of the State Personnel Director who shall be selected by the State Personnel Board, with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The director shall have at least a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school or a master's degree in business administration, personnel management or the equivalent and shall have not less than five (5) years' experience therein.  His salary shall be in accordance with the Mississippi Compensation Plan.  The State Personnel Director shall serve at the will and pleasure of the State Personnel Board.

     (2)  The duties and responsibilities of the director shall be:

          (a)  To serve as executive secretary to the board, to attend meetings as directed by the board and to provide such professional, technical and other supportive assistance as may be required by the board in the performance of its duties;

          (b)  Consistent with board policy, to administer the operations of the State Personnel System and to otherwise act in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer to the State Personnel Board;

          (c)  To submit for board approval proposed rules and regulations which shall require a uniform system of personnel administration within all agencies included in this chapter.  Such rules and regulations, when approved by the board, shall be binding upon the state departments, agencies and institutions covered by this chapter and shall include provisions for the establishment and maintenance of classification and compensation plans, the conduct of examinations, employee recruiting, employee selection, the certification of eligible persons, appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, separations, reinstatement, appeals, reports of performance, payroll certification, employee training, vacation and sick leave, compensatory leave, administrative leave, standardized recordkeeping forms and procedures for leave earned, accrued and used, and all other phases of personnel administration.  Such rules and regulations shall not be applicable to the emergency hiring of employees by the Public Employees' Retirement System pursuant to Section 25-11-15(7).  Copies of the rules and regulations, or modifications thereto, as are approved by the State Personnel Board, shall be provided to the Chairmen of the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee of the Senate and the Fees and Salaries of Public Officers Committee of the House of Representatives, the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor at least sixty (60) days before their effective date.  The respective parties may submit comments to the board regarding such rules and regulations before their effective date;

              (i)  Compensation plans and modifications thereto promulgated under rules and regulations shall become effective as adopted, upon appropriation therefor by the State Legislature;

              (ii)  The director and the board shall provide for:

                   1.  Cost-of-living adjustments;

                   2.  Salary increases for outstanding performance based upon documented employee productivity and exceptional performance in assigned duties; and

                   3.  Plans to compensate employees for suggestions which result in improved management in technical or administrative procedures and result in documented cost savings for the state.  In certifying promotions, the director shall ensure that an employee's anniversary date remains the same regardless of the date of his promotion;

          (d)  To submit to the board any proposed legislation as may be necessary to bring existing statutes relating to the administration of public employees into uniformity;

          (e)  To administer the rules and regulations and all other operational aspects of the State Personnel System and to assure compliance therewith in all the departments, agencies and institutions covered by the State Personnel System;

          (f)  To appoint and prescribe the duties of the State Personnel System staff, all positions of which shall be included in the state service;

          (g)  To prepare an annual budget for the board covering all the costs of operating the State Personnel System, including the State Personnel Board, and the costs of administering such federal laws relating to personnel administration as the board may direct, including the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970;

          (h)  To assist state agencies, departments and institutions in complying with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations concerning discrimination in employment, personnel administration and related matters;

          (i)  To recommend procedures for the establishment and abolishment of employment positions within those departments, agencies and institutions not excluded from this chapter; and

          (j)  To cooperate with appointing authorities in the administration of this chapter in order to promote public service and establish conditions of service which will attract and retain employees of character and capacity and to increase efficiency and economy in governmental departments by the improvement of methods of personnel administration with full recognition of the requirements and needs of management.

     (3)  From and after July 1, 2016, the State Personnel Board shall not charge another state agency a fee, assessment, or other charge for services or resources received by that agency from the State Personnel Board.

     (4)  From and after July 1, 2016, the expenses of this agency shall be defrayed by appropriation from the State General Fund and all user charges and fees authorized under this section shall be deposited into the State General Fund as authorized by law.

     (5)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the director appointed by the board, upon written notice to the director.

     SECTION 3.  Section 27-104-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-104-5.  (1)  The Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration shall receive an annual salary to be set by the State Personnel Board, unless otherwise provided for by law.  He shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor, and devote his full time to the office and shall not pursue any other business or occupation or hold any other office of profit.  The executive director (a) shall be a certified public accountant; or (b) shall possess a master's degree in business, public administration or a related field; or (c) shall have at least ten (10) years' experience in fiscal management in the private or public sector and a minimum of five (5) years' experience in a high-level management position with a documented record of management.  Said qualifications shall be certified by the State Personnel Board.

     The executive director shall execute a bond in some surety company authorized to do business in the state, to be approved by the Governor, and filed in the Office of the Secretary of State in the penal sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), conditioned for the faithful and impartial discharge of the duties of his office.  The premium on such bond shall be paid as provided by law out of funds appropriated to the Department of Finance and Administration.

     (2)  The executive director shall have the following powers and responsibilities:

          (a)  Employment of such professional, administrative, stenographic, secretarial, clerical and technical assistance as may be necessary to perform the duties and responsibilities of the department subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board;

          (b)  Developing accurate and timely revenue forecasts;

          (c)  Allotting appropriated funds consistent with agency appropriations;

          (d)  Prescribing and implementing an accounting system using generally accepted accounting principles;

          (e)  From and after October 1, 1986, preaudit and payment of funds which shall be in accordance with all laws and regulations;

          (f)  Development and implementation of fiscal management training;

          (g)  Development of short- and long-range planning pertaining to matters of revenue forecasting;

          (h)  Providing assistance and expertise to state agency and institution governing bodies or other agency management, pursuant to Section 27-104-3;

          (i)  Cooperation and coordination with the State Auditor, State Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, University Research Center and the Mississippi Legislature on all matters pertaining to the fiscal matters of Mississippi state government; and

          (j)  The authority to establish training courses in programs for the personnel of the various governmental entities under the jurisdiction of the department.  The training courses and programs shall include, but not be limited to, topics on internal control of funds, governmental accounting and financial reporting, internal auditing, and budgeting.  The executive director is authorized to charge a fee from the participants of these courses and programs, which fee shall be deposited into a special fund created for these deposits.  State and local governmental entities are authorized to pay such fee, and any travel expenses, out of their general funds or any available funds from which such payment is not prohibited by law.

     SECTION 4.  Section 35-1-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     35-1-3.  The State Veterans Affairs Board shall appoint, to serve at the will and pleasure of the board, an executive director, (who shall also serve as Executive Secretary of the State Veterans Affairs Board), a deputy director, individuals to manage each of the agency's major functional areas and individuals to manage each of the state veterans homes.  The executive director and deputy director shall be a currently serving member or honorably discharged or honorably released veteran of any active or reserve component branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.  The board may establish additional minimum qualifications for agency positions.

     Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the board, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 5.  Section 37-3-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-3-9.  (1)  There shall be a State Superintendent of Public Education who shall be appointed by the State Board of Education, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and serve at the board's will and pleasure.  He shall be the Chief Administrative Officer for the State Department of Education and shall administer the department in accordance with the policies established by the State Board of Education.  The State Superintendent of Education, serving on July 1, 2011, shall continue to receive the salary that he was receiving on January 1, 2011.  From and after the completion of the term of the said superintendent serving on July 1, 2011, the salary of the State Superintendent of Education shall be established by the State Board of Education.  The State Superintendent of Public Education shall have at least a master's degree in any field and a minimum of five (5) years' experience in administration in the educational field.

     (2)  The State Superintendent shall give bond in the penalty of Seventy-five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00), with sureties to be approved by the Governor, conditioned according to law.  The bond, when approved, shall be filed and recorded in the Office of the Secretary of State.

