Bill Text: MS HB660 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: State agencies; eliminate requirement to prepare and publish annual reports.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Failed) 2021-02-02 - Died In Committee [HB660 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2021-HB660-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2021 Regular Session

To: Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency

By: Representative Currie

House Bill 660

AN ACT TO REPEAL SECTIONS 27-101-1, 27-101-3 AND 27-101-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH REQUIRE STATE AGENCIES TO PREPARE AND PUBLISH ANNUAL REPORTS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 7-1-355, 7-1-601, 7-7-3, 7-17-5, 17-17-445, 23-15-211.1, 25-1-77, 25-1-81, 25-1-83, 25-9-147, 25-51-1, 25-53-5, 25-53-29, 27-104-7, 27-105-21, 31-1-19, 31-3-14, 31-17-41, 33-11-18, 33-15-309, 37-1-12, 37-4-11, 37-13-60.1, 37-21-51, 37-27-25, 37-28-31, 37-28-37, 37-33-161, 37-33-261, 37-35-11, 37-67-1, 37-101-15, 37-101-293, 37-106-11, 37-106-43, 37-106-55, 37-151-10, 37-151-97, 39-3-107, 39-5-113, 39-35-1, 41-3-15, 41-4-21, 41-35-7, 41-113-7, 41-123-1, 43-1-5, 43-7-57, 43-12-39, 43-13-107, 43-30-1, 43-33-747, 43-59-7, 45-12-5, 47-5-6, 47-5-28, 47-5-355, 47-7-15, 49-2-13, 49-4-13, 49-7-26, 49-17-44, 49-15-305, 57-1-18, 57-1-367, 57-1-701, 57-10-707, 57-13-47, 57-39-19, 57-55-15, 57-67-37, 57-69-5, 57-75-21, 59-7-7, 59-7-307, 59-7-413, 65-1-10, 65-1-85, 65-18-7, 65-29-7, 67-1-37, 69-1-105, 69-5-3, 69-7-263, 69-9-9, 69-10-9, 69-23-109, 69-44-9, 69-48-11, 71-5-115, 73-15-17, 73-29-9, 73-34-9, 73-36-19, 73-63-19, 77-3-42, 81-1-71, 83-9-213, 93-21-307 AND 97-3-54.9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING PROVISIONS; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 7-1-565, 17-18-43, 25-9-148, 27-7-22.9, 27-7-22.24, 27-7-22.26, 27-104-167, 31-7-311, 37-31-111, 41-73-71, 43-3-89, 43-5-11, 43-12-41, 43-13-127, 47-5-559, 57-10-39, 69-1-15, 69-27-111, 77-1-49 AND 77-3-90, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE PREPARATION AND PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL REPORTS BY VARIOUS PUBLIC ENTITIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

     SECTION 1.  Sections 27-101-1, 27-101-3 and 27-101-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, which require state agencies to prepare and publish annual reports, are repealed.

     SECTION 2.  Section 7-1-355, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     7-1-355.  (1)  The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Office of the Governor, is designated as the sole administrator of all programs for which the state is the prime sponsor under Title 1(B) of Public Law 105-220, Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, and may take all necessary action to secure to this state the benefits of that legislation.  The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Office of the Governor, may receive and disburse funds for those programs that become available to it from any source.

     (2)  The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Office of the Governor, shall establish guidelines on the amount and/or percentage of indirect and/or administrative expenses by the local fiscal agent or the Workforce Development Center operator. * * *The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Office of the Governor, shall develop an accountability system and make an annual report to the Legislature before December 31 of each year on Workforce Investment Act activities.  The report shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

 * * *  (a)  The total number of individuals served through the Workforce Development Centers and the percentage and number of individuals for which a quarterly follow‑up is provided;

  (b)  The number of individuals who receive core services by each center;

  (c)  The number of individuals who receive intensive services by each center;

  (d)  The number of Workforce Investment Act vouchers issued by the Workforce Development Centers including:

   (i)  A list of schools and colleges to which these vouchers were issued and the average cost per school of the vouchers; and

   (ii)  A list of the types of programs for which these vouchers were issued;

  (e)  The number of individuals placed in a job through Workforce Development Centers;

  (f)  The monies and the amount retained for administrative and other costs received from Workforce Investment Act funds for each agency or organization that Workforce Investment Act funds flow through as a percentage and actual dollar amount of all Workforce Investment Act funds received.

     SECTION 3.  Section 7-1-601, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     7-1-601.  (1)  The Legislature finds that:

          (a)  Compassionate groups of individuals have selflessly aided this state in serving our most vulnerable residents and our most debilitated neighborhoods.

          (b)  Inspired by faith and civic commitment, these organizations have accomplished much in changing the lives of thousands and resurrecting neighborhoods torn by the strife of crime and poverty.

          (c)  It is essential that this state cooperate with these organizations in order to provide an opportunity to participate on an equal basis, regardless of each organization's orientation, whether faith-based or secular.

     (2)  It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to recognize the contributions of these organizations and to encourage opportunities for faith-based and community-based organizations to work cooperatively with government entities in order to deliver services more effectively.  The Legislature further intends that the purpose of the council is to advise the Governor and the Legislature on policies, priorities, and objectives to enlist, equip, enable, empower, and expand the work of faith-based, volunteer, and other community organizations to the full extent permitted by law.

     (3)  There is established within the Office of the Governor the Mississippi Advisory Council on Faith-Based Initiatives.

     (4)  (a)  The council shall be composed of not more than twenty-five (25) members.  Council members may include, but need not be limited to, representatives from various faiths, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, foundations, corporations, and municipalities.

          (b)  The council shall be composed of the following members:

              (i)  Seventeen (17) members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor.

              (ii)  Four (4) members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor.

              (iii)  Four (4) members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

          (c)  Members of the council shall serve for terms of two (2) years, and may continue to serve after the expiration of their terms until a successor is appointed.  Members shall be eligible for reappointment and serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority during their terms.

          (d)  The Governor shall designate a member of the council to serve as chair for a term of two (2) years at the pleasure of the Governor.  The chair may continue to serve after the expiration of the chair's term and shall be eligible for redesignation by the Governor.

          (e)  (i)  The heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the council with information it needs for purposes of carrying out its mission.

              (ii)  The council may request and collect information, hold hearings, establish task forces consisting of members of the council or other individuals, as necessary to carry out its mission.

              (iii)  The council may conduct analyses and develop reports or other materials as necessary to perform its mission.

              (iv)  Members of the council shall serve without compensation.

          (f)  The principal functions of the council are, to the extent permitted by law:

              (i)  To develop and coordinate activities of faith-based and community-based programs and initiatives, enhance such efforts in communities, and seek such resources, legislation, and regulatory relief as may be necessary to accomplish these objectives;

              (ii)  To ensure that state policy decisions take into account the capacity of faith-based and other community-based initiatives to assist in the achievement of state priorities;

              (iii)  To identify and promote best practices and successful modes of delivering social services through faith-based and other community-based organizations;

              (iv)  To recommend changes in policies, programs, and practices that affect the delivery of services by such organizations and the needs of low-income and other underserved persons in Mississippi communities;

              (v)  To coordinate public awareness of faith-based and community nonprofit initiatives, such as demonstration pilot programs or projects, public-private partnerships, volunteerism, and special projects;

              (vi)  To encourage private charitable giving to support faith-based and community-based initiatives;

              (vii)  To bring concerns, ideas, and policy options to the Governor and Legislature for assisting, strengthening, and replicating successful faith-based and other community-based programs;

              (viii)  To develop and implement strategic initiatives to strengthen the institutions of families and communities in this state;

              (ix)  To showcase and herald innovative grassroots nonprofit organizations and civic initiatives;

              (x)  To eliminate unnecessary legislative, regulatory, and other bureaucratic barriers that impede effective faith-based and other community-based efforts to address social problems;

              (xi)  To monitor implementation of state policy affecting faith-based and other community-based organizations;

              (xii)  To ensure that the efforts of faith-based and other community-based organizations meet objective criteria for performance and accountability.

          (g)  The council may not make any recommendation that conflicts with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 18 of the Mississippi Constitution.

 * * *  (h)  By December 1 of each year, the council shall prepare a written report for the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives containing a summary of activities and recommendations of the council.

     SECTION 4.  Section 7-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     7-7-3.  (1)  There is hereby established a General Accounting Office for the State of Mississippi, the powers and duties of said office to be performed by the Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management under the administration of the State Fiscal Officer.

     (2)  The Chief of the Fiscal Management Division, under the supervision of the State Fiscal Officer, shall prescribe and implement in the office of each state agency an adequate accrual accounting system, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, and a system for keeping other essential financial records or, in lieu thereof, may install a state centralized automated accounting system which facilitates reporting the financial position and operations of the state as a whole, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.  All such accounting systems so prescribed or installed shall be as uniform as may be practicable for agencies and offices of the same class and character.

     Each state agency shall adopt and use the system prescribed and approved for it by the State Fiscal Officer, and the State Fiscal Officer shall have the authority and power to impound all funds of such agency until it complies with the provisions of this section.  Said state centralized automated accounting system shall be made available to the agencies of state government through the services of the State Computer Center.  The State Fiscal Officer shall conduct training seminars on a regular basis to ensure that agencies have access to persons proficient in the correct use of the statewide automated accounting system.

     (3)  The State Fiscal Officer shall establish an oversight advisory committee to ensure that the state centralized automated accounting system meets the needs of the agencies served thereby. Said oversight advisory committee shall be composed of qualified public employees proficient in the areas of fiscal management, accounting, data processing and other fields affected by the automated accounting and financial management system.  Said committee shall have the following responsibilities:

          (a)  Provide continual review of laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures which affect the continued successful implementation of the state automated accounting and financial management system;

          (b)  Coordination among the control agencies of state and federal government to identify required modifications and/or enhancements to the state centralized automated accounting system as required for successful implementation;

          (c)  Ensure that agencies using the system are in compliance with the requirements of the various control agencies; and

          (d)  Assign persons knowledgeable in their area of expertise and proper use of the state centralized automated accounting system to help agencies use the system correctly.

     (4)  The State Fiscal Officer shall provide for the continuing support of the state centralized automated accounting system from funds appropriated therefor by the Legislature and/or from user fees charged to the state agencies and institutions utilizing the system.

     The State Fiscal Officer may charge fees to agencies and institutions for services rendered to them in conjunction with the statewide automated accounting system.  The amounts of such fees shall be set by the State Fiscal Officer, and all such fees collected shall be paid into the Statewide Automated Accounting System Fund.

     (5)  There is hereby established within the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund.  This fund is established for the purpose of developing and maintaining an executive information system within state government.  Such a system may include the state centralized automated accounting system, a centralized automated human resource/payroll system for state agencies and the automation of performance programmatic data and other data as needed by the legislative and executive branches to monitor the receipt and expenditure of funds in accordance with desired objectives.

     A Steering Committee consisting of the State Fiscal Officer, the Executive Director of the State Personnel Board and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services shall establish policies and procedures for the administration of the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund.

     All disbursements from this fund shall be made pursuant to appropriation by the Legislature.  All interest earned from the investment of monies in this fund shall be credited to such fund.

     Any expenditure of funds related to the development of a Mississippi Management and Reporting System by the State Personnel Board, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services made during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1993, shall be reimbursable from the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund upon its establishment.

     The Bond Commission is hereby authorized to grant a noninterest-bearing loan to the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund from the State Treasurer's General Fund/Special Fund Pool in an amount not to exceed Fifteen Million Dollars ($15,000,000.00).

     The Mississippi Management and Reporting System Steering Committee shall appoint an administrator of the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund.  The salary of the administrator and all other project administrative expenses shall be disbursed from the revolving fund.  The administrator of the fund is hereby authorized to employ or secure personnel service contracts for all personnel required to carry out this project.  On or before January 15 of each year, the State Fiscal Officer shall present a report of all expenditures made during the previous fiscal year from the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund to the State Bond Commission * * * and to the Legislature.

     Upon implementation of the Mississippi Management and  Reporting System, or any part thereof, at any state agency, a repayment schedule shall be determined by the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund administrator for payment back into the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund.  This repayment schedule will include direct and indirect expenses of implementing the Mississippi Management and Reporting System at each agency and applied interest charges.  Each state agency shall be required to request the amount of its yearly repayment in its annual budget request.

     At the completion of the Mississippi Management and Reporting System, the Steering Committee shall recommend to the Legislature an amount to remain in the Mississippi Management and Reporting System Revolving Fund to fund future upgrades and maintenance for the system.  The remaining amount, as repaid by the agencies, shall be returned to the General Fund/Special Fund Pool.

     Each state agency executive director shall participate in the Mississippi Management and Reporting System (MMRS) project by appointing an agency implementation team leader to represent them on the MMRS project.  All agencies will be required to implement the MMRS unless exempted from such by the MMRS Steering Committee. If such an exemption is granted, the MMRS Steering Committee may require selected data to be electronically interfaced into the MMRS.

     (6)  In addition to his other duties, the Chief of the Fiscal Management Division shall perform the following services:

          (a)  Maintain a set of control accounts on a double entry accrual basis for each state fund so as to analyze, classify and record all resources, obligations and financial transactions of all state agencies.

          (b)  Submit to the Governor and to the Legislative Budget Office a monthly report containing the state's financial operations and conditions.

          (c)  Approve as to form the manner in which all payrolls shall be prepared; and require each state agency to furnish copies of monthly payrolls as required to the State Fiscal Officer.  The Chief of the Fiscal Management Division shall study the feasibility of a central payroll system for all state officers and employees, and report his findings and recommendations to the Legislature.

          (d)  Require of each state agency, through its governing board or executive head, the maintaining of continuous internal audit covering the activities of such agency affecting its revenue and expenditures, and an adequate internal system of preauditing claims, demands and accounts against such agency as to adequately ensure that only valid claims, demands and accounts will be paid, and to verify compliance with the regulations of the State Personal Service Contract Review Board regarding the execution of any personal service or professional service contracts pursuant to Section 25-9-120(3).  The Fiscal Management Division shall report to the State Fiscal Officer any failure or refusal of the governing board or executive head of any state agency to comply with the provisions of this section.  The State Fiscal Officer shall notify the said board of trustees or executive head of such violation and, upon continued failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this section, then the State Fiscal Officer may require said board of trustees or executive head of such state agency to furnish competent and adequate personnel to carry out the provisions of this section, who shall be responsible to the State Fiscal Officer for the performance of such function with respect to such state agency.  For failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this section or the directions of the State Fiscal Officer, any such employee may be deprived of the power to perform such functions on behalf of the Fiscal Management Division.

     (7)  Every state agency, through the proper officials or employee, shall make such periodic or special reports on forms prescribed by the Chief of the Fiscal Management Division as may be required or necessary to maintain the set of control accounts required.  If any officer or employee of any state agency whose duty it is to do so shall refuse or fail to make such periodic or special reports in such form and in such detail and within such time as the Fiscal Management Division may require in the exercise of this authority, the State Fiscal Officer shall prepare or cause to be prepared and submitted such reports and the expense thereof shall be personally borne by said officer or employee and he or she shall be responsible on his or her official bond for the payment of the expense.  Provided that a negligently prepared report shall be considered as a refusal or failure under the  provisions of this section.

     (8)  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.

     (9)  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 5.  Section 7-17-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     7-17-5.  (1)  Effective July 1, 1989, all employees of any agency abolished or affected by the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989 [Chapter 544, Laws of 1989] shall be transferred according to the merger of their duties by the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989.  All personnel actions initiated as a result of the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989 shall be subject to State Personnel Board procedures.

     (2)  The executive director of any agency of state government as defined in Section 25-9-107(d) shall have the authority to employ staff and to expend funds authorized to the agency for the performance of the duties and responsibilities accorded to the agency by the laws of the State of Mississippi.

     (3)  All records, personnel, property and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations or other funds of any agency or department abolished or affected by the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989 shall be transferred to the appropriate agency according to the merger of their functions under the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989.

     (4)  The executive directors of agencies shall determine which employees shall be bonded, set the amount of bond, which shall be made by a surety company approved by the Secretary of State and the premiums paid as other expenses of administering the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989.

     (5)  The executive director of any agency, where permitted by the rules, regulations and policies of the board, commission or authority of the agency, if any, shall also have authority to:

          (a)  Accept on behalf of the state gifts, trusts, bequests, grants, endowments, or transfers of property of any kind to be used for the sole benefit of the state;

          (b)  Use and expend funds coming to the agency from state, federal and private sources;

          (c)  Establish such rules and regulations as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989;

          (d)  Formulate and administer policies of their respective agencies;

          (e)  Coordinate, supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the agency;

          (f)  Enter into contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency, department or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with the carrying out of the provisions of the Mississippi Executive Reorganization Act of 1989, provided the agreements do not have a financial cost in excess of the amounts appropriated for such purposes by the Legislature;

 * * *(g)  Except where otherwise prescribed by law, prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the agency and the offices thereof, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the agency and any recommendations;

          ( * * *hg)  Make provisions for adoption of rules, regulations and policy and provide for public inspection and filing of same; and other requirements set forth in the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law in Section 25-43-1.101 et seq., except as otherwise provided by law.

     SECTION 6.  Section 17-17-445, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     17-17-445.  (1)  The department shall have the following powers and duties in the administration of the Right-Way-To-Throw-Away Program established under Sections 17-17-439 through 17-17-445:

          (a)  To determine the types of household hazardous wastes to be handled in the program;

          (b)  To approve any collection contractor or contractors used in the implementation of a local household hazardous waste collection and management program;

          (c)  To prepare a request for proposals, select a collection contractor and facilitate the use of that contractor on a statewide basis to conduct all local household hazardous waste collection and management programs;

          (d)  To establish guidelines for the registration and operations of household hazardous waste collection and management programs;

          (e)  To inspect any collection site operated under Sections 17-17-439 through 17-17-445 to insure that collection is performed in a safe and environmentally sound manner;

          (f)  To develop record keeping requirements identifying types and amounts of household hazardous wastes collected, entities submitting household hazardous waste and the points of ultimate disposition; and

 * * *  (g) To submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature summarizing the operation and costs of the program, including location of sites, types and amounts of waste collected, entities disposing of waste at the collection sites and the methods utilized for disposal of the wastes; and

          ( * * *hg)  To exercise any other powers and duties as the department may require to administer the Right-Way-To-Throw-Away Program.

     (2)  The commission may consolidate any grant provided under this section with any grant provided under the local governments solid waste assistance program or the waste tire management program.  Funds provided through any consolidated grant shall be used in accordance with the program under which the funds are provided.

     SECTION 7.  Section 23-15-211.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     23-15-211.1.  (1)  For purposes of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, the Secretary of State is designated as Mississippi's chief election officer.

     (2)  As the chief election officer of the State of Mississippi, the Secretary of State shall have the power and duty to gather sufficient information concerning voting in elections in this state.  The Secretary of State shall gather information on voter participation and submit an annual report to * * *the Legislature, the Governor, the Attorney General and the public.

     SECTION 8.  Section 25-1-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-1-77.  (1)  There is created the Bureau of Fleet Management within the Office of Purchasing, Travel and Fleet Management, Department of Finance and Administration, for the purposes of coordinating and promoting efficiency and economy in the purchase, lease, rental, acquisition, use, maintenance and disposal of vehicles by state agencies.  The Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration may employ a Fleet Management Officer to manage the bureau and carry out its purposes.  The bureau may employ other suitable and competent personnel as necessary.  The bureau shall encourage the use of fuel efficient or hybrid vehicles appropriate for the state agency's intended purpose and, when feasible, the use of alternative fuels or energy sources, including, but not limited to, ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas or electric power.  The bureau shall prepare a fiscal analysis of the cost-effectiveness of using alternative fuel or energy source vehicles by state agencies, and submit a report of that fiscal analysis to the Legislature by December 15, 2009.  Not later than July 1, 2014, at least seventy-five percent (75%) of all vehicles to which the bureau holds title in the name of the state must have a fuel economy estimate by the United States Environmental Protection Agency of forty (40) miles per gallon or higher for highway driving.

     (2)  The Bureau of Fleet Management shall perform the following duties:

          (a)  To hold title in the name of the State of Mississippi to all vehicles currently in possession of state agencies as defined in Section 25-9-107(d) and to assign vehicles to such agencies for use; however, the bureau shall exempt any agency or agency vehicles from the provisions of this paragraph (a) if it determines that state or federal law requires that title be vested only in the agency;

          (b)  To establish rules and regulations for state agency use of vehicles;

          (c)  To gather information and specify proper fleet management practices for state agencies;

          (d)  To acquire fleet management software and require agencies to provide necessary information for the bureau to properly monitor the size, use, maintenance and disposal of the state's fleet of vehicles; the bureau shall communicate regularly with the fleet managers of each state agency to determine strengths and weaknesses of the various fleet operations; the bureau shall disseminate information to the agencies so that each can take advantage of any beneficial practices being incorporated at other entities; the bureau shall promulgate rules and regulations concerning the mileage reimbursement practices of each state agency;

          (e)  To carry out responsibilities relative to budget recommendations as provided in Section 27-103-129;

          (f)  To reassign vehicles in the possession of any state agency if the bureau believes that another state agency can make more efficient use of a vehicle; however, except as otherwise provided in Section 51-11-101, the state agency receiving the reassigned vehicle shall pay to the previous agency's special fund, or if no special fund exists to the State General Fund, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) wholesale value for the vehicle or the estimated amount for which the vehicle would have sold at auction, as shall be determined by the bureau, whichever is less;

          (g)  To investigate at any time the vehicle usage practices of any state agency; and

          (h)  To require each agency to submit to the bureau a vehicle acquisition/use/disposal plan on an annual basis.  From the plans received, the bureau shall evaluate the proposed plans and shall submit a recommendation to the Legislature prior to January 1 of each year.

     (3)  No state department, institution or agency shall purchase, rent, lease or acquire any motor vehicle, regardless of the source of funds from which the motor vehicle is to be purchased, except under authority granted by the Department of Finance and Administration.  The Bureau of Fleet Management, Department of Finance and Administration, shall promulgate rules and regulations governing the purchase, rental, lease or acquisition of any motor vehicle by a state department, institution or agency with regard to the appropriateness of the vehicle to its intended use.  The Bureau of Fleet Management, Department of Finance and Administration, shall only grant authority to purchase, rent, lease or acquire a motor vehicle which is the lowest cost vehicle to carry out its intended use.  Before the disposal or sale of any vehicle, the Bureau of Fleet Management shall make a determination that the lifetime use and mileage of the vehicle has been maximized and that it would not be feasible for another state agency to use the vehicle.

     (4)  The department, institution or agency shall maintain proper documentation which provides the intended use of the vehicle and the basis for choosing the vehicle.  Such documentation shall show that the department, institution or agency made diligent efforts to purchase, rent, lease or acquire a vehicle that is the lowest cost vehicle for its intended use.  Such documentation shall be updated as needed when the intended use of the vehicle or any other facts concerning the vehicle are changed.  All such documentation shall be approved by the State Fleet Officer prior to purchase, rental, lease or acquisition or change in use of any vehicle and shall be maintained and made available for review by the State Auditor, any other reviewing agency and the Legislature.  The Bureau of Fleet Management shall immediately notify the department head of any agency that has a vehicle found to be in violation of the bureau's rules and regulations.  At the same time, the bureau shall notify the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Lieutenant Governor of its findings regarding any such vehicle.  If the violation is not rectified within five (5) days of the notice, then the bureau may seize the vehicle and dispose of it as the bureau deems to be in the best interest of the State of Mississippi.

     (5)  * * *On or before September 1 of each year, the Bureau of Fleet Management shall prepare and deliver to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee a report containing any irregularities that it finds concerning purchases of state‑owned vehicles. [Deleted]

     (6)  The Department of Public Safety and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks may retain any vehicle seized pursuant to the forfeiture laws of this state, and the total number of vehicles assigned to each such agency shall not be reduced by the number of seized vehicles which the agency retains.

     (7)  The Bureau of Fleet Management, upon request, shall grant an exemption from the provisions of this section for only any vehicle assigned to a sworn officer of the Department of Public Safety or of the Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and used in undercover operations when the bureau determines that compliance could jeopardize the life, health or safety of the sworn officer.

     (8)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to any state institution of higher learning.

     (9)  When making requests for authority to purchase, rent, lease or acquire vehicles as provided in subsection (3) of this section, agencies shall submit the lowest cost vehicle possible to carry out its intended use.  Any such request shall be in writing from the agency head, certifying the vehicle requested is the lowest cost option available and acknowledging that any request contrary to this provision shall subject the agency head to penalties as provided in Sections 25-1-91, 31-7-55 and 31-7-57, where applicable.  The Bureau of Fleet Management shall only approve the lowest cost vehicle, which in its estimation, will carry out the intended use.  No agency may purchase any vehicle that the Bureau of Fleet Management has disapproved as being a higher cost option.

     (10)  No requests authorized under subsections (3) and (9) of this section shall be approved by the Bureau of Fleet Management if the requesting agency has not properly maintained in the fleet/asset reporting system all information required by the Bureau of Fleet Management.  Agencies shall correct any inadequacies or discrepancies in the system noted by the Bureau of Fleet Management before the bureau may approve any requests.

     SECTION 9.  Section 25-1-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-1-81.  The Department of Finance and Administration shall refuse to issue warrants upon requisitions drawn in violation of the provisions hereof, and where any expense account is allowed and paid in violation of the provisions of Sections 25-1-77 through 25-1-93, it shall be the duty of the Department of Finance and Administration to withhold the payment of any further expense accounts for the department, agency or institution involved until the amount of the account or accounts illegally paid shall be refunded and repaid to the State of Mississippi by the person receiving or approving same.  It is further provided that the Department of Finance and Administration shall prescribe and deliver to each agency, department or institution a uniform system of expense accounts herein allowed, including a uniform system of depreciation allowance.  All expense accounts for lodging shall be supported by receipted bills showing the payment thereof by such officer or employee.  It is incumbent upon each agency, department or institution to abide by and utilize the method of uniform system of expense accounts so prescribed and delivered by the Department of Finance and Administration.  Each agency, department or institution, in rendering its annual report to the Bureau of Fleet Management * * * and the Legislature, shall show the number of state-owned automobiles purchased and operated during the year, the number purchased and operated out of funds appropriated by the Legislature, the number purchased and operated out of any other public funds, the miles traveled per automobile, the total miles traveled, the average cost per mile, and depreciation estimate on each automobile.  The report shall also show the cost per mile and total number of miles traveled in privately-owned automobiles for which reimbursement is made out of state funds and any other information requested by the Bureau of Fleet Management.

     SECTION 10.  Section 25-1-83, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-1-83.  It is further provided that no funds appropriated by the Legislature or received by any agency, department, or institution from any source whatever shall be used in defraying the expenses of any state employee, other than an officer or department head, in attending a convention, association, or meeting, unless such employee be duly authorized by prior approval in writing of the departmental head or officer in charge of such department, agency, or institution in strict accord with Sections 25-1-79 and 25-1-81.  * * *Each department, agency, or institution in its annual report to the Legislature shall separately show each association, convention, or meeting attended by any of its employees, the purposes thereof, the names of the employees attending, and the total cost to the state of such convention, association, or meeting.

     SECTION 11.  Section 25-9-147, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-9-147.  The State Personnel Board shall review on an annual basis the variable compensation plan adopted by the Legislature at the regular session of 1981 and subsequently implemented by the State Personnel Board.  Each state department or agency subject to the variable compensation plan shall prepare an annual written report under the direction of the head of that department or agency outlining the impact which the plan has had on that department or agency during the preceding fiscal year. Such department or agency report shall be submitted to the State Personnel Board and shall become a part of the board's annual review of the variable compensation plan.  * * *After conducting its annual review of the plan and studying the report of each department or agency, the State Personnel Board shall prepare a written legislative report, to be submitted to the members of the Mississippi Legislature prior to January 1 of each year.  This written report shall accurately reflect the effect of the variable compensation plan on the various departments or agencies subject to the plan.  From and after July 1, 1985, The plan shall be named the "Colonel Guy Groff State Variable Compensation Plan."

     SECTION 12.  Section 25-51-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-51-1.  The Mississippi Library Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "commission," shall be the state depository for the public records issued by any government agency for public distribution * * *, including the annual report required under Section 27‑101‑1.  Each agency publication shall be made available in an electronic form, and the electronic form shall constitute the public record.  The record shall be placed on the official website of the commission.  The libraries of state agencies, public junior colleges, colleges, public universities and public libraries located in the state may also become depositories of state agency publications that are available on the commission's official website, when designated as such by the director of the commission upon the written request of the applicable government agency.

     SECTION 13.  Section 25-53-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-53-5.  The authority shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:

          (a)  (i)  The authority shall provide for the development of plans for the efficient acquisition and utilization of computer equipment and services by all agencies of state government, and provide for their implementation.  In so doing, the authority may use the MDITS' staff, at the discretion of the executive director of the authority, or the authority may contract for the services of qualified consulting firms in the field of information technology and utilize the service of such consultants as may be necessary for such purposes.  Pursuant to Section 25-53-1, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the Department of Human Services for a period of three (3) years beginning on July 1, 2017.  Pursuant to Section 25-53-1, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the Department of Child Protection Services for a period of three (3) years beginning July 1, 2017.

              (ii)  [Repealed]

          (b)  The authority shall immediately institute procedures for carrying out the purposes of this chapter and supervise the efficient execution of the powers and duties of the office of executive director of the authority.  In the execution of its functions under this chapter, the authority shall maintain as a paramount consideration the successful internal organization and operation of the several agencies so that efficiency existing therein shall not be adversely affected or impaired.  In executing its functions in relation to the institutions of higher learning and junior colleges in the state, the authority shall take into consideration the special needs of such institutions in relation to the fields of teaching and scientific research.

          (c)  Title of whatever nature of all computer equipment now vested in any agency of the State of Mississippi is hereby vested in the authority, and no such equipment shall be disposed of in any manner except in accordance with the direction of the authority or under the provisions of such rules and regulations as may hereafter be adopted by the authority in relation thereto.

          (d)  The authority shall adopt rules, regulations, and procedures governing the acquisition of computer and telecommunications equipment and services which shall, to the fullest extent practicable, insure the maximum of competition between all manufacturers of supplies or equipment or services.  In the writing of specifications, in the making of contracts relating to the acquisition of such equipment and services, and in the performance of its other duties the authority shall provide for the maximum compatibility of all information systems hereafter installed or utilized by all state agencies and may require the use of common computer languages where necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.  The authority may establish by regulation and charge reasonable fees on a nondiscriminatory basis for the furnishing to bidders of copies of bid specifications and other documents issued by the authority.

          (e)  The authority shall adopt rules and regulations governing the sharing with, or the sale or lease of information technology services to any nonstate agency or person.  Such regulations shall provide that any such sharing, sale or lease shall be restricted in that same shall be accomplished only where such services are not readily available otherwise within the state, and then only at a charge to the user not less than the prevailing rate of charge for similar services by private enterprise within this state.

          (f)  The authority may, in its discretion, establish a special technical advisory committee or committees to study and make recommendations on technology matters within the competence of the authority as the authority may see fit.  Persons serving on the Information Resource Council, its task forces, or any such technical advisory committees shall be entitled to receive their actual and necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of such duties, together with mileage as provided by law for state employees, provided the same has been authorized by a resolution duly adopted by the authority and entered on its minutes prior to the performance of such duties.

          (g)  The authority may provide for the development and require the adoption of standardized computer programs and may provide for the dissemination of information to and the establishment of training programs for the personnel of the various information technology centers of state agencies and personnel of the agencies utilizing the services thereof.

          (h)  The authority shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations requiring the reporting to the authority through the office of executive director of such information as may be required for carrying out the purposes of this chapter and may also establish such reasonable procedures to be followed in the presentation of bills for payment under the terms of all contracts for the acquisition of computer equipment and services now or hereafter in force as may be required by the authority or by the executive director in the execution of their powers and duties.

          (i)  The authority shall require such adequate documentation of information technology procedures utilized by the various state agencies and may require the establishment of such organizational structures within state agencies relating to information technology operations as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

          (j)  The authority may adopt such further reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary to fully implement the purposes of this chapter.  All rules and regulations adopted by the authority shall be published and disseminated in readily accessible form to all affected state agencies, and to all current suppliers of computer equipment and services to the state, and to all prospective suppliers requesting the same.  Such rules and regulations shall be kept current, be periodically revised, and copies thereof shall be available at all times for inspection by the public at reasonable hours in the offices of the authority.  Whenever possible no rule, regulation or any proposed amendment to such rules and regulations shall be finally adopted or enforced until copies of the proposed rules and regulations have been furnished to all interested parties for their comment and suggestions.

          (k)  The authority shall establish rules and regulations which shall provide for the submission of all contracts proposed to be executed by the executive director for computer equipment or services to the authority for approval before final execution, and the authority may provide that such contracts involving the expenditure of less than such specified amount as may be established by the authority may be finally executed by the executive director without first obtaining such approval by the authority.

          (l)  The authority is authorized to purchase, lease, or rent computer equipment or services and to operate that equipment and use those services in providing services to one or more state agencies when in its opinion such operation will provide maximum efficiency and economy in the functions of any such agency or agencies.

          (m)  Upon the request of the governing body of a political subdivision or instrumentality, the authority shall assist the political subdivision or instrumentality in its development of plans for the efficient acquisition and utilization of computer equipment and services.  An appropriate fee shall be charged the political subdivision by the authority for such assistance.

          (n)  The authority shall adopt rules and regulations governing the protest procedures to be followed by any actual or prospective bidder, offerer or contractor who is aggrieved in connection with the solicitation or award of a contract for the acquisition of computer equipment or services.  Such rules and regulations shall prescribe the manner, time and procedure for making protests and may provide that a protest not timely filed shall be summarily denied.  The authority may require the protesting party, at the time of filing the protest, to post a bond, payable to the state, in an amount that the authority determines sufficient to cover any expense or loss incurred by the state, the authority or any state agency as a result of the protest if the protest subsequently is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been filed without any substantial basis or reasonable expectation to believe that the protest was meritorious; however, in no event may the amount of the bond required exceed a reasonable estimate of the total project cost.  The authority, in its discretion, also may prohibit any prospective bidder, offerer or contractor who is a party to any litigation involving any such contract with the state, the authority or any agency of the state to participate in any other such bid, offer or contract, or to be awarded any such contract, during the pendency of the litigation.

          (o)  * * *The authority shall make a report in writing to the Legislature each year in the month of January.  Such report shall contain a full and detailed account of the work of the authority for the preceding year as specified in Section 25‑53‑29(3). [Deleted]

     All acquisitions of computer equipment and services involving the expenditure of funds in excess of the dollar amount established in Section 31-7-13(c), or rentals or leases in excess of the dollar amount established in Section 31-7-13(c) for the term of the contract, shall be based upon competitive and open specifications, and contracts therefor shall be entered into only after advertisements for bids are published in one or more daily newspapers having a general circulation in the state not less than fourteen (14) days prior to receiving sealed bids therefor.  The authority may reserve the right to reject any or all bids, and if all bids are rejected, the authority may negotiate a contract within the limitations of the specifications so long as the terms of any such negotiated contract are equal to or better than the comparable terms submitted by the lowest and best bidder, and so long as the total cost to the State of Mississippi does not exceed the lowest bid.  If the authority accepts one (1) of such bids, it shall be that which is the lowest and best.

          (p)  When applicable, the authority may procure equipment, systems and related services in accordance with the law or regulations, or both, which govern the Bureau of Purchasing of the Office of General Services or which govern the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services procurement of telecommunications equipment, software and services.

          (q)  The authority is authorized to purchase, lease, or rent information technology and services for the purpose of establishing pilot projects to investigate emerging technologies.  These acquisitions shall be limited to new technologies and shall be limited to an amount set by annual appropriation of the Legislature.  These acquisitions shall be exempt from the advertising and bidding requirement.