     (3)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the State Superintendent of Public Education appointed by the State Board of Education, upon written notice to the State Superintendent.

     SECTION 6.  Section 37-4-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-4-3.  (1)  From and after July 1, 1986, there shall be a Mississippi Community College Board which shall receive and distribute funds appropriated by the Legislature for the use of the public community and junior colleges and funds from federal and other sources that are transmitted through the state governmental organization for use by said colleges.  This board shall provide general coordination of the public community and junior colleges, assemble reports and such other duties as may be prescribed by law.

     (2)  The board shall consist of ten (10) members of which none shall be an elected official.  The Governor shall appoint two (2) members from the First Mississippi Congressional District, one (1) who shall serve an initial term of two (2) years and one (1) who shall serve an initial term of five (5) years; two (2) members from the Second Mississippi Congressional District, one (1) who shall serve an initial term of five (5) years and one (1) who shall serve an initial term of three (3) years; and two (2) members from the Third Mississippi Congressional District, one (1) who shall serve an initial term of four (4) years and one (1) who shall serve an initial term of two (2) years; two (2) members from the Fourth Mississippi Congressional District, one (1) who shall serve an initial term of three (3) years and one (1) who shall serve an initial term of four (4) years; and two (2) members from the Fifth Mississippi Congressional District, one (1) who shall serve an initial term of five (5) years and one (1) who shall serve an initial term of two (2) years.  All subsequent appointments shall be for a term of six (6) years and continue until their successors are appointed and qualify.  An appointment to fill a vacancy which arises for reasons other than by expiration of a term of office shall be for the unexpired term only.  All members shall be appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate.

     (3)  There shall be a chairman and vice chairman of the board, elected by and from the membership of the board; and the chairman shall be the presiding officer of the board.  The board shall adopt rules and regulations governing times and places for meetings and governing the manner of conducting its business.

     (4)  The members of the board shall receive no annual salary, but shall receive per diem compensation as authorized by Section 25-3-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, for each day devoted to the discharge of official board duties and shall be entitled to reimbursement for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties, including mileage as authorized by Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (5)  The board shall name a director for the state system of public junior and community colleges, who shall serve at the pleasure of the board.  Such director shall be the chief executive officer of the board, give direction to the board staff, carry out the policies set forth by the board, and work with the presidents of the several community and junior colleges to assist them in carrying out the mandates of the several boards of trustees and in functioning within the state system and policies established by the Mississippi Community College Board.  The Mississippi Community College Board shall set the salary of the director of the board.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the director appointed by the board, upon written notice to the director.

     The Legislature shall provide adequate funds for the Mississippi Community College Board, its activities and its staff.

     (6)  The powers and duties of the Mississippi Community College Board shall be:

          (a)  To authorize disbursements of state-appropriated funds to community and junior colleges through orders in the minutes of the board.

          (b)  To make studies of the needs of the state as they relate to the mission of the community and junior colleges.

          (c)  To approve new, changes to and deletions of vocational and technical programs to the various colleges.

          (d)  To require community and junior colleges to supply such information as the board may request and compile, publish and make available such reports based thereon as the board may deem advisable.

          (e)  To approve proposed new attendance centers (campus locations) as the local boards of trustees should determine to be in the best interest of the district.  Provided, however, that no new community/junior college branch campus shall be approved without an authorizing act of the Legislature.

          (f)  To serve as the state approving agency for federal funds for proposed contracts to borrow money for the purpose of acquiring land, erecting, repairing, etc., dormitories, dwellings or apartments for students and/or faculty, such loans to be paid from revenue produced by such facilities as requested by local boards of trustees.

          (g)  To approve applications from community and junior colleges for state funds for vocational-technical education facilities.

          (h)  To approve any university branch campus offering lower undergraduate level courses for credit.

          (i)  To appoint members to the Post-Secondary Educational Assistance Board.

          (j)  To appoint members to the Authority for Educational Television.

          (k)  To contract with other boards, commissions, governmental entities, foundations, corporations or individuals for programs, services, grants and awards when such are needed for the operation and development of the state public community and junior college system.

          (l)  To fix standards for community and junior colleges to qualify for appropriations, and qualifications for community and junior college teachers.

          (m)  To have sign-off approval on the State Plan for Vocational Education which is developed in cooperation with appropriate units of the State Department of Education.

          (n)  To approve or disapprove of any proposed inclusion within municipal corporate limits of state-owned buildings and grounds of any community college or junior college and to approve or disapprove of land use development, zoning requirements, building codes and delivery of governmental services applicable to state-owned buildings and grounds of any community college or junior college.  Any agreement by a local board of trustees of a community college or junior college to annexation of state-owned property or other conditions described in this paragraph shall be void unless approved by the board and by the board of supervisors of the county in which the state-owned property is located.

     SECTION 7.  Section 37-33-159, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-33-159.  The State Board of Rehabilitation Services shall appoint an Executive Director of the State Department of Rehabilitation Services, in accordance with standards established by the State Personnel Board and on the basis of his education, training, experience and demonstrated ability.  The executive director shall serve as secretary and executive officer of the board, and he shall serve at the will and pleasure of the board. The salary of the executive director shall be set by the board, subject to the approval of the State Personnel Board, and shall be provided for out of any funds made available for such purpose by the Legislature, the federal government or other gifts or grants. The executive director shall be responsible to the board for the proper administration of the programs of rehabilitation provided under this chapter in conformity with the policies adopted by the board and shall be responsible for appointing directors of offices and any necessary supervisors, assistants and employees.  The salary and compensation of such employees shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Personnel Board as created under Section 25-9-101 et seq.

     Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the board, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 8.  Section 37-63-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-63-7.  The authority for educational television shall employ an executive director who shall be the administrative officer of the authority and shall perform such duties as are required of him by law and such other duties as may be assigned him by the authority and who shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the authority. In addition, the executive director shall be entitled to remuneration for his necessary traveling expenses consistent with general law.

     The authority shall have the power and authority to employ such technical, professional and clerical personnel as may be necessary for the administration of this chapter and for the performance of such other duties as may be imposed upon the authority by law, and to define the duties and fix the compensation of such employees.

     Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the authority, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 9.  Section 39-5-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     39-5-7.  The Department of Archives and History shall be under the immediate management and control of a director, to be elected by the board of trustees * * *, whose term of office shall be six years, and until his successor is elected and qualified and to serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor. He shall take an oath of office as do other state officials, and shall be commissioned in like manner. He shall have authority to adopt a seal for use in official business. He shall devote his time to the work of the department, using his best endeavor to develop and build it up, so as to carry out the design of its creation. He shall have the control and direction of the work and operations of the department, and shall preserve its collection, care for the official archives that may come into his custody, collect, as far as possible, all materials bearing upon the history of the state and the territory included therein from the earliest times, prepare the official registers hereinafter provided, and diffuse knowledge in reference to the history and resources of the state. The director of the department shall make a report of the expenses of the department to the Legislature of the state as state officers.

     SECTION 10.  Section 41-3-5.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-3-5.1.  The State Department of Health shall be headed by an executive officer who shall be appointed by the State Board of Health.  The executive officer shall be either a physician who has earned a graduate degree in public health or health care administration, or a physician who in the opinion of the board is fitted and equipped to execute the duties incumbent upon him or her by law.  The executive officer shall not engage in the private practice of medicine.  The * * *term of office of the executive officer shall * * *be six (6) years, and the executive officer may be removed for cause by majority vote of the members of the board serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.  The executive officer shall be subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the State Board of Health.  The executive officer shall be the State Health Officer with such authority and responsibility as is prescribed by law.