          (r)  All fees collected by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services shall be deposited into the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services Revolving Fund unless otherwise specified by the Legislature.

          (s)  The authority shall work closely with the council to bring about effective coordination of policies, standards and procedures relating to procurement of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) resources.  In addition, the authority is responsible for development, operation and maintenance of a delivery system infrastructure for geographic information systems data.  The authority shall provide a warehouse for Mississippi's geographic information systems data.

          (t)  The authority shall manage one or more State Data Centers to provide information technology services on a cost-sharing basis.  In determining the appropriate services to be provided through the State Data Center, the authority should consider those services that:

              (i)  Result in savings to the state as a whole;

              (ii)  Improve and enhance the security and reliability of the state's information and business systems; and

              (iii)  Optimize the efficient use of the state's information technology assets, including, but not limited to, promoting partnerships with the state institutions of higher learning and community colleges to capitalize on advanced information technology resources.

          (u)  The authority shall increase federal participation in the cost of the State Data Center to the extent provided by law and its shared technology infrastructure through providing such shared services to agencies that receive federal funds.  With regard to state institutions of higher learning and community colleges, the authority may provide shared services when mutually agreeable, following a determination by both the authority and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning or the Mississippi Community College Board, as the case may be, that the sharing of services is mutually beneficial.

          (v)  The authority, in its discretion, may require new or replacement agency business applications to be hosted at the State Data Center.  With regard to state institutions of higher learning and community colleges, the authority and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning or the Mississippi Community College Board, as the case may be, may agree that institutions of higher learning or community colleges may utilize business applications that are hosted at the State Data Center, following a determination by both the authority and the applicable board that the hosting of those applications is mutually beneficial.  In addition, the authority may establish partnerships to capitalize on the advanced technology resources of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning or the Mississippi Community College Board, following a determination by both the authority and the applicable board that such a partnership is mutually beneficial.

          (w)  The authority shall provide a periodic update regarding reform-based information technology initiatives to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees.

     From and after July 1, 2018, the expenses of this agency shall be defrayed by appropriation from the State General Fund.  In addition, in order to receive the maximum use and benefit from information technology and services, expenses for the provision of statewide shared services that facilitate cost-effective information processing and telecommunication solutions shall be defrayed by pass-through funding and shall be deposited into the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services Revolving Fund unless otherwise specified by the Legislature.  These funds shall only be utilized to pay the actual costs incurred by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services for providing these shared services to state agencies.  Furthermore, state agencies shall work in full cooperation with the Board of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services to identify computer equipment or services to minimize duplication, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency of providing common technology services across agency boundaries.

     SECTION 14.  Section 25-53-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     25-53-29.  (1)  For the purposes of this section the term "bureau" shall mean the "Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services."  The authority shall have the following powers and responsibilities to carry out the establishment of policy and provide for long-range planning and consulting:

          (a)  Provide a high level of technical expertise for agencies, institutions, political subdivisions and other governmental entities as follows:  planning; consulting; project management; systems and performance review; system definition; design; application programming; training; development and documentation; implementation; maintenance; and other tasks as may be required, within the resources available to the bureau.

          (b)  Publish written planning guides, policies and procedures for use by agencies and institutions in planning future electronic information service systems.  The bureau may require agencies and institutions to submit data, including periodic electronic equipment inventory listings, information on agency staffing, systems under study, planned applications for the future, and other information needed for the purposes of preparing the state master plan.  The bureau may require agencies and institutions to submit any additional data required for purposes of preparing the state master plan.

          (c)  Inspect agency facilities and equipment, interview agency employees and review records at any time deemed necessary by the bureau for the purpose of identifying cost-effective applications of electronic information technology.  Upon conclusion of any inspection, the bureau shall issue a management letter containing cost estimates and recommendations to the agency head and governing board concerning applications identified that would result in staff reductions, other monetary savings and improved delivery of public services.

          (d)  Conduct classroom and on-site training for end users for applications and systems developed by the bureau.

          (e)  Provide consulting services to agencies and institutions or Mississippi governmental subdivisions requesting technical assistance in electronic information services technology applications and systems.  The bureau may submit proposals and enter into contracts to provide services to agencies and institutions or governmental subdivisions for such purposes.

     (2)  The bureau shall annually issue a three-year master plan in writing to the Governor, available on request to any member of the Legislature, including recommended statewide strategies and goals for the effective and efficient use of information technology and services in state government.  The report shall also include recommended information policy actions and other recommendations for consideration by the Governor and members of the Legislature.

 * * * (3) The bureau shall make an annual report in writing to the Governor, available on request to any member of the Legislature, to include a full and detailed account of the work of the authority for the preceding year.  The report shall contain recommendations to agencies and institutions resulting from inspections or consulting contracts.  The report shall also contain a summary of the master plan, progress made, and legislative and policy recommendations for consideration by the Governor and members of the Legislature.

     ( * * *43)  The bureau may charge fees to agencies and institutions for services rendered to them.  The bureau may charge fees to vendors to recover the cost of providing procurement services and  the delivery of procurement awards to public bodies.  The amounts of such fees shall be set by the authority upon recommendation of the Executive Director of the MDITS, and all such fees collected shall be paid into the fund established for carrying out the purposes of this section.

     ( * * *54)  It is the intention of the Legislature that the employees of the bureau performing services defined by this section be staffed by highly qualified persons possessing technical, consulting and programming expertise.  Such employees shall be considered nonstate service employees as defined in Section 25-9-107(c)(x) and may be compensated at a rate comparable to the prevailing rate of individuals in qualified professional consulting firms in the private sector.  Such compensation rates shall be determined by the State Personnel Director.  The number of such positions shall be set by annual appropriation of the Legislature.  Qualifications and compensation of the bureau employees shall be set by the State Personnel Board upon recommendation of the Executive Director of the MDITS.  The total number of positions and classification of positions may be increased or decreased during a fiscal year depending upon work load and availability of funds.

     ( * * *65)  The bureau may, from time to time, at the discretion of the Executive Director of the MDITS, contract with firms or qualified individuals to be used to augment the bureau's professional staff in order to assure timely completion and implementation of assigned tasks, provided that funds are available in the fund established for carrying out the purposes of this section.  Such individuals may be employees of any agency, bureau or institution provided that these individuals or firms meet the requirements of other individuals or firms doing business with the state through the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services.  Individuals who are employees of an agency or institution may contract with the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services only with the concurrence of the agency or institution for whom they are employed.

     From and after July 1, 2018, the expenses of this agency shall be defrayed by appropriation from the State General Fund.  In addition, in order to receive the maximum use and benefit from information technology and services, expenses for the provision of statewide shared services that facilitate cost-effective information processing and telecommunication solutions shall be defrayed by pass-through funding and shall be deposited into the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services Revolving Fund unless otherwise specified by the Legislature.  These funds shall only be utilized to pay the actual costs incurred by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services for providing these shared services to state agencies.  Furthermore, state agencies shall work in full cooperation with the Board of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (MDITS) to identify computer equipment or services to minimize duplication, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency of providing common technology services across agency boundaries.

     SECTION 15.  Section 27-104-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-104-7.  (1)  (a)  There is created the Public Procurement Review Board, which shall be reconstituted on January 1, 2018, and shall be composed of the following members:

              (i)  Three (3) individuals appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate;

              (ii)  Two (2) individuals appointed by the Lieutenant Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; and

              (iii)  The Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration, serving as an ex officio and nonvoting member.

          (b)  The initial terms of each appointee shall be as follows:

              (i)  One (1) member appointed by the Governor to serve for a term ending on June 30, 2019;

              (ii)  One (1) member appointed by the Governor to serve for a term ending on June 30, 2020;

              (iii)  One (1) member appointed by the Governor to serve for a term ending on June 30, 2021;

              (iv)  One (1) member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to serve for a term ending on June 30, 2019; and

              (v)  One (1) member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to serve for a term ending on June 30, 2020.

     After the expiration of the initial terms, all appointed members' terms shall be for a period of four (4) years from the expiration date of the previous term, and until such time as the member's successor is duly appointed and qualified.

          (c)  When appointing members to the Public Procurement Review Board, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall take into consideration persons who possess at least five (5) years of management experience in general business, health care or finance for an organization, corporation or other public or private entity.  Any person, or any employee or owner of a company, who receives any grants, procurements or contracts that are subject to approval under this section shall not be appointed to the Public Procurement Review Board.  Any person, or any employee or owner of a company, who is a principal of the source providing a personal or professional service shall not be appointed to the Public Procurement Review Board if the principal owns or controls a greater than five percent (5%) interest or has an ownership value of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) in the source's business, whichever is smaller.  No member shall be an officer or employee of the State of Mississippi while serving as a voting member on the Public Procurement Review Board. 

          (d)  Members of the Public Procurement Review Board shall be entitled to per diem as authorized by Section 25-3-69 and travel reimbursement as authorized by Section 25-3-41.

          (e)  The members of the Public Procurement Review Board shall elect a chair from among the membership, and he or she shall preside over the meetings of the board.  The board shall annually elect a vice chair, who shall serve in the absence of the chair.  No business shall be transacted, including adoption of rules of procedure, without the presence of a quorum of the board.  Three (3) members shall be a quorum.  No action shall be valid unless approved by a majority of the members present and voting, entered upon the minutes of the board and signed by the chair.  Necessary clerical and administrative support for the board shall be provided by the Department of Finance and Administration.  Minutes shall be kept of the proceedings of each meeting, copies of which shall be filed on a monthly basis with the chairs of the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives and the chairs of the Appropriations Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.

     (2)  The Public Procurement Review Board shall have the following powers and responsibilities:

          (a)  Approve all purchasing regulations governing the purchase or lease by any agency, as defined in Section 31-7-1, of commodities and equipment, except computer equipment acquired pursuant to Sections 25-53-1 through 25-53-29;

          (b)  Adopt regulations governing the approval of contracts let for the construction and maintenance of state buildings and other state facilities as well as related contracts for architectural and engineering services.

     The provisions of this paragraph (b) shall not apply to such contracts involving buildings and other facilities of state institutions of higher learning which are self-administered as provided under this paragraph (b) or Section 37-101-15(m);

          (c)  Adopt regulations governing any lease or rental agreement by any state agency or department, including any state agency financed entirely by federal funds, for space outside the buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Finance and Administration.  These regulations shall require each agency requesting to lease such space to provide the following information that shall be published by the Department of Finance and Administration on its website:  the agency to lease the space; the terms of the lease; the approximate square feet to be leased; the use for the space; a description of a suitable space; the general location desired for the leased space; the contact information for a person from the agency; the deadline date for the agency to have received a lease proposal; any other specific terms or conditions of the agency; and any other information deemed appropriate by the Division of Real Property Management of the Department of Finance and Administration or the Public Procurement Review Board.  The information shall be provided sufficiently in advance of the time the space is needed to allow the Division of Real Property Management of the Department of Finance and Administration to review and preapprove the lease before the time for advertisement begins;

          (d)  Adopt, in its discretion, regulations to set aside at least five percent (5%) of anticipated annual expenditures for the purchase of commodities from minority businesses; however, all such set-aside purchases shall comply with all purchasing regulations promulgated by the department and shall be subject to all bid requirements.  Set-aside purchases for which competitive bids are required shall be made from the lowest and best minority business bidder; however, if no minority bid is available or if the minority bid is more than two percent (2%) higher than the lowest bid, then bids shall be accepted and awarded to the lowest and best bidder.  However, the provisions in this paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the rejection of a bid when only one (1) bid is received.  Such rejection shall be placed in the minutes.  For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "minority business" means a business which is owned by a person who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and who is:

              (i)  Black:  having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa;

              (ii)  Hispanic:  of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin regardless of race;

              (iii)  Asian-American:  having origins in any of the original people of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands;

              (iv)  American Indian or Alaskan Native:  having origins in any of the original people of North America; or

              (v)  Female;

          (e)  In consultation with and approval by the Chairs of the Senate and House Public Property Committees, approve leases, for a term not to exceed eighteen (18) months, entered into by state agencies for the purpose of providing parking arrangements for state employees who work in the Woolfolk Building, the Carroll Gartin Justice Building or the Walter Sillers Office Building;

          (f)  Promulgate rules and regulations governing the solicitation and selection of contractual services personnel including personal and professional services contracts for any form of consulting, policy analysis, public relations, marketing, public affairs, legislative advocacy services or any other contract that the board deems appropriate for oversight, with the exception of any personal service contracts entered into by any agency that employs only nonstate service employees as defined in Section 25-9-107(c), any personal service contracts entered into for computer or information technology-related services governed by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services, any personal service contracts entered into by the individual state institutions of higher learning, any personal service contracts entered into by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, any personal service contracts entered into by the Department of Human Services through June 30, 2019, which the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services determines would be useful in establishing and operating the Department of Child Protection Services, any personal service contracts entered into by the Department of Child Protection Services through June 30, 2019, any contracts for entertainers and/or performers at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds entered into by the Mississippi Fair Commission, any contracts entered into by the Department of Finance and Administration when procuring aircraft maintenance, parts, equipment and/or services, and any contract for attorney, accountant, actuary auditor, architect, engineer, and utility rate expert services.  Any such rules and regulations shall provide for maintaining continuous internal audit covering the activities of such agency affecting its revenue and expenditures as required under Section 7-7-3(6)(d).  Any rules and regulation changes related to personal and professional services contracts that the Public Procurement Review Board may propose shall be submitted to the Chairs of the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives and the Chairs of the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives at least fifteen (15) days before the board votes on the proposed changes, and those rules and regulation changes, if adopted, shall be promulgated in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Act;

          (g)  Approve all personal and professional services contracts involving the expenditures of funds in excess of Seventy-five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00), except as provided in paragraph (f) of this subsection (2) and in subsection (8);

          (h)  Develop mandatory standards with respect to contractual services personnel that require invitations for public bid, requests for proposals, record keeping and financial responsibility of contractors.  The Public Procurement Review Board shall, unless exempted under this paragraph (h) or under paragraph (i) or (o) of this subsection (2), require the agency involved to submit the procurement to a competitive procurement process, and may reserve the right to reject any or all resulting procurements;

          (i)  Prescribe certain circumstances by which agency heads may enter into contracts for personal and professional services without receiving prior approval from the Public Procurement Review Board.  The Public Procurement Review Board may establish a preapproved list of providers of various personal and professional services for set prices with which state agencies may contract without bidding or prior approval from the board;

              (i)  Agency requirements may be fulfilled by procuring services performed incident to the state's own programs.  The agency head shall determine in writing whether the price represents a fair market value for the services.  When the procurements are made from other governmental entities, the private sector need not be solicited; however, these contracts shall still be submitted for approval to the Public Procurement Review Board. 

              (ii)  Contracts between two (2) state agencies, both under Public Procurement Review Board purview, shall not require Public Procurement Review Board approval.  However, the contracts shall still be entered into the enterprise resource planning system.

          (j)  Provide standards for the issuance of requests for proposals, the evaluation of proposals received, consideration of costs and quality of services proposed, contract negotiations, the administrative monitoring of contract performance by the agency and successful steps in terminating a contract;

          (k)  Present recommendations for governmental privatization and to evaluate privatization proposals submitted by any state agency;

          (l)  Authorize personal and professional service contracts to be effective for more than one (1) year provided a funding condition is included in any such multiple year contract, except the State Board of Education, which shall have the authority to enter into contractual agreements for student assessment for a period up to ten (10) years.  The State Board of Education shall procure these services in accordance with the Public Procurement Review Board procurement regulations;

          (m)  Request the State Auditor to conduct a performance audit on any personal or professional service contract;

          (n)  * * *Prepare an annual report to the Legislature concerning the issuance of personal and professional services contracts during the previous year, collecting any necessary information from state agencies in making such report; [Deleted]

          (o)  Develop and implement the following standards and procedures for the approval of any sole source contract for personal and professional services regardless of the value of the procurement:

              (i)  For the purposes of this paragraph (o), the term "sole source" means only one (1) source is available that can provide the required personal or professional service.

              (ii)  An agency that has been issued a binding, valid court order mandating that a particular source or provider must be used for the required service must include a copy of the applicable court order in all future sole source contract reviews for the particular personal or professional service referenced in the court order.

              (iii)  Any agency alleging to have a sole source for any personal or professional service, other than those exempted under paragraph (f) of this subsection (2) and subsection (8), shall publish on the procurement portal website established by Sections 25-53-151 and 27-104-165, for at least fourteen (14) days, the terms of the proposed contract for those services.  In addition, the publication shall include, but is not limited to, the following information:

                   1.  The personal or professional service offered in the contract;

                   2.  An explanation of why the personal or professional service is the only one that can meet the needs of the agency;

                   3.  An explanation of why the source is the only person or entity that can provide the required personal or professional service;

                   4.  An explanation of why the amount to be expended for the personal or professional service is reasonable; and

                   5.  The efforts that the agency went through to obtain the best possible price for the personal or professional service.

              (iv)  If any person or entity objects and proposes that the personal or professional service published under subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph (o) is not a sole source service and can be provided by another person or entity, then the objecting person or entity shall notify the Public Procurement Review Board and the agency that published the proposed sole source contract with a detailed explanation of why the personal or professional service is not a sole source service.

              (v)  1.  If the agency determines after review that the personal or professional service in the proposed sole source contract can be provided by another person or entity, then the agency must withdraw the sole source contract publication from the procurement portal website and submit the procurement of the personal or professional service to an advertised competitive bid or selection process.

                   2.  If the agency determines after review that there is only one (1) source for the required personal or professional service, then the agency may appeal to the Public Procurement Review Board.  The agency has the burden of proving that the personal or professional service is only provided by one (1) source.

                   3.  If the Public Procurement Review Board has any reasonable doubt as to whether the personal or professional service can only be provided by one (1) source, then the agency must submit the procurement of the personal or professional service to an advertised competitive bid or selection process.  No action taken by the Public Procurement Review Board in this appeal process shall be valid unless approved by a majority of the members of the Public Procurement Review Board present and voting.

              (vi)  The Public Procurement Review Board shall prepare and submit a quarterly report to the House of Representatives and Senate Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees that details the sole source contracts presented to the Public Procurement Review Board and the reasons that the Public Procurement Review Board approved or rejected each contract.  These quarterly reports shall also include the documentation and memoranda required in subsection (4) of this section.  An agency that submitted a sole source contract shall be prepared to explain the sole source contract to each committee by December 15 of each year upon request by the committee.

          (p)  Assess any fines and administrative penalties provided for in Sections 31-7-401 through 31-7-423.

     (3)  All submissions shall be made sufficiently in advance of each monthly meeting of the Public Procurement Review Board as prescribed by the Public Procurement Review Board.  If the Public Procurement Review Board rejects any contract submitted for review or approval, the Public Procurement Review Board shall clearly set out the reasons for its action, including, but not limited to, the policy that the agency has violated in its submitted contract and any corrective actions that the agency may take to amend the contract to comply with the rules and regulations of the Public Procurement Review Board.

     (4)  All sole source contracts for personal and professional services awarded by state agencies, other than those exempted under Section 27-104-7(2)(f) and (8), whether approved by an agency head or the Public Procurement Review Board, shall contain in the procurement file a written determination for the approval, using a request form furnished by the Public Procurement Review Board.  The written determination shall document the basis for the determination, including any market analysis conducted in order to ensure that the service required was practicably available from only one (1) source.  A memorandum shall accompany the request form and address the following four (4) points:

          (a)  Explanation of why this service is the only service that can meet the needs of the purchasing agency;

          (b)  Explanation of why this vendor is the only practicably available source from which to obtain this service;

          (c)  Explanation of why the price is considered reasonable; and

          (d)  Description of the efforts that were made to conduct a noncompetitive negotiation to get the best possible price for the taxpayers.

     (5)  In conjunction with the State Personnel Board, the Public Procurement Review Board shall develop and promulgate rules and regulations to define the allowable legal relationship between contract employees and the contracting departments, agencies and institutions of state government under the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Board, in compliance with the applicable rules and regulations of the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal employment tax purposes.  Under these regulations, the usual common law rules are applicable to determine and require that such worker is an independent contractor and not an employee, requiring evidence of lawful behavioral control, lawful financial control and lawful relationship of the parties.  Any state department, agency or institution shall only be authorized to contract for personnel services in compliance with those regulations. 

     (6)  No member of the Public Procurement Review Board shall use his or her official authority or influence to coerce, by threat of discharge from employment, or otherwise, the purchase of commodities, the contracting for personal or professional services, or the contracting for public construction under this chapter.

     (7)  Notwithstanding any other laws or rules to the contrary, the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall not be applicable to the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport.

     (8)  Nothing in this section shall impair or limit the authority of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System to enter into any personal or professional services contracts directly related to their constitutional obligation to manage the trust funds, including, but not limited to, actuarial, custodial banks, cash management, investment consultant and investment management contracts.

     (9)  Notwithstanding the exemption of personal and professional services contracts entered into by the Department of Human Services and personal and professional services contracts entered into by the Department of Child Protection Services from the provisions of this section under subsection (2)(f), before the Department of Human Services or the Department of Child Protection Services may enter into a personal or professional service contract, the department(s) shall give notice of the proposed personal or professional service contract to the Public Procurement Review Board for any recommendations by the board.  Upon receipt of the notice, the board shall post the notice on its website and on the procurement portal website established by Sections 25-53-151 and 27-104-165.  If the board does not respond to the department(s) within seven (7) calendar days after receiving the notice, the department(s) may enter the proposed personal or professional service contract.  If the board responds to the department(s) within seven (7) calendar days, then the board has seven (7) calendar days from the date of its initial response to provide any additional recommendations.  After the end of the second seven-day period, the department(s) may enter the proposed personal or professional service contract.  The board is not authorized to disapprove any proposed personal or professional services contracts.  This subsection shall stand repealed on July 1, 2022.

     SECTION 16.  Section 27-105-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-105-21.  All institutions and departments which withdraw funds from the State Treasury, all agencies and departments of the state government whose funds are not deposited in the State Treasury, and all agencies and departments of the state government which maintain imprest funds are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to deposit their funds, except and less an amount approved by the auditor which shall be sufficient to cover disbursements for current operations, at interest with any qualified depository of the state at a rate of interest numerically equal to or greater than one-half of one percent (˝ of 1%) below the bank discount rate on United States Treasury bills of comparable maturity as determined by the State Depository Commission. Such institutions and departments may, to the extent that they are unable to invest in certificates of deposit for periods of fourteen (14) days or longer at a rate numerically equal to or greater than one-half of one percent (˝ of 1%) below the treasury bill rate, deposit funds in sums of less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) in such other type of interest-bearing account as may be now or hereafter authorized by law. Interest earned on funds withdrawn from the General Fund shall be deposited in the General Fund; interest earned on other funds shall be deposited to the fund from which the investment was made, unless otherwise required by law.  * * *Any agency not reporting through the State Treasurer’s office shall file with the Legislature an annual report showing monthly balances, monthly investments and interest earned for the preceding fiscal year or part thereof. A depository holding funds pursuant to this section shall be eligible to hold such funds to the extent that it is qualified as a depository for state funds.

     SECTION 17.  Section 31-1-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     31-1-19.  The acts of the Legislature shall be labeled "Laws of Mississippi" including the year of their passage, and the label shall indicate whether the laws are "general" or "local and private"; and if enacted at an extraordinary session, the label shall so indicate.  The journals of the Legislature shall be labeled "House Journal-Mississippi," and "Senate Journal-Mississippi," respectively, and the year of the session shall be indicated thereon; and if for an extraordinary session, the label shall so indicate.  The bound copies of the department reports shall be labeled "Department Reports, State of Mississippi," and the label shall disclose the year covered by the reports.

 * * * The department reports consist of the Governor’s message and the annual reports of all offices, boards, commissions, agencies and institutions.

     SECTION 18.  Section 31-3-14, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     31-3-14.  (1)  In addition to the fees required for application and renewal for certification and registration of all contractors in Section 31-3-13, all holders of a certificate of responsibility shall pay a fee equal to Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) at the time of application or renewal of certificates of responsibility.  Any residential builder licensed under the provisions of Section 73-59-1 et seq. shall be exempt from the fee imposed under this section.  The revenue derived from such additional fees shall be deposited into a fund to be known as the "Construction Education Fund," a special fund created in the State Treasury, and distributed by the State Board of Contractors created in Section 31-3-3, to the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, public high schools and community colleges that participate in the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation's "school-to-work" program, state universities that have construction technology programs, the Mississippi Housing Institute and certain construction educational trusts approved by the State Board of Contractors in the manner hereinafter provided to offer courses for construction education and construction craft training to meet the needs of the construction industry of the State of Mississippi. 

     (2)  The State Board of Contractors shall, on an annual basis, solicit from the Mississippi state institutions of higher learning, all the public community and junior colleges, the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, public high schools that participate in the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation's "school-to-work" program and certain construction educational trusts, applications for the use of such funds in construction education and craft training programs in a manner prescribed by the board.  The board may appoint a technical advisory committee to advise the board on the most needed areas of construction education and craft training, continuing education or research relating to the construction education and craft training in the state, based on significant changes in the construction industry's practices, economic development or on problems costing public or private contractors substantial waste.  The board shall ensure that the monies distributed from this fund are properly spent to promote construction education and craft training in programs in the state which are approved by the board.  At least seventy-five percent (75%) of the monies distributed by the board, pursuant to this section, must be used for construction craft training with the exception of the Mississippi Housing Institute. 

     (3)  Each university, junior college, community college, the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, public high school that participates in the foundation's "school-to-work" program and construction educational trust receiving funds pursuant to this section for construction education or construction craft training programs shall utilize such funds only for construction education and craft training curricula and program development, faculty development, equipment, student scholarships, student assistantships, and for continuing education programs related to construction education and craft training.  Such funds shall not be commingled with the normal operating funds of the educational institution, regardless of the source of such funds.

     (4)  The State Board of Contractors shall ensure the distribution of reports and the availability of construction education programs established pursuant to this section to all segments of the construction industry that are subject to the fee provided under this section. * * *  The board shall cause a report to be made to the Legislature in October of each year, summarizing the allocation of funds by institution or program and summarizing the new projects funded and the status of previously funded projects.

     (5)  All monies deposited into the Construction Education Fund shall be used exclusively for construction education and craft training, and any unspent funds at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund of the State Treasury but shall be available for construction education and craft training in subsequent fiscal years.

     (6)  All monies deposited into the Construction Education Fund collected from residential builders licensed under the provisions of Section 73-59-1 et seq. shall be used exclusively for licensed home builders' education and professional development and any unspent funds at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund of the State Treasury but shall be available for construction education and craft training in subsequent fiscal years.

     (7)  All expenditures from the Construction Education Fund shall be by requisition to the State Auditor, signed by the executive director of the board and countersigned by the chairman or vice chairman of the board, and the State Treasurer shall issue his warrants thereon.

     SECTION 19.  Section 31-17-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     31-17-41.  The state bond retirement commission shall keep full and accurate minutes of its proceedings. Full and complete records of all transactions made under the authority of Sections 31-17-27 through 31-17-43 and of all sums received into and disbursed from * * *said the state bond retirement revolving fund shall be kept by the secretary * * *; and an annual report thereof shall be made by the commission, which shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State and be subject to public inspection. A full report of such transactions and of all such receipts and disbursements shall be made to each regular session of the legislature.

     SECTION 20.  Section 33-11-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     33-11-18.  (1)  In order to conserve and promote timber development at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the State Forestry Commission is directed to lend its services, advice and recommendations to the Adjutant General of Mississippi in developing a sound timber management program on state-owned lands in * * *said the military reservation.

     (2)  The Adjutant General is authorized and empowered to sell such trees, timber, stumps, naval stores faces or other forest products on state-owned lands in the military reservation at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as shall be recommended by the State Forestry Commission and to secure the services of the State Forestry Commission in the reforestation and use of planting, cutting and practices recommended by the State Forestry Commission.  The Adjutant General, however, is empowered to cut timber to provide clearing for military purposes and for rights-of-way without recommendation of the State Forestry Commission, and is authorized to sell such timber at the prevailing scale without advertising for bids, when the value thereof is estimated at less than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) by the State Forestry Commission.  Based on the recommendation and value estimate of the State Forestry Commission, the Adjutant General is authorized to sell at the prevailing price, without advertising for bids, timber which has been damaged by storm, fire, insect, disease or otherwise.  Based on recommendations by the State Forestry Commission, as provided by the Timber Management Program, the Adjutant General may dispose of nonmarketable timber that is diseased or has been deadened by the State Forestry Commission, authorizing noncommercial public cutting when considered in the best interest of the state.  Provided, however, that before any other sale of timber may be made as herein authorized, the Adjutant General shall advertise for bids on * * *said the timber in a newspaper of general circulation in the State of Mississippi at least once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks prior to the date upon which bids are to be received.

     The Adjutant General is hereby authorized to pay all of the funds derived from any timber and other forest product sales on state-owned lands in * * *said the reservation into a special fund in the State Treasury, which shall be a revolving fund, to be used for the maintenance, development and improvement of * * *said the military reservation at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and out of which the Adjutant General may pay the State Forestry Commission the cost incurred by the State Forestry Commission in selecting and cutting trees, tree planting, elimination of undesirable trees and shrubs, construction of fire lanes, control of insect and disease outbreaks, and other desirable aspects of forest management practices on this military reservation for the benefit of this military reservation.

     The Adjutant General of Mississippi, with concurrence of the Commission of Budget and Accounting, may pay from available Camp Shelby timber funds, restitution for timber and/or minerals cut and/or removed without permission, by employees or authorized agents of the State Military Department, from private property whose sales, use or damage shall have enriched and/or benefited the State Military Department.

     The funds derived from any timber and other forest product sales as herein provided shall be paid by the State Treasurer upon warrants issued by the State * * *Auditor of Public Accounts Fiscal Officer, and the * * *said auditor fiscal officer shall issue his warrant upon requisitions signed by the proper person, officer or officers in the manner provided by law for funds appropriated for support of the Mississippi National Guard.

 * * * The Adjutant General shall make an annual report to the Legislature on receipts and disbursements in connection with all funds derived from minerals, timber and other forest product sales on state‑owned lands at the Camp Shelby military reservation.

     SECTION 21.  Section 33-15-309, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     33-15-309.  (1)  The director shall administer this article and shall have the authority to adopt reasonable rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this article.

     (2)  A state agency, when requested by the director in accordance with Section 33-15-11(b)(7) or 33-15-11(c)(2) and current executive orders, shall render services and perform duties within its areas of responsibility necessary to carry out the purpose of this article.

     (3)  Each project application executed between a local agency and the director pursuant to subsection (4) of Section 33-15-313 shall contain a provision under which the local agency agrees to hold the state harmless from damages due to the work for which funds were allocated.

 * * * (4)  Before the convening of the Legislature each year, the director shall submit a written report to the Governor and the Legislature relating to the operation of the trust fund.

     ( * * *54)  When certified by the director, requests for reimbursements, advances or final payments from local or state agencies shall be presented to the Department of Finance and Administration for payment out of the trust fund.

     SECTION 22.  Section 37-1-12, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-1-12.  The State Board of Education shall develop and promulgate regulations for annual reports from school districts * * * and from the State Department of Education to the Legislature.  Such regulations shall eliminate duplication, make effective use of technology * * * and enable the Legislature to monitor education in Mississippi.  These regulations may include methods to reduce redundant reporting requirements and eliminate inadequate performance measures, and the State Board of Education may include any proposed legislative amendments to state law necessary to improve statewide reporting mandates.

     SECTION 23.  Section 37-4-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-4-11.  (1)  The purpose of this section is to insure the uniform management, oversight and accountability of the state-funded Industrial Training Programs, * * *and postsecondary Adult Short-Term Training Programs and Workforce Education Programs administered by the Mississippi Community College Board for adults provided to the citizens of Mississippi.

     (2)  Effective July 1, 1999, all state-funded Industrial Training Programs and postsecondary Adult Short-term Training Programs administered by and through the State Department of Education on June 30, 1999, shall be transferred to the Workforce Education Program of the Mississippi Community College Board.  The Legislature shall appropriate annually to the Mississippi Community College Board funds necessary to administer these programs.

     (3)  Effective July 1, 1999, all funds, unexpended balances, assets, liabilities and property of the State Department of Education which are used in the delivery of postsecondary Adult Short-term Training Programs and Industrial Training Programs, excluding funds, unexpended balances, assets, liabilities and property associated with the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University, shall be transferred to the Workforce Education Program funds of the Mississippi Community College Board.  The State Department of Education also shall transfer to the Mississippi Community College Board all positions and funds employed by the State Department of Education and community colleges which render industrial training, postsecondary adult short-term training or workforce education services, including the seven (7) administrative and support positions providing support to these programs.  Sufficient staff positions shall be transferred from the State Department of Education, which will have a reduction in training and educational responsibilities by virtue of this section, to the Mississippi Community College Board to assure that the transferred responsibilities will be properly managed and administered.  Any funds available to the State Department of Education for Industrial Training Programs and state-funded postsecondary Adult Short-term Training Programs which are subject to carryover shall be transferred to the Work Force Carryover Fund established by Chapter 498, Laws of 1995, for use by the Mississippi Community College Board, on or before August 15, 1999.

     (4)  The Mississippi Community College Board shall develop an accountability system that shall report and describe all classes taught in the area of workforce education, the number of persons taught in these classes, and the location and cost of each class taught.  To assess the impact of these programs, the Mississippi Community College Board also shall report:

          (a)  Whether the needs of industry have been met through training program offerings;

          (b)  Any changes in the income of trainees between the completion of training and the date of the report;

          (c)  The number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained through the programs; and

          (d)  Trainee success in passing proficiency tests, where applicable.

 * * * This information shall be reported on a fiscal year basis and shall be provided to the House and Senate Education Committees before December 15 of each year.

     SECTION 24.  Section 37-13-60.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-13-60.1.  (1)  The Mississippi State Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, hereinafter "SOICC," is hereby designated as the entity responsible for the operation and management of an occupational information system to support career development in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, high schools, postsecondary institutions and human service agencies pursuant to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act of 1984, Public Law 98-524, Section 422(b).

     (2)  SOICC shall develop and incorporate Mississippi-specific occupational and educational information to implement a career information delivery system for this state.

     (3)  SOICC shall train local staff in the use and operation of the career information delivery system in the career development process.

     (4)  SOICC shall establish the criteria pursuant to which appropriated funds will be distributed to local users of the career information delivery system.

 * * * (5)On or before January 1 of each year, SOICC shall report to the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee of the Mississippi Legislature its assessment of the effectiveness and usefulness of the career information delivery system in the advancement of career development for state public school students.

     ( * * *65)  SOICC is authorized to impose reasonable fees on users of the career information delivery system in order to defray a portion of the expense incurred in the operation and management of the career information delivery system.

     SECTION 25.  Section 37-21-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-21-51.  (1)  As used in this section:

          (a)  "Preschool or prekindergarten children" means any children who have not entered kindergarten but will have obtained four (4) years of age on or before September 1 of a school year.

          (b)  An "early learning collaborative" is a district or countywide council that writes and submits an application to participate in the voluntary prekindergarten program.  An early learning collaborative is comprised, at a minimum, of a public school district and/or a local Head Start affiliate if in existence, private or parochial schools, or one or more licensed child care centers.  Agencies or other organizations that work with young children and their families may also participate in the collaborative to provide resources and coordination even if those agencies or organizations are not prekindergarten providers.

          (c)  A "prekindergarten provider" is a public, private or parochial school, licensed child care center or Head Start center that serves prekindergarten children and participates in the voluntary prekindergarten program.