     SECTION 11.  Section 41-4-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-4-7.  (1)  The State Board of Mental Health shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To appoint a full-time Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health, who shall be employed by the board and shall serve as executive secretary to the board.  The first director shall be a duly licensed physician with special interest and competence in psychiatry, and shall possess a minimum of three (3) years' experience in clinical and administrative psychiatry.  Subsequent directors shall possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent, and shall possess at least ten (10) years' administrative experience in the field of mental health.  The salary of the executive director shall be determined by the board;

          (b)  To appoint a Medical Director for the Department of Mental Health.  The medical director shall provide clinical oversight in the implementation of evidence-based and best practices; provide clinical leadership in the integration of mental health, intellectual disability and addiction services with community partners in the public and private sectors; and provide oversight regarding standards of care.  The medical director shall serve at the will and pleasure of the board, and will undergo an annual review of job performance and future service to the department;

          (c)  To cooperate with the Strategic Planning and Best Practices Committee created in Section 41-4-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, in establishing and implementing its state strategic plan;

          (d)  To develop a strategic plan for the development of services for persons with mental illness, persons with developmental disabilities and other clients of the public mental health system.  Such strategic planning program shall require that the board, acting through the Strategic Planning and Best Practices Committee, perform the following functions respecting the delivery of services:

              (i)  Establish measures for determining the efficiency and effectiveness of the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2);

              (ii)  Conducting studies of community-based care in other jurisdictions to determine which services offered in these jurisdictions have the potential to provide the citizens of Mississippi with more effective and efficient community-based care;

              (iii)  Evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2);

              (iv)  Recommending to the Legislature by January 1, 2014, any necessary additions, deletions or other changes necessary to the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2);

              (v)  Implementing by July 1, 2012, a system of performance measures for the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2);

              (vi)  Recommending to the Legislature any changes that the department believes are necessary to the current laws addressing civil commitment;

              (vii)  Conducting any other activities necessary to the evaluation and study of the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2);

              (viii)  Assisting in conducting all necessary strategic planning for the delivery of all other services of the department.  Such planning shall be conducted so as to produce a single strategic plan for the services delivered by the public mental health system and shall establish appropriate mission statements, goals, objectives and performance indicators for all programs and services of the public mental health system.  For services other than those specified in Section 41-4-1(2), the committee shall recommend to the State Board of Mental Health a strategic plan that the board may adopt or modify;

          (e)  To set up state plans for the purpose of controlling and treating any and all forms of mental and emotional illness, alcoholism, drug misuse and developmental disabilities;

          (f)  [Repealed]

          (g)  To enter into contracts with any other state or federal agency, or with any private person, organization or group capable of contracting, if it finds such action to be in the public interest;

          (h)  To collect reasonable fees for its services; however, if it is determined that a person receiving services is unable to pay the total fee, the department shall collect any amount such person is able to pay;

          (i)  To certify, coordinate and establish minimum standards and establish minimum required services, as specified in Section 41-4-1(2), for regional mental health and intellectual disability commissions and other community service providers for community or regional programs and services in adult mental health, children and youth mental health, intellectual disabilities, alcoholism, drug misuse, developmental disabilities, compulsive gambling, addictive disorders and related programs throughout the state.  Such regional mental health and intellectual disability commissions and other community service providers shall, on or before July 1 of each year, submit an annual operational plan to the State Department of Mental Health for approval or disapproval based on the minimum standards and minimum required services established by the department for certification and itemize the services specified in Section 41-4-1(2), including financial statements.  As part of the annual operation plan required by this paragraph (i) submitted by any regional community mental health center or by any other reasonable certification deemed acceptable by the department, the community mental health center shall state those services specified in Section 41-4-1(2) that it will provide and also those services that it will not provide.  If the department finds deficiencies in the plan of any regional commission or community service provider based on the minimum standards and minimum required services established for certification, the department shall give the regional commission or community service provider a six-month probationary period to bring its standards and services up to the established minimum standards and minimum required services.  The regional commission or community service provider shall develop a sustainability business plan within thirty (30) days of being placed on probation, which shall be signed by all commissioners and shall include policies to address one or more of the following:  the deficiencies in programmatic services, clinical service staff expectations, timely and appropriate billing, processes to obtain credentialing for staff, monthly reporting processes, third-party financial reporting and any other required documentation as determined by the department.  After the six-month probationary period, if the department determines that the regional commission or community service provider still does not meet the minimum standards and minimum required services established for certification, the department may remove the certification of the commission or provider and from and after July 1, 2011, the commission or provider shall be ineligible for state funds from Medicaid reimbursement or other funding sources for those services.  However, the department shall not mandate a standard or service, or decertify a regional commission or community service provider for not meeting a standard or service, if the standard or service does not have funding appropriated by the Legislature or have a state, federal or local funding source identified by the department.  No county shall be required to levy millage to provide a mandated standard or service above the minimum rate required by Section 41-19-39.  After the six-month probationary period, the department may identify an appropriate community service provider to provide any core services in that county that are not provided by a community mental health center.  However, the department shall not offer reimbursement or other accommodations to a community service provider of core services that were not offered to the decertified community mental health center for the same or similar services.  The State Board of Mental Health shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this paragraph (i), in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Law (Section 25-43-1.101 et seq.);

          (j)  To establish and promulgate reasonable minimum standards for the construction and operation of state and all Department of Mental Health certified facilities, including reasonable minimum standards for the admission, diagnosis, care, treatment, transfer of patients and their records, and also including reasonable minimum standards for providing day care, outpatient care, emergency care, inpatient care and follow-up care, when such care is provided for persons with mental or emotional illness, an intellectual disability, alcoholism, drug misuse and developmental disabilities;

          (k)  To implement best practices for all services specified in Section 41-4-1(2), and to establish and implement all other services delivered by the Department of Mental Health.  To carry out this responsibility, the board shall require the department to establish a division responsible for developing best practices based on a comprehensive analysis of the mental health environment to determine what the best practices for each service are.  In developing best practices, the board shall consider the cost and benefits associated with each practice with a goal of implementing only those practices that are cost-effective practices for service delivery.  Such best practices shall be utilized by the board in establishing performance standards and evaluations of the community mental health centers' services required by paragraph (d) of this section;

          (l)  To assist community or regional programs consistent with the purposes of this chapter by making grants and contracts from available funds;

          (m)  To establish and collect reasonable fees for necessary inspection services incidental to certification or compliance;

          (n)  To accept gifts, trusts, bequests, grants, endowments or transfers of property of any kind;

          (o)  To receive monies coming to it by way of fees for services or by appropriations;

          (p)  To serve as the single state agency in receiving and administering any and all funds available from any source for the purpose of service delivery, training, research and education in regard to all forms of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, alcoholism, drug misuse and developmental disabilities, unless such funds are specifically designated to a particular agency or institution by the federal government, the Mississippi Legislature or any other grantor;

          (q)  To establish mental health holding centers for the purpose of providing short-term emergency mental health treatment,  places for holding persons awaiting commitment proceedings or awaiting placement in a state mental health facility following commitment, and for diverting placement in a state mental health facility.  These mental health holding facilities shall be readily accessible, available statewide, and be in compliance with emergency services' minimum standards.  They shall be comprehensive and available to triage and make appropriate clinical disposition, including the capability to access inpatient services or less restrictive alternatives, as needed, as determined by medical staff.  Such facility shall have medical, nursing and behavioral services available on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis.  The board may provide for all or part of the costs of establishing and operating the holding centers in each district from such funds as may be appropriated to the board for such use, and may participate in any plan or agreement with any public or private entity under which the entity will provide all or part of the costs of establishing and operating a holding center in any district;