          (d)  A "lead partner" is a public school district or other nonprofit entity with the instructional expertise and operational capacity to manage the early learning collaborative's prekindergarten program as described in the collaborative's approved application for funds.  The lead partner serves as the fiscal agent for the collaborative and shall disburse awarded funds in accordance with the collaborative's approved application.  The lead partner must facilitate a professional learning community for the teachers in the prekindergarten program and lead the collaborative.  The lead partner ensures that the collaborative adopts and implements curriculum and assessments that align with the comprehensive early learning standards.  The public school district shall be the lead partner if no other qualifying lead partner is selected.

          (e)  "Comprehensive early learning standards" are standards adopted by the State Board of Education that address the highest level of fundamental domains of early learning to include, but not be limited to, physical well-being and motor development, social/emotional development, approaches toward learning, language development and cognition and general knowledge.  The comprehensive early learning standards shall also include standards for emergent literacy skills, including oral communication, knowledge of print and letters, phonological and phonemic awareness, and vocabulary and comprehension development.

          (f)  A "research-based curriculum" is an age-appropriate curriculum that is based on the findings of current research and has been found to be effective in improving student learning.

     (2)  To ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood education and development services, the Legislature finds and declares the following:

          (a)  Parents have the primary duty to educate their young preschool children;

          (b)  The State of Mississippi can assist and educate parents in their role as the primary caregivers and educators of young preschool children;

          (c)  There is a need to explore innovative approaches and strategies for aiding parents and families in the education and development of young preschool children; and

          (d)  There exists a patchwork of prekindergarten entities but no coordination of services and there needs to be a coordination of these services.

     (3)  (a)  This subsection shall be known and may be cited as the "Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013."

          (b)  Effective with the 2013-2014 school year, the Mississippi State Department of Education shall establish a voluntary prekindergarten program, which shall be a collaboration among the entities providing prekindergarten programs including Head Start, licensed child care facilities and licensed public, parochial and private school prekindergarten programs.  This program shall be implemented no later than the 2014-2015 school year.  Enrollment in the prekindergarten program shall be coordinated with the Head Start agencies in the local areas and shall not be permitted to cause a reduction in children served by the Head Start program.  Under this program, eligible entities may submit an application for funds to (i) defray the cost of additional and/or more qualified teaching staff, appropriate educational materials and equipment and to improve the quality of educational experiences offered to four-year-old children in early care and education programs, and/or to (ii) extend developmentally appropriate education services at such programs currently serving four-year-old children to include practices of high quality instruction, and to (iii) administer, implement, monitor and evaluate the programs, and to (iv) defray the cost of professional development and age-appropriate child assessment.

          (c)  Subject to the availability of funds appropriated therefor, the State Department of Education shall administer the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the voluntary prekindergarten program, including awards and the application process.

              (i)  The department shall establish a rigorous and transparent application process for the awarding of funds.  Lead partners shall submit the applications on behalf of their early learning collaborative.

              (ii)  The department will establish monitoring policies and procedures that, at a minimum, will include at least one (1) site visit a year.

              (iii)  The department will provide technical assistance to collaboratives and their providers to improve the quality of prekindergarten programs.

              (iv)  The department will evaluate the effectiveness of each early childhood collaborative and each prekindergarten provider.  If the State Department of Education adopts a statewide kindergarten screening that assesses the readiness of each student for kindergarten, the State Department of Education shall adopt a minimum rate of readiness that each prekindergarten provider must meet in order to remain eligible for prekindergarten program funds.  Each parent who enrolls his or her child in the prekindergarten program must submit the child for the statewide kindergarten screening, regardless of whether the child is admitted to kindergarten in a public school.

          (d)  Prekindergarten program funds shall be awarded to early childhood collaboratives whose proposed programs meet the program criteria.  The criteria shall include:

              (i)  Voluntary enrollment of children;

              (ii)  Collaboration among prekindergarten providers and other early childhood programs through the establishment of an early learning collaborative;

              (iii)  Qualifications of master teachers, teachers and assistants, which must conform to guidelines in Section 37-21-3;

              (iv)  At least fifteen (15) hours of annual professional development for program instructional staff, including professional development in early literacy;

              (v)  The use of state-adopted comprehensive early learning standards;

              (vi)  The use of a research-based curriculum that is designed to prepare students to be ready for kindergarten, with emphasis in early literacy, and is aligned with the comprehensive early learning standards;

              (vii)  The use of age-appropriate assessments aligned to the comprehensive early learning standards;

              (viii)  Teacher/child ratios of one (1) adult for every ten (10) children with a maximum of twenty (20) children per classroom and a minimum of five (5) children per classroom;

              (ix)  The provision of at least one (1) meal meeting state and federal nutrition guidelines for young children;

              (x)  Plans to screen and/or refer children for vision, hearing and other health issues;

              (xi)  Parent involvement opportunities;

              (xii)  Plans to serve children with disabilities as indicated under IDEA;

              (xiii)  The number of instructional hours to be provided, which shall equal no less than five hundred forty (540) instructional hours per school year for half-day programs and one thousand eighty (1,080) instructional hours per school year for full-day programs; and

              (xiv)  A budget detailing the use of funds for allowed expenses.

     Participating child care centers shall:  (a) meet state child care facility licensure requirements unless exempted under Section 43-20-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, and (b) select and utilize a nationally recognized assessment tool, approved by the State Department of Education, designed to document classroom quality, which must be in place not later than July 1, 2016, as certified by the State Department of Education.

     Within the prekindergarten program, a prekindergarten provider must comply with the antidiscrimination requirements applicable to public schools.  A prekindergarten provider may not discriminate against a parent or child, including the refusal to admit a child for enrollment in the prekindergarten program, in violation of these antidiscrimination requirements.  However, a prekindergarten provider may refuse to admit a child based on the provider's standard eligibility guidelines, provided that these guidelines do not violate the antidiscrimination requirements.  Consistent with the Legislature's recognition of the primacy of a parent's role in the education of a preschool-age child and the related recognition of the state in assisting and educating parents in that role, if the State Department of Education adopts a statewide kindergarten screening that assesses the readiness of each student for kindergarten, the State Department of Education shall recognize each child's unique pattern of development when adopting a minimum rate of readiness that prekindergarten providers must meet in order to remain eligible for prekindergarten program funds.  Each parent who enrolls his or her child in the prekindergarten program may submit the child for the statewide kindergarten screening, regardless of whether the child is admitted to kindergarten in a public school.

     The State Department of Education may add program criteria not inconsistent with these requirements and shall develop policies and procedures to implement and enforce these criteria.

          (e)  The State Department of Education shall ensure that early learning collaboratives provide each parent enrolling a child in the voluntary prekindergarten program with a profile of every prekindergarten provider participating in the collaborative's geographic catchment area.  The State Department of Education shall prescribe the information to be included in each profile as well as the format of the profiles.  At a minimum, the profiles must include the prekindergarten provider's services, curriculum, instructor credentials and instructor-to-student ratio.

          (f)  A teacher, assistant teacher or other employee whose salary and fringe benefits are paid from state funds under this act shall only be classified as a state or local school district employee eligible for state health insurance benefits or membership in the Public Employees' Retirement System, if the person's employer is already an agency or instrumentality of the state, such as a school district, and the employee would be eligible for such benefits in the normal course of business.

          (g)  Funding shall be provided for this program beginning with the 2014 fiscal year subject to appropriation by the Legislature as provided in paragraph (h) of this subsection.  * * *The department shall make an annual report to the Legislature and the Governor regarding the effectiveness of the program. The PEER Committee shall review * * *those reports and other program data and submit an independent evaluation of program operation and effectiveness to the Legislature and the Governor on or before October 1 of the calendar year before the beginning of the next phased-in period of funding.

          (h)  (i)  The Legislature shall appropriate funds to implement the Early Education Collaborative Act of 2013 on a phased-in basis as follows:

                   1.  The first phase shall be based on an annual state appropriation of not more than Eight Million Dollars ($8,000,000.00) and shall serve approximately three thousand five hundred (3,500) children through five (5) to eight (8) early learning collaboratives and their prekindergarten providers;

                   2.  The second phase shall be based on an annual state appropriation of not more than Sixteen Million Dollars ($16,000,000.00) and shall serve approximately seven thousand (7,000) children through ten (10) to fifteen (15) early learning collaboratives and their prekindergarten providers;

                   3.  The third phase shall be based on an annual state appropriation of not more than Thirty-three Million Nine Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($33,950,000.00) and shall serve approximately fifteen thousand (15,000) children through twenty (20) to twenty-five (25) early learning collaboratives and their prekindergarten providers.

              (ii)  Future phases shall be based on interest in the program and the effectiveness of the program as determined by the school readiness of participants.  Each phase shall last for at least three (3) years but no more than five (5) years.  The State Department of Education shall determine when to move to a new phase of the program, within the timeline provided herein.

              (iii)  Funding shall be provided to early learning collaboratives on the basis of Two Thousand One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($2,150.00) per student in a full-day program and One Thousand Seventy-five Dollars ($1,075.00) per student in a half-day program proposed in the collaborative's approved application.  Once an early learning collaborative's plan is approved and funded, the collaborative and/or its prekindergarten providers shall receive funds on an ongoing basis unless the collaborative and/or its prekindergarten providers no longer meet the criteria to participate in the program.

              (iv)  Early learning collaboratives shall match state funds on a 1:1 basis.  Local matching funds may include local tax dollars, federal dollars as allowed, parent tuition, philanthropic contributions, or in-kind donations of facilities, equipment and services required as part of the program such as food service or health screenings.

              (v)  The State Department of Education shall reserve no more than five percent (5%) of the appropriation in any year for administrative costs.  Funds remaining after awards to early learning collaboratives and the department's administrative needs are met may be carried over in the following year.  In the first year of implementation of the program, the department may delay the awarding of funds until the 2014-2015 school year should time not be sufficient to establish the program's operation prior to the 2013-2014 school year.

              (vi)  In the initial phase of implementation, the State Department of Education shall award state funds under the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 based on a community's capacity, commitment and need.  To determine capacity, commitment and need, the State Department of Education shall require evidence of existing strong local collaborations of early education stakeholders.  Such evidence shall include, but not be limited to, collaborations resulting from any of the following:

                   1.  Participation in Excel By 5;

                   2.  Participation in supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK);

                   3.  Participation in the Gilmore Early Learning Initiative (GELI); or

                   4.  Participation in the Mississippi Building Blocks.

     In determining community need, the department shall consider low academic achievement within the public school districts participating in an applicant early learning collaborative and the number and percentage of children without quality prekindergarten options.

              (vii)  All authority granted to the State Department of Education to establish program rules is subject to the public processes established in the provisions of the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law, including, but not limited to, filing notice of the proposed rules, public hearings and any economic impact statement with the Office of the Secretary of State before presenting such information to the State Board of Education for final approval.

     SECTION 26.  Section 37-27-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-27-25.  The board of trustees of agricultural high schools shall make detailed statements of receipts and disbursements to the board or boards of supervisors and the county superintendent or superintendents of education annually on the first Monday of July.  The county superintendent of education shall transmit to the state superintendent of public education * * *, a copy of * * *said the detailed statement * * * which shall be embodied in his annual report to the legislature.

     SECTION 27.  Section 37-28-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-28-31.  (1)  The authorizer shall monitor annually the performance and legal compliance of each charter school it oversees, including collecting and analyzing data to support the school's evaluation according to the charter contract.  The authorizer may conduct or require oversight activities that enable the authorizer to fulfill its responsibilities under this chapter, including conducting appropriate inquiries and investigations, so long as those activities are consistent with the intent of this act, adhere to the terms of the charter contract and do not unduly inhibit the autonomy granted to charter schools.

     (2)  * * *As part of its annual report to the Legislature, The authorizer shall publish and provide a performance report for each charter school it oversees in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.  The report must be made available to the public * * * at the same time as it is submitted to the Legislature.  The authorizer may require each charter school it oversees to submit an annual report to assist the authorizer in gathering complete information about each school, consistent with the performance framework.

     (3)  If a charter school's performance or legal compliance is unsatisfactory, the authorizer shall notify promptly the charter school of the problem and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy the problem unless the problem warrants revocation, in which case the revocation timeframes will apply.

     (4)  The authorizer may take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions in response to apparent deficiencies in a charter school's performance or legal compliance.  If warranted, the actions or sanctions may include requiring a charter school to develop and execute a corrective action plan within a specified timeframe.

     SECTION 28.  Section 37-28-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-28-37.  * * *(1)  Before October 1 of each year, beginning in the year that the state has had at least one (1) charter school operating for a full school year, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board shall issue to the Governor, Legislature, State Board of Education and the public an annual report on the state's charter schools for the preceding school year.  The report must include a comparison of the performance of charter school students with the performance of academically, ethnically and economically comparable groups of students in the school district in which a charter school is located.  In addition, the report must include the authorizer's assessment of the successes, challenges and areas for improvement in meeting the purposes of this chapter.  The report also must include an assessment on whether the number and size of operating charter schools are sufficient to meet demand, as calculated according to admissions data and the number of students denied enrollment based on lottery results.  The report due from the authorizer under this section must be coordinated with reports due from charter school governing boards, as near as possible, to decrease or eliminate duplication.

(2)  The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) shall prepare an annual report assessing the sufficiency of funding for charter schools, the efficacy of the state formula for authorizer funding, and any suggested changes in state law or policy necessary to strengthen the state's charter schools. 

     SECTION 29.  Section 37-33-161, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-33-161.  In carrying out his duties under this chapter, the Executive Director of the State Department of Rehabilitation Services:

          (a)  Shall, with the approval of the board, promulgate regulations governing personnel standards, the protection of records and confidential information, the manner and form of filing applications, eligibility and investigation and determination therefor, for vocational rehabilitation and other rehabilitation services, procedures for fair hearings and such other regulations as he finds necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter and in conformity with federal law;

          (b)  Shall, with the approval of the board, establish appropriate subordinate administrative units within the department;

          (c)  Shall prepare and submit to the board * * *and the Legislature annual reports of activities and expenditures and, before each regular session of the Legislature, coordinate budget requests required for carrying out this chapter and estimates of the amounts to be made available for this purpose from all sources;

          (d)  Shall be empowered to exercise executive and administrative supervision over all institutions, offices, programs and services now existing or hereafter acquired or created under the jurisdiction of the department;

          (e)  Shall make certification for disbursement, in accordance with regulations, of funds available, for implementing the purposes of this chapter;

          (f)  Shall, with the approval of the board, take such other action as he deems necessary or appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter;

          (g)  May, with the approval of the board, delegate to any officer or employee of the department such of his powers and duties as he finds necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

     SECTION 30.  Section 37-33-261, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-33-261.  * * *(1)  Such assessments as are collected under subsections (1) and (2) of Section 99-19-73, shall be deposited in a special fund that is created in the State Treasury and designated the Spinal Cord and Head Injury Trust Fund.  Unexpended amounts remaining in the Spinal Cord and Head Injury Trust Fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and all interest received from the investment of monies in the trust fund shall be credited to the trust fund and shall not be deposited into the State General Fund.  Monies deposited in the fund shall be expended beginning in fiscal year 1997 by the Department of Rehabilitation Services as authorized and appropriated by the Legislature for the following purposes:

     Providing the cost of care for spinal cord and traumatic brain injury as a payer of last resort to residents of the State of Mississippi for a multilevel program of rehabilitation as prescribed in Sections 37-33-251 through 37-33-259.  Authorization of expenditures for spinal cord injury care and traumatic brain injury care from this trust fund shall be made only by the Department of Rehabilitation Services.  Authorized expenditures shall include three (3) or more of the following forms of assistance:  acute care; rehabilitation; transitional living; assistive technology services, devices and equipment; respite care; transportation; housing; home modifications; and other services and/or assistance as deemed appropriate by the advisory council for individuals with spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries to accomplish a successful re-entry into the community.  Such activities may also include expanding the public's awareness of how spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries occur and how they can be prevented and identifying advanced treatment and prevention techniques.  Other authorized expenditures may include costs associated with salary and other support costs for personnel sufficient to carry out the program or to subcontract all or part of the authorized services, and to pay the travel and meeting expenses of the advisory council.

 * * * (2)  The department shall issue a report to the Legislature and the Governor by January 1 of each year, summarizing the activities supported by the trust fund.

     SECTION 31.  Section 37-35-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-35-11.  The Mississippi Community College Board shall determine policies and procedures for administration of this program.

     Funds provided under this section and Section 37-35-9 can be used for matching federal funds if such become available.

     Funds provided under this section and Section 37-35-9 shall be allocated to schools and community/junior colleges on an average of twelve (12) to fifteen (15) adult students per class in average attendance, for one hundred fifty (150) hours maximum instruction per class.  Funds will be allocated on a basis of target population by county for general educational development preparatory classes based on adults who have from nine (9) to eleven (11) years of schooling as indicated by the 1990 census. Schools and community/junior colleges will receive one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of general educational development preparatory classes.  All classes funded under this section and Section 37-35-9 shall be considered temporary and shall be renewed only as long as participation is adequate for continued funding.

 * * * An annual report on program activities, adult participation and results shall be prepared by the Mississippi Community College Board and submitted to the Mississippi Legislature within the first month of regular legislative session each year.

     SECTION 32.  Section 37-67-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-67-1.  (1)  This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Distance Learning Collaborative Act of 2016."

     (2)  As used in this section:

          (a)  "Distance learning" means a method of delivering education and instruction on an individual basis to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom.  Distance learning provides access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.  Distance learning courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason other than taking examinations may be referred to as hybrid or blended courses of study.

          (b)  "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Education.

          (c)  A "distance learning collaborative" means a school or schools that write and submit an application to participate in the voluntary distance learning program.  A distance learning collaborative is comprised, at a minimum, of a public school district, and may include an agency or other nonprofit organization approved by the State Department of Education to provide distance learning resources.

          (d)  A "lead partner" is a public school district or other nonprofit entity with the instructional expertise and operational capacity to manage the Distance Learning Collaborative Program as described in the approved application for funds.  The lead partner serves as the fiscal agent for the collaborative and shall disburse awarded funds in accordance with the collaborative's approved application.  The lead partner ensures that the collaborative adopts and implements the Distance Learning Collaborative Program consistent with the standards adopted by the State Board of Education.  The public school district shall be the lead partner if no other qualifying lead partner is selected.