          (r)  To certify/license case managers, mental health therapists, intellectual disability therapists, mental health/intellectual disability program administrators, addiction counselors and others as deemed appropriate by the board.  Persons already professionally licensed by another state board or agency are not required to be certified/licensed under this section by the Department of Mental Health.  The department shall not use professional titles in its certification/licensure process for which there is an independent licensing procedure.  Such certification/licensure shall be valid only in the state mental health system, in programs funded and/or certified by the Department of Mental Health, and/or in programs certified/licensed by the State Department of Health that are operated by the state mental health system serving persons with mental illness, an intellectual disability, a developmental disability or addictions, and shall not be transferable;

          (s)  To develop formal mental health worker qualifications for regional mental health and intellectual disability commissions and other community service providers.  The State Personnel Board shall develop and promulgate a recommended salary scale and career ladder for all regional mental health/intellectual disability center therapists and case managers who work directly with clients.  The State Personnel Board shall also develop and promulgate a career ladder for all direct care workers employed by the State Department of Mental Health;

          (t)  The employees of the department shall be governed by personnel merit system rules and regulations, the same as other employees in state services;

          (u)  To establish such rules and regulations as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, including the establishment of a formal grievance procedure to investigate and attempt to resolve consumer complaints;

          (v)  To grant easements for roads, utilities and any other purpose it finds to be in the public interest;

          (w)  To survey statutory designations, building markers and the names given to mental health/intellectual disability facilities and proceedings in order to recommend deletion of obsolete and offensive terminology relative to the mental health/intellectual disability system.  Based upon a recommendation of the executive director, the board shall have the authority to name/rename any facility operated under the auspices of the Department of Mental Health for the sole purpose of deleting such terminology;

          (x)  To ensure an effective case management system directed at persons who have been discharged from state and private psychiatric hospitals to ensure their continued well-being in the community;

          (y)  To develop formal service delivery standards designed to measure the quality of services delivered to community clients, as well as the timeliness of services to community clients provided by regional mental health/intellectual disability commissions and other community services providers;

          (z)  To establish regional state offices to provide mental health crisis intervention centers and services available throughout the state to be utilized on a case-by-case emergency basis.  The regional services director, other staff and delivery systems shall meet the minimum standards of the Department of Mental Health;

          (aa)  To require performance contracts with community mental health/intellectual disability service providers to contain performance indicators to measure successful outcomes, including diversion of persons from inpatient psychiatric hospitals, rapid/timely response to emergency cases, client satisfaction with services and other relevant performance measures;

          (bb)  To enter into interagency agreements with other state agencies, school districts and other local entities as determined necessary by the department to ensure that local mental health service entities are fulfilling their responsibilities to the overall state plan for behavioral services;

          (cc)  To establish and maintain a toll-free grievance reporting telephone system for the receipt and referral for investigation of all complaints by clients of state and community mental health/intellectual disability facilities;

          (dd)  To establish a peer review/quality assurance evaluation system that assures that appropriate assessment, diagnosis and treatment is provided according to established professional criteria and guidelines;

          (ee)  To develop and implement state plans for the purpose of assisting with the care and treatment of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.  This plan shall include education and training of service providers, caregivers in the home setting and others who deal with persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, and development of adult day care, family respite care and counseling programs to assist families who maintain persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia in the home setting.  No agency shall be required to provide any services under this section until such time as sufficient funds have been appropriated or otherwise made available by the Legislature specifically for the purposes of the treatment of persons with Alzheimer's and other dementia;

          (ff)  Working with the advice and consent of the administration of Ellisville State School, to enter into negotiations with the Economic Development Authority of Jones County for the purpose of negotiating the possible exchange, lease or sale of lands owned by Ellisville State School to the Economic Development Authority of Jones County.  It is the intent of the Mississippi Legislature that such negotiations shall ensure that the financial interest of the persons with an intellectual disability served by Ellisville State School will be held paramount in the course of these negotiations.  The Legislature also recognizes the importance of economic development to the citizens of the State of Mississippi and Jones County, and encourages fairness to the Economic Development Authority of Jones County.  Any negotiations proposed which would result in the recommendation for exchange, lease or sale of lands owned by Ellisville State School must have the approval of the State Board of Mental Health.  The State Board of Mental Health may and has the final authority as to whether or not these negotiations result in the exchange, lease or sale of the properties it currently holds in trust for persons with an intellectual disability served at Ellisville State School.

     If the State Board of Mental Health authorizes the sale of lands owned by Ellisville State School, as provided for under this paragraph (ff), the monies derived from the sale shall be placed into a special fund that is created in the State Treasury to be known as the "Ellisville State School Client's Trust Fund."  The principal of the trust fund shall remain inviolate and shall never be expended.  Any interest earned on the principal may be expended solely for the benefits of clients served at Ellisville State School.  The State Treasurer shall invest the monies of the trust fund in any of the investments authorized for the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program under Section 37-155-9, and those investments shall be subject to the limitations prescribed by Section 37-155-9.  Unexpended amounts remaining in the trust fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the trust fund shall be deposited to the credit of the trust fund.  The administration of Ellisville State School may use any interest earned on the principal of the trust fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as needed for services or facilities by the clients of Ellisville State School.  Ellisville State School shall make known to the Legislature, through the Legislative Budget Committee and the respective Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate, its proposed use of interest earned on the principal of the trust fund for any fiscal year in which it proposes to make expenditures thereof.  The State Treasurer shall provide Ellisville State School with an annual report on the Ellisville State School Client's Trust Fund to indicate the total monies in the trust fund, interest earned during the year, expenses paid from the trust fund and such other related information.

     Nothing in this section shall be construed as applying to or affecting mental health/intellectual disability services provided by hospitals as defined in Section 41-9-3(a), and/or their subsidiaries and divisions, which hospitals, subsidiaries and divisions are licensed and regulated by the Mississippi State Department of Health unless such hospitals, subsidiaries or divisions voluntarily request certification by the Mississippi State Department of Mental Health.

     All new programs authorized under this section shall be subject to the availability of funds appropriated therefor by the Legislature;

          (gg)  Working with the advice and consent of the administration of Boswell Regional Center, to enter into negotiations with the Economic Development Authority of Simpson County for the purpose of negotiating the possible exchange, lease or sale of lands owned by Boswell Regional Center to the Economic Development Authority of Simpson County.  It is the intent of the Mississippi Legislature that such negotiations shall ensure that the financial interest of the persons with an intellectual disability served by Boswell Regional Center will be held paramount in the course of these negotiations.  The Legislature also recognizes the importance of economic development to the citizens of the State of Mississippi and Simpson County, and encourages fairness to the Economic Development Authority of Simpson County.  Any negotiations proposed which would result in the recommendation for exchange, lease or sale of lands owned by Boswell Regional Center must have the approval of the State Board of Mental Health.  The State Board of Mental Health may and has the final authority as to whether or not these negotiations result in the exchange, lease or sale of the properties it currently holds in trust for persons with an intellectual disability served at Boswell Regional Center.  In any such exchange, lease or sale of such lands owned by Boswell Regional Center, title to all minerals, oil and gas on such lands shall be reserved, together with the right of ingress and egress to remove same, whether such provisions be included in the terms of any such exchange, lease or sale or not.