     (3)  Effective with the 2016-2017 school year, the Mississippi State Department of Education shall establish a voluntary distance learning grant program which shall be a collaboration among the entities providing distance learning services for students.  The Distance Learning Collaborative Program shall provide financial assistance to encourage and improve distance learning education services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers and rural residents.  Grants are for projects where the benefit is primarily delivered to end users who are not at the same location as the source of the education service.

     (4)  Distance Learning Collaborative Grants may be used to:

          (a)  Acquire the following types of equipment:  (i) computer hardware and software; (ii) audio and video equipment; (iii) computer network components; (iv) terminal equipment; (v) data terminal equipment; (vi) inside wiring; (vii) interactive video equipment; and (viii) other facilities that further distance learning technology services.

          (b)  Acquire instructional programming for distance learning programs.

          (c)  Acquire technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment.

          (d)  The cost of tuition and fees for students to participate over and above the available federal Perkins Loans or Stafford Loans which are loaned directly to qualifying students to assist in covering the cost of distance learning funding.

          (e)  Any interest charges that accumulate during a student's degree program for the utilization of distance learning services.

     (5)  Subject to the availability of funds appropriated therefor, the State Department of Education shall administer the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the voluntary Distance Learning Collaborative Program, including awards and the application process.  The department shall establish a rigorous and transparent application process for the awarding of funds.  Lead partners shall submit the application on behalf of their distance learning collaborative.  The department will establish monitoring policies and procedures that shall include at least one (1) site visit per year.  The department will provide technical assistance to collaboratives and their providers to improve the quality of distance learning services.  The department will evaluate the effectiveness of each distance learning collaborative.

     (6)  Distance Learning Collaborative Program funds shall be awarded to distance learning collaboratives whose proposed programs meet the program criteria established by the State Board of Education which shall include the following:

          (a)  Distance learning programs shall be approved and registered with the State Department of Education and course content must be aligned with state standards.

          (b)  Distance learning instructors shall complete professional development training in online methodology and technical aspects of web-based instruction, and may be credentialed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

          (c)  Transcript equivalency of grades between online and traditional classes.  Student enrollment and credits awarded shall be made in accordance with regulations jointly approved by the State Board of Education, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

          (d)  Curriculum standards for online courses.

          (e)  Classroom "seat time" requirements for online courses.

          (f)  Accountability for student achievement, including methods to assess online course completion rates.

     (7)  A teacher, assistant teacher or other employee whose salary and fringe benefits are paid from state funds allocated for the Distance Learning Collaborative Program shall only be classified as a state or local school district employee eligible for state health insurance benefits or membership in the Public Employees' Retirement System, if the person's employer is already a public school district or an agency or instrumentality of the state, and the employee would be eligible for such benefits in the normal course of business.

     (8)  Funding shall be provided for the Distance Learning Collaborative Program beginning with the 2016-2017 fiscal year subject to appropriation by the Legislature, and the Legislature may appropriate funds to implement the program on a phased-in basis.  The State Department of Education may receive and expend contributions and funding from private sources for the administration and implementation of the Distance Learning Collaborative Program.  In the initial phase of implementation, the State Department of Education shall award state funds based on a community's capacity, commitment and need in order to encourage and improve distance learning services in rural areas.  * * *The department shall make an annual report to the Legislature and the Governor regarding the effectiveness of the Distance Learning Collaborative Program, and The PEER Committee shall review * * *those reports and other program data and submit an independent evaluation of the program operation and effectiveness to the Legislature and the Governor on or before October 1 of the calendar year before the beginning of the next phased-in period of funding.  The State Department of Education shall reserve no more than five percent (5%) of the appropriation in any year for administrative costs.  Funds remaining after awards to distance learning collaboratives may be carried over in the following year.

     (9)  The lead partner of a distance learning collaborative and the local school district shall compile information about online learning programs for high school students to earn college credit and place the information on its website.  Examples of information to be compiled and placed on the website include links to providers of approved online learning programs, comparisons among various types of online programs regarding awarding of credit, advantages and disadvantages of online learning programs, and other general assistance and guidance for students, teachers and counselors in selecting and considering online learning programs.  Public high schools shall ensure that teachers and counselors have information about online learning programs for high school students to earn college or university credit and are able to assist parents and students in accessing the information.  Distance learning collaboratives shall ensure that parents and students have opportunities to learn about online learning programs under this section.

     SECTION 33.  Section 37-101-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-101-15.  (a)  The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall succeed to and continue to exercise control of all records, books, papers, equipment, and supplies, and all lands, buildings, and other real and personal property belonging to or assigned to the use and benefit of the board of trustees formerly supervising and controlling the institutions of higher learning named in Section 37-101-1.  The board shall have and exercise control of the use, distribution and disbursement of all funds, appropriations and taxes, now and hereafter in possession, levied and collected, received, or appropriated for the use, benefit, support, and maintenance or capital outlay expenditures of the institutions of higher learning, including the authorization of employees to sign vouchers for the disbursement of funds for the various institutions, except where otherwise specifically provided by law.

     (b)  The board shall have general supervision of the affairs of all the institutions of higher learning, including the departments and the schools thereof.  The board shall have the power in its discretion to determine who shall be privileged to enter, to remain in, or to graduate therefrom.  The board shall have general supervision of the conduct of libraries and laboratories, the care of dormitories, buildings, and grounds; the business methods and arrangement of accounts and records; the organization of the administrative plan of each institution; and all other matters incident to the proper functioning of the institutions.  The board shall have the authority to establish minimum standards of achievement as a prerequisite for entrance into any of the institutions under its jurisdiction, which standards need not be uniform between the various institutions and which may be based upon such criteria as the board may establish.

     (c)  The board shall exercise all the powers and prerogatives conferred upon it under the laws establishing and providing for the operation of the several institutions herein specified.  The board shall adopt such bylaws and regulations from time to time as it deems expedient for the proper supervision and control of the several institutions of higher learning, insofar as such bylaws and regulations are not repugnant to the Constitution and laws, and not inconsistent with the object for which these institutions were established.  The board shall have power and authority to prescribe rules and regulations for policing the campuses and all buildings of the respective institutions, to authorize the arrest of all persons violating on any campus any criminal law of the state, and to have such law violators turned over to the civil authorities.

     (d)  For all institutions specified herein, the board shall provide a uniform system of recording and of accounting approved by the State Department of Audit.  The board shall annually prepare, or cause to be prepared, a budget for each institution of higher learning for the succeeding year which must be prepared and in readiness for at least thirty (30) days before the convening of the regular session of the Legislature.  All relationships and negotiations between the State Legislature and its various committees and the institutions named herein shall be carried on through the board of trustees.  No official, employee or agent representing any of the separate institutions shall appear before the Legislature or any committee thereof except upon the written order of the board or upon the request of the Legislature or a committee thereof.

     (e)  * * *For all institutions specified herein, the board shall prepare an annual report to the Legislature setting forth the disbursements of all monies appropriated to the respective institutions.  Each report to the Legislature shall show how the money appropriated to the several institutions has been expended, beginning and ending with the fiscal years of the institutions, showing the name of each teacher, officer, and employee, and the salary paid each, and an itemized statement of each and every item of receipts and expenditures.  Each report must be balanced, and must begin with the former balance.  If any property belonging to the state or the institution is used for profit, the reports shall show the expense incurred in managing the property and the amount received therefrom.  The reports shall also show a summary of the gross receipts and gross disbursements for each year and shall show the money on hand at the beginning of the fiscal period of the institution next preceding each session of the Legislature and the necessary amount of expense to be incurred from said date to January 1 following.  The board shall keep the annual expenditures of each institution herein mentioned within the income derived from legislative appropriations and other sources, but in case of emergency arising from acts of providence, epidemics, fire or storm with the written approval of the Governor and by written consent of a majority of the senators and of the representatives it may exceed the income.  The board shall require a surety bond in a surety company authorized to do business in this state of every employee who is the custodian of funds belonging to one or more of the institutions mentioned herein, which bond shall be in a sum to be fixed by the board in an amount that will properly safeguard the * * *said those funds, the premium for which shall be paid out of the funds appropriated for * * *said those institutions.

     (f)  The board shall have the power and authority to elect the heads of the various institutions of higher learning and to contract with all deans, professors, and other members of the teaching staff, and all administrative employees of * * *said those institutions for a term not exceeding four (4) years.  The board shall have the power and authority to terminate any such contract at any time for malfeasance, inefficiency, or contumacious conduct, but never for political reasons.  It shall be the policy of the board to permit the executive head of each institution to nominate for election by the board all subordinate employees of the institution over which he presides.  It shall be the policy of the board to elect all officials for a definite tenure of service and to reelect during the period of satisfactory service.  The board shall have the power to make any adjustments it thinks necessary between the various departments and schools of any institution or between the different institutions.

     (g)  The board shall keep complete minutes and records of all proceedings which shall be open for inspection by any citizen of the state.

     (h)  The board shall have the power to enter into an energy performance contract, energy services contract, on a shared-savings, lease or lease-purchase basis, for energy efficiency services and/or equipment as prescribed in Section 31-7-14.

     (i)  The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, for and on behalf of Jackson State University, is hereby authorized to convey by donation or otherwise easements across portions of certain real estate located in the City of Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, for right-of-way required for the Metro Parkway Project.

     (j)  In connection with any international contract between the board or one (1) of the state's institutions of higher learning and any party outside of the United States, the board or institution that is the party to the international contract is hereby authorized and empowered to include in the contract a provision for the resolution by arbitration of any controversy between the parties to the contract relating to such contract or the failure or refusal to perform any part of the contract.  Such provision shall be valid, enforceable and irrevocable without regard to the justiciable character of the controversy.  Provided, however, that in the event either party to such contract initiates litigation against the other with respect to the contract, the arbitration provision shall be deemed waived unless asserted as a defense on or before the responding party is required to answer such litigation.

     (k)  The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning ("board"), on behalf of any institution under its jurisdiction, shall purchase and maintain business property insurance and business personal property insurance on all university-owned buildings and/or contents as required by federal law and regulations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as is necessary for receiving public assistance or reimbursement for repair, reconstruction, replacement or other damage to those buildings and/or contents caused by the Hurricane Katrina Disaster of 2005 or subsequent disasters.  The board is authorized to expend funds from any available source for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining that property insurance.  The board is authorized to enter into agreements with the Department of Finance and Administration, local school districts, community/junior college districts, community hospitals and/or other state agencies to pool their liabilities to participate in a group business property and/or business personal property insurance program, subject to uniform rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Department of Finance and Administration.

     (l)  The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, or its designee, may approve the payment or reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses incurred by candidates for open positions at the board's executive office or at any of the state institutions of higher learning, when the job candidate has incurred expenses in traveling to a job interview at the request of the board, the Commissioner of Higher Education or a state institution of higher learning administrator.

     (m)  (i)  The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is authorized to administer and approve contracts for the construction and maintenance of buildings and other facilities of the state institutions of higher learning, including related contracts for architectural and engineering services, which are paid for with self-generated funds.

          (ii)  Additionally, the board is authorized to oversee, administer and approve contracts for the construction and maintenance of buildings and other facilities of the state institutions of higher learning, including related contracts for architectural and engineering services, which are funded in whole or in part by general obligation bonds of the State of Mississippi at institutions designated annually by the board as being capable to procure and administer all such contracts.  Prior to the disbursement of funds, an agreement for each project between the institution and the Department of Finance and Administration shall be executed.  The approval and execution of the agreement shall not be withheld by either party unless the withholding party provides a written, detailed explanation of the basis for withholding to the other party.  The agreement shall stipulate the responsibilities of each party, applicable procurement regulations, documentation and reporting requirements, conditions prior to, and schedule of, disbursement of general obligation bond funds to the institution and provisions concerning handling any remaining general obligation bonds at the completion of the project.  Such agreement shall not include provisions that constitute additional qualifications or criteria that act to invalidate the designation of an institution as capable of procuring and administering such project.  Inclusion of any such provisions may be appealed to the Public Procurement Review Board.  This subparagraph (ii) shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 2022.

     SECTION 34.  Section 37-101-293, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-101-293.  (1)  Within the limits of the funds available to any state agency for such purpose, the administrative head of such state agency may grant paid educational leave on a part-time or full-time basis and reimburse employees for educational expenses such as tuition, books and related fees to pursue undergraduate or graduate level education to those applicants deemed qualified.

     It is the intent of the Legislature that such educational leave program shall be used as an incentive for employees to develop job-related skills and to develop employees for higher-level professional and management positions.

     (2)  In order to be eligible for paid educational leave, reimbursement for educational expenses or both, an applicant must:

          (a)  Be working at a state agency for at least three (3) years at the time of application or be working at a state agency at the time of application for part-time graduate level education in a particular profession deemed by the administrative head of the state agency to meet a critical need within the state agency;

          (b)  Attend any college or school located in the State of Mississippi and approved by the administrative head of such agency, unless such course of study is not available at a Mississippi college or school, in which case the applicant may attend an out-of-state college or school;

          (c)  Agree to work as an employee in the same state agency for at least three (3) full years after completion of the course of study or, in the case of employees on educational leave on a part-time basis or receiving reimbursement for educational expenses only, to work for a time prorated based upon the total amount of expenses, including leave, paid for by the agency.

     (3)  (a)  Before being granted paid educational leave, or being approved for reimbursement of educational expense or both, each applicant shall enter into a contract with the state agency, which shall be deemed a contract with the State of Mississippi, agreeing to the terms and conditions upon which the paid educational leave will be granted to him.  The contract shall include such terms and provisions necessary to implement the purpose and intent of this section.  The form of such contract shall be prepared by the Attorney General of this state and approved by the State Personnel Board, and shall be signed by the administrative head of the state agency and signed by the recipient.  If the recipient is a minor, his minority disabilities shall be removed by a chancery court of competent jurisdiction before the contract is signed.

          (b)  Educational expenses for tuition, books and associated fees shall be reimbursed to the employee only after the employee has submitted documentation that the approved course has been successfully completed.

          (c)  If the recipient does not work as an employee in that state agency for the period of employment specified in the contract, the recipient shall be liable for repayment on demand of the remaining portion of the compensation that he or she was paid while on paid educational leave and educational expenses paid, with interest accruing at ten percent (10%) per annum from the recipient's date of graduation, or the date that the recipient last worked at that state agency, whichever is the later date.  In addition, there shall be included in any contract for paid educational leave a provision for liquidated damages equal to Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) per year for each year remaining to be served under such contract.

          (d)  If any recipient fails or withdraws from school at any time before completing his or her education, the recipient shall be liable for repayment on demand of the amount of the total compensation that he or she was paid while on paid educational leave, with interest accruing at ten percent (10%) per annum from the date the recipient failed or withdrew from school.  However, if the recipient remains or returns to work in the same position he or she held in the same state agency prior to accepting educational leave, he or she shall not be liable for payment of any interest on the amount owed.

          (e)  The state agency shall have the authority to cancel any contract made between it and any recipient for paid educational leave or educational expenses or both upon such cause being deemed sufficient by the administrative head of the agency.

          (f)  The state agency is vested with full and complete authority and power to sue in its own name any recipient for any balance due the state on any such uncompleted contract, which suit shall be conducted and handled by the Attorney General of the state.

          (g)  Persons who default on contracts entered into under this section shall have the default determined and lose their professional health care licenses under the procedures provided in Section 37-101-291.

     (4)  At the discretion of the administrative head of the state agency, any recipient who is granted paid educational leave by the state agency, including nurses, shall be compensated by such agency as prescribed by the State Personnel Board during the time he or she is in school.  For employees who are on educational leave on a full-time basis, the State Personnel Board shall establish a maximum salary amount at which any employee may be paid full compensation while on educational leave and shall establish a deduction ratio or reduced percentage rate of compensation to be paid to all employees compensated at a salary level above such maximum salary amount.  No recipient of full-time educational leave shall accrue personal or major medical leave while he or she is on paid educational leave.

 * * * (5)  Each state agency granting paid educational leave to employees or reimbursing educational expenses or both shall file an annual report with the Legislature which shall detail for each recipient of paid educational leave the position of the employee, the cost of the educational assistance and the degree program and school attended.

     ( * * *65)  Within the limits of funds available to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, the Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health may grant educational leave to medical residents of the University of Mississippi and pay a stipend in an amount not to exceed the salary of a medical resident.  In order to be eligible for paid educational leave under this subsection, the applicant must be approved by the Department of Mental Health Educational Leave Committee and meet all obligations established under agreements between the Department of Mental Health and the University of Mississippi and regulations promulgated by the Board of Mental Health.  The recipient shall fulfill his or her obligation under this program on an annual pro rata basis for each year on paid education leave.

     SECTION 35.  Section 37-106-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-106-11.  (1)  The members of the board shall serve without pay.

     (2)  The board is hereby vested with full and complete authority and power to sue in its own name any person for any balance, including principal, interest and reasonable collection costs or attorney's fees, due and owing the state on any uncompleted contract.

     (3)  The board shall promulgate rules and regulations to govern the state grant and forgivable loan programs authorized in this chapter.

     (4)  When appropriate, the board shall administer the Nissan Scholarship Program.

 * * * (5)  All funds administered by the board shall be accounted for in an annual report that shall be submitted to the Legislature within ten (10) days after the convening thereof each year.  The report should detail for each grant or forgivable loan program the number of recipients, the total amount of awards made, and the average award amount.  The report shall include the number of students at each institution receiving financial assistance and the amount of the assistance.  For forgivable loan programs, the report shall also include a summary of the repayment status and method of repayment for student cohorts as well as an accounting of the receipt of funds in repayment.