     If the State Board of Mental Health authorizes the sale of lands owned by Boswell Regional Center, as provided for under this paragraph (gg), the monies derived from the sale shall be placed into a special fund that is created in the State Treasury to be known as the "Boswell Regional Center Client's Trust Fund."  The principal of the trust fund shall remain inviolate and shall never be expended.  Any earnings on the principal may be expended solely for the benefits of clients served at Boswell Regional Center.  The State Treasurer shall invest the monies of the trust fund in any of the investments authorized for the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program under Section 37-155-9, and those investments shall be subject to the limitations prescribed by Section 37-155-9.  Unexpended amounts remaining in the trust fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any earnings on amounts in the trust fund shall be deposited to the credit of the trust fund.  The administration of Boswell Regional Center may use any earnings on the principal of the trust fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as needed for services or facilities by the clients of Boswell Regional Center.  Boswell Regional Center shall make known to the Legislature, through the Legislative Budget Committee and the respective Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate, its proposed use of the earnings on the principal of the trust fund for any fiscal year in which it proposes to make expenditures thereof.  The State Treasurer shall provide Boswell Regional Center with an annual report on the Boswell Regional Center Client's Trust Fund to indicate the total monies in the trust fund, interest and other income earned during the year, expenses paid from the trust fund and such other related information.

     Nothing in this section shall be construed as applying to or affecting mental health/intellectual disability services provided by hospitals as defined in Section 41-9-3(a), and/or their subsidiaries and divisions, which hospitals, subsidiaries and divisions are licensed and regulated by the Mississippi State Department of Health unless such hospitals, subsidiaries or divisions voluntarily request certification by the Mississippi State Department of Mental Health.

     All new programs authorized under this section shall be subject to the availability of funds appropriated therefor by the Legislature;

          (hh)  Notwithstanding any other section of the code, the Board of Mental Health shall be authorized to fingerprint and perform a criminal history record check on every employee or volunteer.  Every employee and volunteer shall provide a valid current social security number and/or driver's license number which shall be furnished to conduct the criminal history record check.  If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, fingerprints shall be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check;

          (ii)  The Department of Mental Health shall have the authority for the development of a consumer friendly single point of intake and referral system within its service areas for persons with mental illness, an intellectual disability, developmental disabilities or alcohol or substance abuse who need assistance identifying or accessing appropriate services.  The department will develop and implement a comprehensive evaluation procedure ensuring that, where appropriate, the affected person or their parent or legal guardian will be involved in the assessment and planning process.  The department, as the point of intake and as service provider, shall have the authority to determine the appropriate institutional, hospital or community care setting for persons who have been diagnosed with mental illness, an intellectual disability, developmental disabilities and/or alcohol or substance abuse, and may provide for the least restrictive placement if the treating professional believes such a setting is appropriate, if the person affected or their parent or legal guardian wants such services, and if the department can do so with a reasonable modification of the program without creating a fundamental alteration of the program.  The least restrictive setting could be an institution, hospital or community setting, based upon the needs of the affected person or their parent or legal guardian;

          (jj)  To have the sole power and discretion to enter into, sign, execute and deliver long-term or multiyear leases of real and personal property owned by the Department of Mental Health to and from other state and federal agencies and private entities deemed to be in the public's best interest.  Any monies derived from such leases shall be deposited into the funds of the Department of Mental Health for its exclusive use.  Leases to private entities shall be approved by the Department of Finance and Administration and all leases shall be filed with the Secretary of State;

          (kk)  To certify and establish minimum standards and minimum required services for county facilities used for housing, feeding and providing medical treatment for any person who has been involuntarily ordered admitted to a treatment center by a court of competent jurisdiction.  The minimum standard for the initial assessment of those persons being housed in county facilities is for the assessment to be performed by a physician, preferably a psychiatrist, or by a nurse practitioner, preferably a psychiatric nurse practitioner.  If the department finds deficiencies in any such county facility or its provider based on the minimum standards and minimum required services established for certification, the department shall give the county or its provider a six-month probationary period to bring its standards and services up to the established minimum standards and minimum required services.  After the six-month probationary period, if the department determines that the county or its provider still does not meet the minimum standards and minimum required services, the department may remove the certification of the county or provider and require the county to contract with another county having a certified facility to hold those persons for that period of time pending transportation and admission to a state treatment facility.  Any cost incurred by a county receiving an involuntarily committed person from a county with a decertified holding facility shall be reimbursed by the home county to the receiving county; and

          (ll)  To provide orientation training to all new commissioners of regional commissions and annual training for all commissioners with continuing education regarding the Mississippi mental health system and services as developed by the State Department of Mental Health.  Training shall be provided at the expense of the department except for travel expenses which shall be paid by the regional commission.

     (2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health appointed by the State Board of Mental Health, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 12.  Section 49-19-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-19-3.  (1)  The duties and powers of the commission shall be:

          (a)  To appoint a State Forester, who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the commission and who is qualified to perform the duties as set forth herein; and to pay him such salary as is provided by the Legislature, and allow him such office expenses incidental to the performance of his official duties as the commission, in its discretion, may deem necessary; and to charge him with the immediate direction and control, subject to the supervision and approval of the commission, of all matters relating to forestry as authorized herein.  Any person appointed by the commission as State Forester shall have received a bachelor's degree in forestry from an accredited school or college of forestry and shall be licensed and registered under the provisions of the Mississippi Foresters Registration Law (Section 73-36-1 et seq.) and in addition shall have had at least five (5) years' administrative experience in a forestry-related field.

          (b)  To take such action and provide and maintain such organized means as may seem necessary and expedient to prevent, control and extinguish forest fires, including the enforcement of any and all laws pertaining to the protection of forests and woodland.

          (c)  To encourage forest and tree planting for the production of a wood crop, for the protection of water supply, for windbreak and shade, or for any other beneficial purposes contributing to the general welfare, public hygiene and comfort of the people.

          (d)  To cause to be made such technical investigations and studies concerning forest conditions, the propagation, care and protection of forest and shade trees, the care and management of forests, their growth, yield and the products and by-products thereof, and any other competent subject, including forest taxation, bearing on the timber supply and needs of the state, which the commission, in its discretion, may deem proper.

          (e)  To assist and cooperate with any federal or state department or institution, county, town, corporation or individual, under such terms as in the judgment of the commission will best serve the public interest, in the preparation and execution of plans for the protection, management, replacement, or extension of the forest, woodland and roadside or other ornamental tree growth in the state.

          (f)  To encourage public interest in forestry by means of correspondence, the public press, periodicals, the publication of bulletins and leaflets for general distribution, the delivery of lectures in the schools and other suitable means, and to cooperate to the fullest extent with the extension department services of the state colleges in promoting reforestation.  It shall be the duty of the State Forester to cooperate with private timber owners in laying plans for the protection, management and replacement of forests and in aiding them to form protection associations.  It shall be his duty to examine all timbered lands belonging to the state and its institutions and report to the commission upon their timber conditions and actual value, and also whether some of these lands may not be held as state forests.  He shall be responsible for the protection and management of lands donated, purchased or belonging to the state or state institutions, and all other lands reserved by the state as state forests.

          (g)  To control the expenditure of any and all funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the several purposes set forth herein under suitable regulations and restrictions by the commission and to specifically authorize any officer or employee of the commission to incur necessary and stipulated expenses in connection with the work in which such person may be engaged.

          (h)  To submit annually to the Legislature a report of the expenditures, proceedings and results achieved, together with such other matters including recommendations concerning legislation as are germane to the aims and purposes of this chapter.

          (i)  To create, establish and organize the State of Mississippi into forestry districts for the most effective and efficient administration of the commission.

          (j)  To appoint, upon the State Forester's recommendation, six (6) individuals who shall be designated Mississippi Forestry Commission Law Enforcement Officers with authority to bear arms, investigate and make arrests; however, the law enforcement duties and authority of the officers shall be limited to woods arson.  The officers shall comply with applicable minimum educational and training standards for law enforcement officers.  These officers may issue citations for any violation of those laws for recklessly or with gross negligence causing fire to burn the lands of another.  A citation issued by a Forestry Commission law enforcement officer shall be issued on a uniform citation form consisting of an original and at least two (2) copies.  Such citation shall show, among other necessary information, the name of the issuing officer, the name of the court in which the cause is to be heard and the date and time the person charged with a violation is to appear to answer the charge.  The uniform citation form shall make a provision on it for information that will constitute a complaint charging the offense for which the citation was issued and, when duly sworn to and filed with a court of competent jurisdiction, prosecution may proceed under that complaint.  For the purposes of this paragraph, the fact that any person is found to have a brush or debris pile or other material which is or was being burned and reasonable and prudent efforts were not taken to prevent the spread of the fire onto the lands of another shall be evidence that such person recklessly or with gross negligence caused the land to burn.

     This paragraph shall stand repealed on June 30, 2022.

     (2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the State Forester appointed by the commission, upon written notice to the State Forester.

     SECTION 13.  Section 53-1-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     53-1-7.  The board shall appoint a State Oil and Gas Supervisor, herein called supervisor, who shall be a competent and qualified administrator and receive as compensation for his services an annual salary to be fixed by law.  The supervisor shall be solely responsible for the administration of the offices of the State Oil and Gas Board and shall be charged with the duty of enforcing Sections 53-1-1 through 53-1-47, and Sections 53-3-3 through 53-3-165, and all rules, regulations and orders duly adopted by the board.  The supervisor shall be ex officio secretary of the board and shall give bond, in such sum as the board may direct, with corporate surety to be approved by the board, conditioned that he will well and truly account for all funds coming into his hands as such secretary.  He shall remit to the State Treasurer all monies collected by him as such secretary for deposit in trust for the use of the board in a special fund known as the Oil and Gas Conservation Fund to be expended as provided by law.

     The supervisor shall devote his entire time to his official duties.

     In addition, it shall be the supervisor's duty and responsibility to:

          (a)  Supervise and manage all personnel of the offices of the Oil and Gas Board.

          (b)  Formulate the duties and responsibilities of every staff employee in detail, including written job descriptions and written policies and procedures for performing staff tasks.

          (c)  Outline a detailed method of preparing, and devise a systematic procedure for the filing of reports by field inspectors.

          (d)  Formulate written policies and procedures for the effective and efficient operation of the office, and present these policies and procedures to the board for promulgation.

          (e)  Supervise the provision of technical support and assistance to the board in its decision-making capacity.

     Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the State Oil and Gas Supervisor appointed by the board, upon written notice to the supervisor.

     SECTION 14.  Section 65-1-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     65-1-9.  The commission shall appoint an Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation for a term of office beginning on April 1, 1993.  The person serving as Executive Director of the State Highway Department on June 30, 1992, shall serve until April 1, 1993, as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and thereafter shall be eligible for reappointment to the position of Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Succeeding terms shall expire on April 1 each four (4) years thereafter.  The executive director * * *may be removed by a majority of the commission pursuant to Section 25‑9‑101 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972 shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.  All appointments by the commission shall be with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The commission shall submit its appointment to the Senate not later than March 1 of the year in which a term expires, and if such submission is not made by March 1, the incumbent director shall be deemed to have been reappointed for a four-year term.  In the event a vacancy occurs from resignation, death or removal from office by the commission, the commission shall submit its appointment for the unexpired term to the Senate not later than the next March 1 after such vacancy occurs.  If no appointment for an unexpired term is submitted to the Senate, the Governor shall make such appointment not later than April 1 of such year.  The commission shall fix the compensation of the executive director, subject to approval by the State Personnel Board.  The executive director shall be eligible for reappointment.  The executive director shall have the following qualifications:

          (a)  Possess a wide knowledge of the transportation system and needs of Mississippi;

          (b)  Possess a wide knowledge of the principles of transportation organization and administration; and

          (c)  Possess selected training or expertise in the field of transportation.

     No person who is a member of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, or who has been a member of the transportation commission or of its predecessor, the State Highway Commission, within two (2) years next preceding his appointment, shall be eligible to be chosen as executive director of the department.  The executive director shall be the executive officer of the commission and shall be subject to its orders and directions.  The executive director shall give his entire time to the duties of his office.  Before entering upon the duties of his office, the executive director shall give bond to the State of Mississippi in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned upon the faithful discharge and performance of his official duty.  The principal and surety on such bond shall be liable thereunder to the state for double the amount of value of any money or property which the state may lose, if any, by reason of any wrongful or criminal act of the executive director.  Such bond, when approved by the commission, shall be filed with the Secretary of State, and the premium thereon shall be paid from any funds available to the commission.

     SECTION 15.  Section 71-3-93, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     71-3-93.  (1)  The commission shall appoint such officers and employees as are necessary adequately to administer the Workers' Compensation Law, including not more than eight (8) administrative judges to be appointed by the commission with the consent of the Governor and an executive director who shall serve at the will of the commission and shall have such administrative duties as are assigned by the commission, a secretary, a statistician, a rehabilitation unit, and any other employees deemed essential to the administration of the law including court reporters whose salaries shall be the same as set for court reporters for circuit and chancery courts by Section 9-13-19.  The annual salary of the executive director shall be equal to that of an administrative judge.  An administrative judge shall be a member of the Mississippi State Bar and shall have a minimum of three (3) years' experience in the practice of law.

     All salaries not specifically fixed by law shall be set by the commission.  The establishing of a merit system or career service for employees of the commission is declared to be in the public interest because of the length of time required for understanding the details and problems involved in administering this legislation.  The commission shall establish and enforce fair and reasonable rules for the appointment, promotion and demotion of personnel.  All employees of the commission with the exception of medical consultants shall devote their entire time to the duties of their office.

     For the purpose of conducting hearings and making decisions upon claims, the administrative judge or administrative judges appointed by the commission shall have the authority of a commissioner.

     (2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the commission, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 16.  Section 75-76-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     75-76-15.  (1)  [Repealed]

     (2)  From and after October 1, 1993, the position of Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission is hereby created.

     (3)  The Gaming Commission shall appoint the executive director, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and the executive director shall serve at the will and pleasure of the commission.  The director appointed by the State Tax Commission pursuant to subsection (1) of this section who is serving on September 30, 1993, shall serve as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission until the executive director appointed by the Gaming Commission pursuant to this section is confirmed by the Senate.

     (4)  No member of the Legislature, no person holding any elective office, nor any officer or official of any political party is eligible for the appointment of executive director.

     (5)  The executive director must have at least five (5) years of responsible administrative experience in public or business administration or possess broad management skills.

     (6)  The executive director shall devote his entire time and attention to his duties under this chapter and the business of the commission and shall not pursue any other business or occupation or hold any other office of profit.