     SECTION 36.  Section 37-106-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-106-43.  (1)  There is hereby established an intern educational program to be designated as the Mississippi Public Management Graduate Intern Program to be administered by the board through a program coordinator.  The program shall consist of not more than thirty-six (36) positions in the general fields of public management, program analysis and public administration.  These positions shall not be included in the number of employees allowed by law within a particular state agency.  Graduate intern students shall be temporarily assigned by the program coordinator to specific state or local agencies and offices, including offices of the Legislature.  Each participating agency or office shall not employ more than four (4) graduate intern students per year.  To qualify for the program, a student must (a) be enrolled as a graduate student in a state university masters program in public administration, public policy and administration, or criminal justice administration; and (b) have committed himself to a field of graduate study directly related to a state or local government public managerial position.

     (2)  There is hereby created the Mississippi Intern Public Management Education Council to consist of the following members:  The chairmen of the various departments of Mississippi institutions of higher learning that offer graduate programs in one of the following:  public administration, public policy and administration, and criminal justice administration.  The council shall elect from its membership a chairman, which shall be a rotating, one-year appointment.  The council shall meet at the place and time designated by the chairman at least twice but no more than six (6) times per year.

     (3)  The council shall adopt, amend and repeal the rules and regulations as it deems necessary to establish standards and ensure the orderly execution of the objectives of the intern educational program, not inconsistent with the provisions of this section.  The regulations shall be submitted to the board for implementation by the program coordinator.  The council shall review and evaluate the program on a yearly basis and submit its findings to the program coordinator.

     (4)  There is hereby created the position of Program Coordinator who shall be the Chief Administrative Officer of the Mississippi Public Management Graduate Intern Program.  The program coordinator shall be appointed by and be an employee of the agency.

     (5)  The program coordinator shall administer the policies of the council and supervise and direct all technical activities of the program.  The coordinator shall select students to participate in the program based upon the nominees of the participating state institutions of higher learning.  No participating university shall be allotted less than three (3) intern students per year unless the university nominates less than three (3) students.  The coordinator shall place the intern students in state or local agencies which agree in writing to participate in the program.

 * * * (6)  The program coordinator shall prepare and deliver to the Legislature and to the Governor an annual report describing the operation and progress of the Mississippi Public Management Graduate Intern Program, including a detailed statement of expenditures and any recommendations the board may have.

     ( * * *76)  It shall be the duty and responsibility of universities participating in the intern program to nominate qualified graduate students to the program and to keep the program coordinator fully apprised of the academic development of the intern student, including any change in the student's educational status.

     ( * * *87)  State or local agencies participating in the intern program shall employ intern students with the expectation that they shall contribute to agency policy decisions, participate in managerial activities, and deliver agency services.  Intern graduate students shall receive compensation on the basis of their professional work experience, but shall receive no less than Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00) per month or Four Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($4,500.00) for a six-month work period.  In addition to the salary, students shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses and mileage authorized by law for travel to seminars, workshops and training sessions, as well as other related professional travel expenses.  When the student has received his graduate degree, the agency may offer him a permanent position with the state or local agency or office, assuming funding and position openings are available.

     ( * * *98)  Intern students shall submit an evaluation of the intern program and an assessment of its educational value to the program coordinator at the end of each work period.

     SECTION 37.  Section 37-106-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-106-55.  (1)  There is established the "Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program," the purpose of which is to attract qualified teachers to those geographical areas of the state and those subject areas of the curriculum where there exists a critical shortage of teachers by awarding forgivable loans to persons declaring an intention to serve in the teaching field who actually render service to the state while possessing an appropriate teaching license.

     (2)  Individuals shall not be eligible to enroll in the Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship Program after the 2014-2015 academic year, and in subsequent years individuals are encouraged to apply to the Teaching Fellows Program established in Section 37-106-77.  Any individual who is enrolled in or accepted for enrollment at a teacher education program approved by the State Board of Education or other program at a baccalaureate degree-granting institution of higher learning in the State of Mississippi and has a passing score on the Praxis I Basic Skills Test who expresses in writing an intention to teach in a geographical area of the state or a subject area of the public school curriculum in which there exists a critical shortage of teachers, as designated by the State Board of Education, shall be eligible for a forgivable loan to be applied toward the costs of the individual's college education.  The annual amount of the award shall be equal to the total cost for tuition, room and meals, books, materials and fees at the college or university in which the student is enrolled, not to exceed an amount equal to the highest total cost of tuition, room and meals, books, materials and fees assessed by a state institution of higher learning during that school year.  Awards made to nonresidents of the state shall not include any amount assessed by the college or university for out-of-state tuition.

     (3)  Awards granted under the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program shall be available to both full-time and part-time students.  Students enrolling on a full-time basis may receive a maximum of two (2) annual awards.  The maximum number of awards that may be made to students attending school on a part-time basis, and the maximum time period for part-time students to complete the number of academic hours necessary to obtain a baccalaureate degree in education, shall be established by rules and regulations promulgated by the board.  Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loans shall not be based upon an applicant's financial need.

     (4)  Awards granted under the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program shall be made available to nontraditional licensed teachers showing a documented need for student loan repayment and employed in those school districts designated by the State Board of Education as a geographical area of the state or in a subject area of the curriculum in which there is a critical shortage of teachers.  The maximum annual amount of this repayment should not exceed Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00) and the maximum time period for repayment shall be no more than four (4) years.

     (5)  Except in those cases where employment positions may not be available upon completion of licensure requirements, at the beginning of the first school year in which a recipient of a Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan is eligible for employment as a licensed teacher or a nontraditional teacher intern pursuant to Section 37-3-2(6)(b), that person shall begin to render service as a licensed teacher or nontraditional teacher intern in a public school district in a geographical area of the state or a subject area of the curriculum where there is a critical shortage of teachers, as approved by the State Board of Education.

     (6)  Failure to repay any loan and interest that becomes due shall be cause for the revocation of a person's teaching license by the State Board of Education.

     (7)  Repayment and conversion terms shall be the same as those outlined in Section 37-106-53.

     (8)  The board shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the proper administration of the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program.

 * * *(9)  The State Board of Education shall compile and report, in consultation with the board, an annual report with findings and recommendations to the legislative committees on education by December 1, 2003, and annually thereafter, on the following:

  (a)  The number of participants in the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program, by institution and by freshman, sophomore, junior and senior level;

  (b)  The number of nontraditional teacher license program participants;

  (c)  The number of individuals who completed the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program and the school district in which they are employed;

  (d)  The number of individuals who are in default of their obligation under the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program and the status of their obligation;

  (e)  The number of participants in the program who have successfully completed the Praxis examination in their junior year; and

  (f)  The number of noneducation majors participating in the program.

     ( * * *109)  Where local school districts exhibit financial need, the State Department of Education may, subject to the availability of funds specifically appropriated therefor by the Legislature, provide financial assistance for the recruitment of certified teachers in an amount not to exceed Seventy-five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00) annually.

     This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2021.

     SECTION 38.  Section 37-151-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-151-10.  * * *(1)  There is established a Center for Education Analysis which shall be an advisory group attached to the Public Education Forum of Mississippi.  The Center for Education Analysis shall create a structure to systematically collect, compile and coordinate data that can be disseminated to business, legislative and education entities for decision-making purposes relating to public education.  The Center for Education Analysis may enter into a contractual agreement with the Public Education Forum of Mississippi in order to place the center within the administrative framework of the Public Education Forum under the following conditions:

          (a)  All new programs authorized in this section are subject to the availability of funds specifically appropriated therefor by the Legislature from the Education Enhancement Fund to the Public Education Forum for the support and maintenance of the programs of the Center for Education Analysis.

          (b)  The Public Education Forum will provide a business framework to coordinate its recommendations and reports with the programs of the Center for Education Analysis.

          (c)  The Public Education Forum shall employ a director for the Center for Education Analysis with appropriate qualifications.  Any public funds expended pursuant to this section shall be audited by the Mississippi Department of Audit.

     There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be known as the "Center for Education Analysis Fund."  Monies may be expended out of such funds pursuant to appropriation by the Legislature, to implement the public education analysis program established under the provisions of this section.  Disbursements from such fund shall be made only upon requisition of the Director for the Center for Education Analysis.

 * * * (2)  The Center for Education Analysis established in subsection (1) shall develop and submit to the Legislature and the Governor an annual report on the implementation of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula and the Interim School District Capital Expenditure Fund program.  The first report shall be submitted on January 1, 1999, relating to implementation of the adequate education program and interim capital expenditure program activities during the preceding fiscal year, and shall be submitted annually on January 1 of each subsequent year until January 1, 2003, at which time the report shall become a distinct part of the Mississippi Report Card describing the one hundred percent (100%) implementation of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula.  The annual report shall include the following:

(a)  A description of the amount of Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds available to each school district during the phase‑in period compared to the amount of funds available upon full implementation of the funding formula;

  (b)  A description of each school district's capital expenditure plan, including:

   (i)  A listing of the school district facilities to be constructed, purchased, repaired, renovated, remodeled or enlarged, with designation of the nature of each such project as new construction, retrofitting/renovation, or site work and/or preparation;

   (ii)  For each completed capital improvement project and upon the completion of any approved capital expenditure plan, a listing by individual project of:

    (A)  The total dimensions of each construction, renovation or site preparation project;

    (B)  The total project cost in dollars;

    (C)  The project cost per square foot of newly constructed space or, in the case of renovation, per square foot of the principal structure affected by such renovation;

    (D)  The total cost of all furniture and equipment per project;

    (E)  The total amount of nonconstruction fees per project;

    (F)  The total of other costs associated with the project not otherwise included in items (A) through (E) above; and

    (G)  The number of classrooms created and/or affected by the project;

   (iii)  A listing of all school district State Aid Capital Improvement Bonds secured by Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds issued by school districts and the capital improvements funded through such bond issue;

   (iv)  A description of any other local bond issue proceeds combined with such funds for capital improvement purposes; and

   (v)  Any other appropriate information relating to capital improvements by school districts as determined by the State Board of Education;

  (c)  An annual assessment of the impact of additional funding under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program on such school districts with less than a Level III accreditation; and

  (d)  An annual assessment of the impact of teacher recruitment incentives on the employment of licensed teachers in critical teacher shortage geographic areas, including, but not limited to, all incentive programs authorized under House Bill No. 609, 1998 Regular Session [Laws, 1998, Chapter 544].

     SECTION 39.  Section 37-151-97, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-151-97.  The State Department of Education shall develop an annual reporting process to inform * * *the Legislature, local district personnel and the general public as to the ongoing and future plans for the state's educational programs.  The annual reporting process will include those vital statistics that are commonly reported by schools and districts and that can provide clear demographic, strategic and educational information to constituencies such as, but not limited to, the following information:

          (a)  Student enrollment, attendance, drop-out and graduation;

          (b)  Overall student and district achievement;

          (c)  Budget, administrative costs and other pertinent fiscal information, including:

              (i)  The receipts and disbursements of all school funds handled by the board;

              (ii)  Reports of expenditures for public schools, which, upon request must be made available on an individual district basis by the State Department of Education;

                   1.  Total Student Expenditures:

                        a.  Instruction (1000s);

                        b.  Other Student Instructional Expenditures (2100s, 2200s);

                   2.  General Administration (2300s and 2500s);

                   3.  School Administration (2400s);

                   4.  Other Expenditures (2600s, 2700s, 2800s, 3100s, 3200s); and

                   5.  Nonoperational Expenditures (4000s, 5000s, 6000s);

              (iii)  The number of school districts, schoolteachers employed, school administrators employed, pupils taught and the attendance record of pupils therein;

              (iv)  County and district levies for each school district and agricultural high school;

              (v)  The condition of vocational education, a list of schools to which federal and state aid has been given, and a detailed statement of the expenditures of federal funds and the state funds that may be provided, and the ranking of subjects taught as compared with the state's needs.

          (d)  Other as directed by the State Board of Education.

     Further, the reporting process will include an annual report developed specifically to relate the mission and goals of the State Board of Education, state superintendent and departments.  This document will become the method through which the strategic planning and management process of the department is articulated to the public.  It will explain and inform the public of the major initiatives of the department and clearly identify rationale for program development and/or elimination.  The report will establish benchmarks, future plans and discuss the effectiveness of educational programs.

     In addition to the information specified herein, the State Board of Education shall have full and plenary authority and power to require the furnishing of such further, additional and supplementary information as it may deem necessary for the purpose of determining the cost of the adequate education program in such school district for the succeeding fiscal year, the amount of the adequate education program funds to be allotted to each school district for the succeeding fiscal year, and for any other purpose authorized by law or deemed necessary by * * *said the State Board of Education.

     It shall be the duty of the State Department of Education to prescribe the forms for the reports provided for in this section.

     SECTION 40.  Section 39-3-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     39-3-107.  The Mississippi Library Commission, upon request, shall give advice to all schools, public and other libraries, and to all communities which may propose to establish them, as to the best means of establishing and maintaining such libraries, the selection of books, cataloging and other details of library management.  It may also purchase and operate traveling libraries, and circulate such traveling libraries within the state among communities, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, library associations, study clubs, charitable and penal institutions free of cost, except for transportation, and establish county and regional libraries and use any funds, separate and apart from the general library commission funds, which might come into its custody from any source, for such purpose, and for the purpose of establishing, stimulating, increasing, improving and equalizing library service in the various counties within the state, under such rules for safekeeping, preservation, care, handling of the books and allocation of the funds as may be fixed by the commission.  It may publish such lists and circulars of information as it shall deem necessary, and it may also conduct a summer school of library instruction and a clearinghouse for periodicals for free gifts to local libraries.  The commission shall each year obtain from all libraries in the state reports showing the condition, growth, development and manner of conducting such libraries, together with such other facts and statistics regarding the same as may be deemed of public interest by the commission * * *, and it shall be the duty of the board of the Mississippi Library Commission to make an annual report to the Legislature of the facts of public interest and value in relation to the work of the commission.  The Mississippi Library Commission shall adopt rules and regulations relative to the allocation of state aid funds to public library systems.

     SECTION 41.  Section 39-5-113, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     39-5-113.  The commission shall cooperate and work with the citizens and elected officials in the various counties where the trail is located and shall promote and publicize the De Soto Trail in this state and abroad. The commission will strive to reconcile local interests with the results of bona fide scholarly research.

     The commission shall encourage and support Mississippi’s participation in the regional De Soto Trail Commission that is comprised of representatives from the states through which the De Soto Expedition traveled. The commission shall cooperate with the Regional De Soto Trail Commission and the National Park Service in their efforts to establish a National De Soto Trail as part of the National Trails System.

     The commission shall support and encourage scholarly research in archaeology and history related to the De Soto Expedition. The Department of Archives and History shall undertake to publish the results of such research in The Journal of Mississippi History or Mississippi Archaeology in order to make the results of the research available to the citizens of Mississippi.

     The commission shall plan, promote, and coordinate a statewide commemoration or festival which shall be held in May, 1991 in recognition of the 450th anniversary of Hernando de Soto’s Expedition in our state, and may schedule other appropriate ceremonies to commemorate the De Soto Expedition.

      * * * The commission shall file with the Legislature and Governor a complete report of its activities by August 30 of each year. The commission's minutes and other permanent records shall be deposited in the Department of Archives and History.

     SECTION 42.  Section 39-35-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     39-35-1.  (1)  The Mississippi Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission (commission) is hereby established to prepare for and commemorate the Sesquicentennial, or One Hundred and Fiftieth anniversary, of Mississippi's participation in the American Civil War (April 1861-April 1865).

     (2)  The commission shall have a total membership of fifteen (15) members, or their designees, as follows:  (a) the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority; (b) the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; (c) the State Superintendent of Public Education, or his designee; (d) the Manager of the Bureau of Film and Culture of the Mississippi Development Authority, Division of Tourism; (e) the President/Chairman of the Mississippi Historical Society; (f) the Chairman of the Mississippi Civil War Battlefield Commission; (g) the Director of the Brice's Crossroads Battlefield Commission; (h) the Director of the Vicksburg National Military Park; (i) the Director of the Battle of Shiloh-Battle of Corinth National Military Park; (j) the Director of the Grand Gulf Military Monument; (k) a representative of the Mississippi Tourism Association; (l) the National Park Service Administrator of Ship Island/Fort Massachusetts; (m) a citizen of Mississippi appointed by the Governor; (n) a member of the Mississippi Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor who shall serve in an ex officio nonvoting capacity; and (o) a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker who shall serve in an ex officio nonvoting capacity.

     (3)  Ex officio members and legislative members of the commission shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office.  Citizen members shall serve a term of four (4) years.  Appointments to fill vacancies occurring for a reason other than the expiration of a term shall be for the remainder of the unexpired terms.  Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments, and all members may be reappointed.

     (4)  The commission shall elect a chairman and vice chairman from among its membership.  The commission may name five (5) of its members to constitute an executive committee, which shall act for the commission pursuant to its direction.

     (5)  The commission may appoint and establish an advisory council composed of citizens at large who have knowledge of American Civil War and Mississippi history and interest in its Sesquicentennial celebration, to assist the commission in its work.

     (6)  A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum.  The meetings of the commission shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever a majority of the members so request.  No recommendation of the commission shall be adopted except by majority vote of the commission.

     (7)  Nonlegislative members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services but may receive expense reimbursement and mileage for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided by law.  Legislative members of the commission shall receive compensation applicable to committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session.

     (8)  The commission shall hire an executive director, and relevant support staff, to guide and support the actions of the commission.  Employment shall not extend beyond the date of expiration of the commission and shall be subject to an annual review by the executive committee of the commission.

     (9)  The commission may solicit, accept, use and dispose of public or nonpublic funds, gifts, grants, donations, bequests or other funds or real or personal property for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the commission.  The commission may procure services, enter into contracts, leases or other legal agreements as it may deem necessary to carry out its duties as set forth in this section, but no contract or other legal agreement shall be entered into by the commission that extends beyond the date of expiration of the commission.