     (7)  The executive director shall not be pecuniarily interested in any business or organization holding a gaming license under this chapter or doing business with any person or organization licensed under this chapter and shall be governed by the provisions of Section 25-4-105.  In addition, the executive director shall not receive anything of value from, or on behalf of, any person holding or applying for a gaming license under this chapter.

     (8)  The executive director is entitled to an annual salary in the amount specified by the commission, subject to the approval of the State Personnel Board, within the limits of legislative appropriations or authorizations.

     (9)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Governor is authorized to terminate the executive director appointed by the commission, upon written notice to the executive director.

     SECTION 17.  Section 77-1-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     77-1-15.  (1)  There shall be an executive secretary of the commission, hereinafter referred to in this chapter as the secretary, to be appointed by the commission, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, * * *for the term of the commissioners to serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.  The secretary must have the same qualifications as the commissioners and shall be subject to the same disqualifications and to like penalties, except that he shall not be liable to impeachment.  He shall receive a salary fixed by the Legislature.  He shall take the oath of office and shall be removable at the pleasure of the * * *, which may fill any vacancy until the Senate confirms a successor Governor.  The secretary shall make bond as provided for other state officers, in the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of his office.

     (2)  The secretary shall collect all fees and penalties collected by or paid to the commission, and shall cover the same into the State Treasury.

     (3)  The secretary of the commission shall be the custodian of all records, documents, and the seal of the commission.  He shall issue all citations, subpoenas and other rightful orders and documents, and perform all other duties usually required of such officer, and as required by the commission.

     (4)  It shall be the duty and responsibility of the secretary to supervise and manage the offices and staff of the Public Service Commission and formulate written policies and procedures for the effective and efficient operation of the office and present these policies and procedures to the board for promulgation.

     (5)  From and after July 1, 2016, the expenses of this agency shall be defrayed by appropriation from the State General Fund and all user charges and fees authorized under this section shall be deposited into the State General Fund as authorized by law.

     (6)  From and after July 1, 2016, no state agency shall charge another state agency a fee, assessment, rent or other charge for services or resources received by authority of this section.   

     SECTION 18.  Section 25-9-103, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     25-9-103.  The State Personnel Board herein established shall administer a state personnel system in accordance with the following principles:

          (a)  To recruit, select and advance employees on the basis of their relative ability, knowledge and skills, including open consideration of qualified applicants for initial appointment;

          (b)  To provide equitable and adequate compensation;

          (c)  To train employees, as needed, to assure high quality performance;

          (d)  To retain employees on the basis of the adequacy of their performance, to correct inadequate performance, and to separate employees whose inadequate performance cannot be corrected;

          (e)  To assure fair treatment of applicants and employees in all aspects of personnel administration without regard to political affiliation, race, national origin, sex, religious creed, age or disability;

          (f)  To assure that employees are free from coercion for partisan or political purposes and to prohibit employees from using their official authority for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office;

          (g)  To provide authority for the establishment and abolishment of employment positions within the departments, agencies and institutions covered under the provisions of this chapter.

     SECTION 19.  Section 25-9-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     25-9-107.  The following terms, when used in this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, shall have the following meanings:

          (a)  "Board" means the State Personnel Board created under the provisions of this chapter.

          (b)  "State service" means all employees of state departments, agencies and institutions as defined herein, except those officers and employees excluded by this chapter.

          (c)  "Nonstate service" means the following officers and employees excluded from the state service by this chapter.  The following are excluded from the state service:

               (i)  Members of the State Legislature, their staff and other employees of the legislative branch;

              (ii)  The Governor and staff members of the immediate Office of the Governor;

              (iii)  Justices and judges of the judicial branch or members of appeals boards on a per diem basis;

              (iv)  The Lieutenant Governor, staff members of the immediate Office of the Lieutenant Governor and officers and employees directly appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;

              (v)  Officers and officials elected by popular vote and persons appointed to fill vacancies in elective offices;

              (vi)  Members of boards and commissioners appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor or the State Legislature;

              (vii)  All academic officials, members of the teaching staffs and employees of the state institutions of higher learning, the Mississippi Community College Board, and community and junior colleges;

              (viii)  Officers and enlisted members of the National Guard of the state;

              (ix)  Prisoners, inmates, student or patient help working in or about institutions;

              (x)  Contract personnel; provided that any agency which employs state service employees may enter into contracts for personal and professional services only if such contracts are approved in compliance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Public Procurement Review Board under Section 27-104-7.  Before paying any warrant for such contractual services in excess of Seventy-five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00), the Auditor of Public Accounts, or the successor to those duties, shall determine whether the contract involved was for personal or professional services, and, if so, was approved by the Public Procurement Review Board as required by law;

              (xi)  Part-time employees; provided, however, part-time employees shall only be hired into authorized employment positions classified by the board, shall meet minimum qualifications as set by the board, and shall be paid in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan as certified by the board;

              (xii)  Persons appointed on an emergency basis for the duration of the emergency; the effective date of the emergency appointments shall not be earlier than the date approved by the State Personnel Director, and shall be limited to thirty (30) working days.  Emergency appointments may be extended to sixty (60) working days by the State Personnel Board;

              (xiii)  Physicians, dentists, veterinarians, nurse practitioners and attorneys, while serving in their professional capacities in authorized employment positions who are required by statute to be licensed, registered or otherwise certified as such, provided that the State Personnel Director shall verify that the statutory qualifications are met prior to issuance of a payroll warrant by the Auditor;

              (xiv)  Personnel who are employed and paid from funds received from a federal grant program which has been approved by the Legislature or the Department of Finance and Administration whose length of employment has been determined to be time-limited in nature.  This subparagraph shall apply to personnel employed under the provisions of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, as amended, and other special federal grant programs which are not a part of regular federally funded programs wherein appropriations and employment positions are appropriated by the Legislature.  Such employees shall be paid in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan and shall meet all qualifications required by federal statutes or by the Mississippi Classification Plan;

               (xv)  The administrative head who is in charge of any state department, agency, institution, board or commission, wherein the statute specifically authorizes the Governor, board, commission or other authority to appoint said administrative head; provided, however, that the salary of such administrative head shall be determined by the State Personnel Board in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan unless otherwise fixed by statute;

              (xvi)  The State Personnel Board shall exclude top-level positions if the incumbents determine and publicly advocate substantive program policy and report directly to the agency head, or the incumbents are required to maintain a direct confidential working relationship with a key excluded official.  Provided further, a written job classification shall be approved by the board for each such position, and positions so excluded shall be paid in conformity with the Variable Compensation Plan;

              (xvii)  Employees whose employment is solely in connection with an agency's contract to produce, store or transport goods, and whose compensation is derived therefrom;

              (xviii)  Repealed;

              (xix)  The associate director, deputy directors and bureau directors within the Department of Agriculture and Commerce;

              (xx)  Personnel employed by the Mississippi Industries for the Blind; provided that any agency may enter into contracts for the personal services of MIB employees without the prior approval of the State Personnel Board or the State Personal Service Contract Review Board; however, any agency contracting for the personal services of an MIB employee shall provide the MIB employee with not less than the entry-level compensation and benefits that the agency would provide to a full-time employee of the agency who performs the same services;

              (xxi)  Personnel employed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources as law enforcement trainees (cadets); such personnel shall be paid in accordance with the Colonel Guy Groff State Variable Compensation Plan;

               (xxii)  Administrators and instructional employees under contract or employed by the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) established in Section 37-140-1 et seq.;

              (xxiii)  The President of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation and personnel employed by the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.; and

              (xxiv)  Employees, excluding administrative employees, of the State Veterans Affairs Board who are employed at a veterans home established by the State Veterans Affairs Board under Section 35-1-19.

          (d)  "Agency" means any state board, commission, committee, council, department or unit thereof created by the Constitution or statutes if such board, commission, committee, council, department, unit or the head thereof, is authorized to appoint subordinate staff by the Constitution or statute, except a legislative or judicial board, commission, committee, council, department or unit thereof.

     SECTION 20.  Section 25-9-121, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     25-9-121.  The state service, as defined by Section 25-9-107, shall consist of all positions now existing in the state departments, agencies and institutions or hereafter established, except those included in the nonstate service by this chapter.  Such positions shall be covered by the state personnel system.  Any officer or employee who has acquired a valid permanent status under the Mississippi Coordinated Merit System Council existing on February 1, 1981, shall continue in such status and shall not be required to take further or new examinations in order to retain such status.  Any officer or employee who has been certified by the Mississippi Classification Commission and appointed by a state agency head as of February 1, 1981, shall continue in such status and shall not be required to take further or new examinations in order to retain such status.

     SECTION 21.  Section 25-9-127, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     25-9-127.  (1)  No employee of any department, agency or institution who is included under this chapter or hereafter included under its authority, and who is subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the state personnel system, may be dismissed or otherwise adversely affected as to compensation or employment status except for inefficiency or other good cause, and after written notice and hearing within the department, agency or institution as shall be specified in the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board complying with due process of law; and any employee who has by written notice of dismissal or action adversely affecting his compensation or employment status shall, on hearing and on any appeal of any decision made in such action, be required to furnish evidence that the reasons stated in the notice of dismissal or action adversely affecting his compensation or employment status are not true or are not sufficient grounds for the action taken; however, this provision shall not apply:  (a) to persons separated from any department, agency or institution due to curtailment of funds or reduction in staff when such separation is in accordance with rules and regulations of the state personnel system; (b) during the probationary period of state service of twelve (12) months; and (c) to an executive officer of any state agency who serves at the will and pleasure of the Governor, board, commission or other appointing authority.

     (2)  The operation of a state-owned motor vehicle without a valid Mississippi driver's license by an employee of any department, agency or institution that is included under this chapter and that is subject to the rules and regulations of the state personnel system shall constitute good cause for dismissal of such person from employment.

     (3)  Beginning July 1, 1999, every male between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26) who is required to register under the federal Military Selective Service Act, 50 USCS App. 453, and who is an employee of the state shall not be promoted to any higher position of employment with the state until he submits to the person, commission, board or agency by which he is employed satisfactory documentation of his compliance with the draft registration requirements of the Military Selective Service Act.  The documentation shall include a signed affirmation under penalty of perjury that the male employee has complied with the requirements of the Military Selective Service Act.

     (4)  For a period of two (2) years beginning July 1, 2014, the provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply to the personnel actions of the State Department of Education that are subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board, and all employees of the department shall be classified as nonstate service during that period.  However, any employee hired after July 1, 2014, by the department shall meet the criteria of the State Personnel Board as it presently exists for employment.  The State Superintendent of Public Education and the State Board of Education shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General before taking personnel actions authorized by this section to review those actions for compliance with applicable state and federal law.

     It is not the intention or effect of this section to include any school attendance officer in any exemption from coverage under the State Personnel Board policy or regulations, including, but not limited to, termination and conditions of employment.

     (5)  (a)  For a period of two (2) years beginning July 1, 2015, the provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply to the personnel actions of the Department of Corrections, and all employees of the department shall be classified as nonstate service during that period.  However, any employee hired after July 1, 2015, by the department shall meet the criteria of the State Personnel Board as it presently exists for employment.

          (b)  Additionally, for a period of one (1) year beginning July 1, 2016, the personnel actions of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections shall be exempt from State Personnel Board rules, regulations and procedures in order to give the commissioner flexibility in making an orderly, effective and timely reorganization and realignment of the department.

          (c)  The Commissioner of Corrections shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General before personnel actions authorized by this section to review those actions for compliance with applicable state and federal law.

     (6)  Through July 1, 2020, the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to the personnel actions of the Department of Human Services that are subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board, and all employees of the department shall be classified as nonstate service during that period.  Any employee hired on or after July 1, 2020, by the department shall meet the criteria of the State Personnel Board as it presently exists for employment.  The Executive Director of Human Services shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General before taking personnel actions authorized by this section to review those actions for compliance with applicable state and federal law.

     (7)  Through July 1, 2020, the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to the personnel actions of the Department of Child Protection Services that are subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board, and all employees of the department shall be classified as nonstate service during that period.  Any employee hired on or after July 1, 2020, by the division shall meet the criteria of the State Personnel Board as it presently exists for employment.  The Commissioner of Child Protection Services shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General before taking personnel actions authorized by this section to review those actions for compliance with applicable state and federal law.

     (8)  Any state agency whose personnel actions are exempted in this section from the rules, regulations and procedures of the State Personnel Board shall file with the State Personnel Board, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Legislative Budget Office, Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER), and the members of the Senate and House Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees an annual report no later than July 1 of each year while under the exemption.  Such annual report shall contain the following information:

          (a)  The number of current employees who received an increase in salary during the past fiscal year and the amount of the increase;

          (b)  The number of employees who were dismissed from the agency or otherwise adversely affected as to compensation or employment status during the past fiscal year, including a description of such adverse effects;

          (c)  The number of new employees hired during the past fiscal year and the starting salaries of each new employee; and

          (d)  Quantifiable measures showing that the actions taken under authority of an exemption granted by this section have improved efficiency or effectiveness, or both, of the agency's operations.

     SECTION 22.  Section 25-9-132, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     25-9-132.  Any employee aggrieved by a final decision of the Employee Appeals Board shall be entitled to judicial review thereof in the manner provided in this section.

     (1)  An appeal may be taken by such employee to the circuit court of the principal county of the employee's employment or the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, by filing a petition with the clerk of such court and executing and filing bond payable to the State of Mississippi with sufficient sureties to be approved by the clerk of the court, in the penalty of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), conditioned upon the payment of all costs of appeal, including the cost of preparing the transcript of the hearing before the Employee Appeals Board.  The petition and bond shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the final decision of the Employee Appeals Board.  Upon approval of the bond, the clerk of the court shall notify the Employee Appeals Board, which shall prepare its record in the matter and transmit it to the circuit court.

     (2)  The scope of review of the circuit court in such cases shall be limited to a review of the record made before the Employee Appeals Board or hearing officer to determine if the action of the Employee Appeals Board is unlawful for the reason that it was:

          (a)  Not supported by any substantial evidence;

          (b)  Arbitrary or capricious; or

          (c)  In violation of some statutory or constitutional right of the employee.

     (3)  No relief shall be granted based upon the court's finding of harmless error by the board in complying with the procedural requirements of Sections 25-9-127 through 25-9-129; provided, however, in the event that there is a finding of prejudicial error in the proceedings, the cause may be remanded for a rehearing consistent with the findings of the court.

     (4)  Any party aggrieved by action of the circuit court may appeal to the Supreme Court in the manner provided by law.

     (5)  In each controversy in which the Employee Appeals Board assumes jurisdiction, the State Personnel Board shall assess the respondent state agency a reasonable fee to defray the cost of recording the hearing.  The State Personnel Board is hereby authorized to contract with certified court reporters to record hearings before the Employee Appeals Board.

     SECTION 23.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.


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