     (10)  The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  Plan, develop and carry out educational, informational, new media/web-based programs and activities appropriate to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, with emphasis on the military operations which occurred in the State of Mississippi;

          (b)  Encourage interdisciplinary examination of the American Civil War;

          (c)  Facilitate activities related to the American Civil War throughout Mississippi;

          (d)  Encourage civic, historical, educational, economic and other organizations throughout Mississippi to organize and participate in activities to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the American Civil War;

          (e)  Provide technical and financial assistance to localities and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War;

          (f)  Develop programs and facilities to ensure that the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the American Civil War results in a positive legacy and long-term public benefit; and

          (g)  Facilitate the development and conduct of programs designed to involve all citizens in activities that commemorate the American Civil War * * *; and.

 * * *  (h)  Submit to the Legislature and the Governor an annual report for publication of the work and activity of the commission no later than the first day of each regular session of the Legislature.

     (11)  The commission shall direct the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to enhance and expand Civil War markers across the state, along with all relevant educational and informational documentation necessary for the creation of a Civil War Trail, in advance of the initial celebration of the Sesquicentennial in Mississippi.

     (12)  All state agencies and universities shall provide technical assistance to the commission upon request.

     SECTION 43.  Section 41-3-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-3-15.  (1)  (a)  There shall be a State Department of Health.

          (b)  The State Board of Health shall have the following powers and duties:

              (i)  To formulate the policy of the State Department of Health regarding public health matters within the jurisdiction of the department;

              (ii)  To adopt, modify, repeal and promulgate, after due notice and hearing, and enforce rules and regulations implementing or effectuating the powers and duties of the department under any and all statutes within the department's jurisdiction, and as the board may deem necessary;

              (iii)  To apply for, receive, accept and expend any federal or state funds or contributions, gifts, trusts, devises, bequests, grants, endowments or funds from any other source or transfers of property of any kind;

              (iv)  To enter into, and to authorize the executive officer to execute contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with carrying out the provisions of this chapter, if it finds those actions to be in the public interest and the contracts or agreements do not have a financial cost that exceeds the amounts appropriated for those purposes by the Legislature;

              (v)  To appoint, upon recommendation of the Executive Officer of the State Department of Health, a Director of Internal Audit who shall be either a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Internal Auditor, and whose employment shall be continued at the discretion of the board, and who shall report directly to the board, or its designee; and

              (vi)  To discharge such other duties, responsibilities and powers as are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.

          (c)  The Executive Officer of the State Department of Health shall have the following powers and duties:

              (i)  To administer the policies of the State Board of Health within the authority granted by the board;

              (ii)  To supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the department, except that the department's internal auditor shall be subject to the sole supervision and direction of the board;

              (iii)  To organize the administrative units of the department in accordance with the plan adopted by the board and, with board approval, alter the organizational plan and reassign responsibilities as he or she may deem necessary to carry out the policies of the board;

              (iv)  To coordinate the activities of the various offices of the department;

              (v)  To employ, subject to regulations of the State Personnel Board, qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields of each office, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department.  The executive officer shall be the appointing authority for the department, and shall have the power to delegate the authority to appoint or dismiss employees to appropriate subordinates, subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board;

              (vi)  To recommend to the board such studies and investigations as he or she may deem appropriate, and to carry out the approved recommendations in conjunction with the various offices; and

 * * *   (vii)  To prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department and the offices thereof, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the board may have;

   (viii)  To prepare and deliver to the Chairmen of the Public Health and Welfare/Human Services Committees of the Senate and House on or before January 1 of each year, a plan for monitoring infant mortality in Mississippi and a full report of the work of the department on reducing Mississippi's infant mortality and morbidity rates and improving the status of maternal and infant health; and

              ( * * *ixvii)  To enter into contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with carrying out the provisions of this chapter, if he or she finds those actions to be in the public interest and the contracts or agreements do not have a financial cost that exceeds the amounts appropriated for those purposes by the Legislature.  Each contract or agreement entered into by the executive officer shall be submitted to the board before its next meeting.

     (2)  The State Board of Health shall have the authority to establish an Office of Rural Health within the department.  The duties and responsibilities of this office shall include the following:

          (a)  To collect and evaluate data on rural health conditions and needs;

          (b)  To engage in policy analysis, policy development and economic impact studies with regard to rural health issues;

          (c)  To develop and implement plans and provide technical assistance to enable community health systems to respond to various changes in their circumstances;

          (d)  To plan and assist in professional recruitment and retention of medical professionals and assistants; and

          (e)  To establish information clearinghouses to improve access to and sharing of rural health care information.

     (3)  The State Board of Health shall have general supervision of the health interests of the people of the state and to exercise the rights, powers and duties of those acts which it is authorized by law to enforce.

     (4)  The State Board of Health shall have authority:

          (a)  To make investigations and inquiries with respect to the causes of disease and death, and to investigate the effect of environment, including conditions of employment and other conditions that may affect health, and to make such other investigations as it may deem necessary for the preservation and improvement of health.

          (b)  To make such sanitary investigations as it may, from time to time, deem necessary for the protection and improvement of health and to investigate nuisance questions that affect the security of life and health within the state.

          (c)  To direct and control sanitary and quarantine measures for dealing with all diseases within the state possible to suppress same and prevent their spread.

          (d)  To obtain, collect and preserve such information relative to mortality, morbidity, disease and health as may be useful in the discharge of its duties or may contribute to the prevention of disease or the promotion of health in this state.

          (e)  To charge and collect reasonable fees for health services, including immunizations, inspections and related activities, and the board shall charge fees for those services; however, if it is determined that a person receiving services is unable to pay the total fee, the board shall collect any amount that the person is able to pay.  Any increase in the fees charged by the board under this paragraph shall be in accordance with the provisions of Section 41-3-65.

          (f)  (i)  To establish standards for, issue permits and exercise control over, any cafes, restaurants, food or drink stands, sandwich manufacturing establishments, and all other establishments, other than churches, church-related and private schools, and other nonprofit or charitable organizations, where food or drink is regularly prepared, handled and served for pay; and

              (ii)  To require that a permit be obtained from the Department of Health before those persons begin operation.  If any such person fails to obtain the permit required in this subparagraph (ii), the State Board of Health, after due notice and opportunity for a hearing, may impose a monetary penalty not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for each violation.  However, the department is not authorized to impose a monetary penalty against any person whose gross annual prepared food sales are less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).  Money collected by the board under this subparagraph (ii) shall be deposited to the credit of the State General Fund of the State Treasury.

          (g)  To promulgate rules and regulations and exercise control over the production and sale of milk pursuant to the provisions of Sections 75-31-41 through 75-31-49.

          (h)  On presentation of proper authority, to enter into and inspect any public place or building where the State Health Officer or his representative deems it necessary and proper to enter for the discovery and suppression of disease and for the enforcement of any health or sanitary laws and regulations in the state.

          (i)  To conduct investigations, inquiries and hearings, and to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and records at any hearing when authorized and required by statute to be conducted by the State Health Officer or the State Board of Health.

          (j)  To promulgate rules and regulations, and to collect data and information, on (i) the delivery of services through the practice of telemedicine; and (ii) the use of electronic records for the delivery of telemedicine services.

          (k)  To enforce and regulate domestic and imported fish as authorized under Section 69-7-601 et seq.

     (5)  (a)  The State Board of Health shall have the authority, in its discretion, to establish programs to promote the public health, to be administered by the State Department of Health. Specifically, those programs may include, but shall not be limited to, programs in the following areas:

              (i)  Maternal and child health;

              (ii)  Family planning;

              (iii)  Pediatric services;

              (iv)  Services to crippled and disabled children;

              (v)  Control of communicable and noncommunicable disease;

              (vi)  Chronic disease;

              (vii)  Accidental deaths and injuries;

              (viii)  Child care licensure;

              (ix)  Radiological health;

              (x)  Dental health;

              (xi)  Milk sanitation;

              (xii)  Occupational safety and health;

              (xiii)  Food, vector control and general sanitation;

              (xiv)  Protection of drinking water;

              (xv)  Sanitation in food handling establishments open to the public;

              (xvi)  Registration of births and deaths and other vital events;

              (xvii)  Such public health programs and services as may be assigned to the State Board of Health by the Legislature or by executive order; and

              (xviii)  Regulation of domestic and imported fish for human consumption.

          (b)  The State Board of Health and State Department of Health shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, alienate or otherwise dispose of any of the home health agencies owned and operated by the department on January 1, 1995, and shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, alienate or otherwise dispose of the license of any of those home health agencies, except upon the specific authorization of the Legislature by an amendment to this section.  However, this paragraph (b) shall not prevent the board or the department from closing or terminating the operation of any home health agency owned and operated by the department, or closing or terminating any office, branch office or clinic of any such home health agency, or otherwise discontinuing the providing of home health services through any such home health agency, office, branch office or clinic, if the board first demonstrates that there are other providers of home health services in the area being served by the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic that will be able to provide adequate home health services to the residents of the area if the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is closed or otherwise discontinues the providing of home health services.  This demonstration by the board that there are other providers of adequate home health services in the area shall be spread at length upon the minutes of the board at a regular or special meeting of the board at least thirty (30) days before a home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is proposed to be closed or otherwise discontinue the providing of home health services.

          (c)  The State Department of Health may undertake such technical programs and activities as may be required for the support and operation of those programs, including maintaining physical, chemical, bacteriological and radiological laboratories, and may make such diagnostic tests for diseases and tests for the evaluation of health hazards as may be deemed necessary for the protection of the people of the state.

     (6)  (a)  The State Board of Health shall administer the local governments and rural water systems improvements loan program in accordance with the provisions of Section 41-3-16.

          (b)  The State Board of Health shall have authority:

              (i)  To enter into capitalization grant agreements with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or any successor agency thereto;

              (ii)  To accept capitalization grant awards made under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended;

              (iii)  To provide annual reports and audits to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as may be required by federal capitalization grant agreements; and

              (iv)  To establish and collect fees to defray the reasonable costs of administering the revolving fund or emergency fund if the State Board of Health determines that those costs will exceed the limitations established in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended.  The administration fees may be included in loan amounts to loan recipients for the purpose of facilitating payment to the board; however, those fees may not exceed five percent (5%) of the loan amount.

     (7)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  The department shall issue a license to Alexander Milne Home for Women, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, for the construction, conversion, expansion and operation of not more than forty-five (45) beds for developmentally disabled adults who have been displaced from New Orleans, Louisiana, with the beds to be located in a certified ICF-MR facility in the City of Laurel, Mississippi.  There shall be no prohibition or restrictions on participation in the Medicaid program for the person receiving the license under this subsection (7).  The license described in this subsection shall expire five (5) years from the date of its issue.  The license authorized by this subsection shall be issued upon the initial payment by the licensee of an application fee of Sixty-seven Thousand Dollars ($67,000.00) and a monthly fee of Sixty-seven Thousand Dollars ($67,000.00) after the issuance of the license, to be paid as long as the licensee continues to operate.  The initial and monthly licensing fees shall be deposited by the State Department of Health into the special fund created under Section 41-7-188.

     (8)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  The State Department of Health is authorized to issue a license to an existing home health agency for the transfer of a county from that agency to another existing home health agency, and to charge a fee for reviewing and making a determination on the application for such transfer not to exceed one-half (1/2) of the authorized fee assessed for the original application for the home health agency, with the revenue to be deposited by the State Department of Health into the special fund created under Section 41-7-188.

     (9)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  For the period beginning July 1, 2010, through July 1, 2017, the State Department of Health is authorized and empowered to assess a fee in addition to the fee prescribed in Section 41-7-188 for reviewing applications for certificates of need in an amount not to exceed twenty-five one-hundredths of one percent (.25 of 1%) of the amount of a proposed capital expenditure, but shall be not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) regardless of the amount of the proposed capital expenditure, and the maximum additional fee permitted shall not exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).  Provided that the total assessments of fees for certificate of need applications under Section 41-7-188 and this section shall not exceed the actual cost of operating the certificate of need program.

     (10)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  The State Department of Health is authorized to extend and renew any certificate of need that has expired, and to charge a fee for reviewing and making a determination on the application for such action not to exceed one-half (1/2) of the authorized fee assessed for the original application for the certificate of need, with the revenue to be deposited by the State Department of Health into the special fund created under Section 41-7-188.

     (11)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  The State Department of Health is authorized and empowered, to revoke, immediately, the license and require closure of any institution for the aged or infirm, including any other remedy less than closure to protect the health and safety of the residents of * * *said the institution or the health and safety of the general public.

     (12)  Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the State Department of Health shall have the following specific powers:  The State Department of Health is authorized and empowered, to require the temporary detainment of individuals for disease control purposes based upon violation of any order of the State Health Officer, as provided in Section 41-23-5.  For the purpose of enforcing such orders of the State Health Officer, persons employed by the department as investigators shall have general arrest powers.  All law enforcement officers are authorized and directed to assist in the enforcement of such orders of the State Health Officer.

     SECTION 44.  Section 41-4-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-4-21.  For the operations of all facilities placed under the control of the department and for all of its operations, the board shall adopt a uniform system of reporting and accounting approved by the State Department of Audit * * *, and shall prepare an annual report to the Legislature setting forth the disbursements of all moneys appropriated and specifying the facilities and activities upon which funds were expended.  It shall prepare annually, or cause to be prepared, a budget for its total operation for the ensuing fiscal period in the manner and form as required by the Legislative Budget Office.

     SECTION 45.  Section 41-35-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-35-7.  It shall be the duty of the State Board of Health: (1) To enforce the provisions of this chapter; (2) to promulgate such rules and regulations as shall, under this chapter, be necessary for the purpose under this chapter, and such as the State Board of Health may deem necessary for the further and proper guidance of local health officers, etc.; (3) to provide for the gratuitous distribution of a scientific prophylactic for inflammation of the eyes of the new born, together with proper directions for the use and administration thereof, to all physicians and midwives as may be engaged in the practice of obstetrics or assisting at childbirth; (4) to provide, if necessary, daily inspection and prompt and gratuitous treatment to any infant whose eyes are infected with inflammation of the eyes; the State Board of Health, if necessary, shall defray the expenses of such treatment from such sums as may be appropriated for its use; (5) to publish and promulgate such further advice and information concerning the dangers of inflammation of the eyes of the new born and the necessity for prompt and effective treatment; (6) to furnish copies of this chapter to all physicians and midwives as may be engaged in the practice of obstetrics or assisting at childbirth; (7) to keep a proper record of any and all such cases of inflammation of the eyes of the new born, as shall be filed in the Office of the State Board of Health, in pursuance with this chapter, and as may come to its attention in any way * * *, and to constitute such record a part of the annual report to the governor and legislature; (8) to report any and all violations of this chapter as may come to its attention, to the local police, county prosecutor, or district attorney in the county wherein such violation may have been committed, and to assist such official in every way possible, such as securing necessary evidence, etc.

     SECTION 46.  Section 41-113-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-113-7.  The Office of Tobacco Control shall perform the following duties, with the advice of the Mississippi Tobacco Control Advisory Council:

          (a)  Develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures for the operation of the tobacco education, prevention and cessation program;

          (b)  Develop and implement a five-year strategic plan for the tobacco education, prevention and cessation program;

          (c)  Develop and maintain an annual operating budget and oversee fiscal management of the tobacco education, prevention and cessation program;

          (d)  Execute any contracts, agreements or other documents with any governmental agency or any person, corporation, association, partnership or other organization or entity that are necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter;

          (e)  Receive grants, bequeaths, gifts, donations or any other contributions made to the office to be used for specific purposes related to the goals of this chapter;

 * * *  (f)  Submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding the operation of the office;

          ( * * *gf)  Submit to the State Auditor any financial records that are necessary for the Auditor to perform an annual audit of the office as required by law; and

          ( * * *hg)  Take any other actions that are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

     SECTION 47.  Section 41-123-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-123-1.  There is established the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce within the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) for the purpose of overseeing the physician workforce development and needs, both in numbers and distribution, of the State of Mississippi.  The office shall have a director who must be a physician licensed in the State of Mississippi.  In addition, the office shall have a researcher to assist the director in collecting and analyzing data concerning the physician workforce needs of Mississippi and other necessary staff to assist in its work.  The office shall have the following duties, at a minimum:

          (a)  Assessing the current numbers, ages, types of practice, hospital affiliations, and geographic distribution of physicians in each medical specialty in Mississippi;

          (b)  Assessing the current and future physician workforce needs of the State of Mississippi;

          (c)  Assisting in the creation and/or support of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited GME training programs in the State of Mississippi based on needs analysis and criteria established by the office and the advisory board while maintaining a strong and continued priority focus on family medicine.  This support may include the awarding of state financial assistance as available, for the creation or support of family medicine residencies and other GME programs approved by the advisory board;

          (d)  Encouraging the development of an adequate and geographically distributed physician workforce in all specialties for the State of Mississippi with an evolving strategic plan; and

          (e)  Providing an annual report to the Governor, * * *the Legislature, the State Board of Health, and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning on the current status of the physician workforce and training programs in Mississippi.

     SECTION 48.  Section 43-1-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-1-5.  It shall be the duty of the Department of Human Services to:

     (1)  Establish and maintain programs not inconsistent with the terms of this chapter and the rules, regulations and policies of the Department of Human Services, and publish the rules and regulations of the department pertaining to such programs.

     (2)  Make such reports in such form and containing such information as the federal government may, from time to time, require, and comply with such provisions as the federal government may, from time to time, find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports.

     (3)  * * *Within ninety (90) days after the end of each fiscal year, and at each regular session of the Legislature, make and publish one (1) report to the Governor and to the Legislature, showing for the period of time covered, in each county and for the state as a whole:

  (a)  The total number of recipients;

  (b)  The total amount paid to them in cash;

  (c)  The maximum and the minimum amount paid to any recipients in any one (1) month;

  (d)  The total number of applications;

  (e)  The number granted;

  (f)  The number denied;

  (g)  The number cancelled;

  (h)  The amount expended for administration of the provisions of this chapter;

  (i)  The amount of money received from the federal government, if any;

  (j)  The amount of money received from recipients of assistance and from their estates and the disposition of same;

  (k)  Such other information and recommendations as the Governor may require or the department shall deem advisable;

  (l)  The number of state‑owned automobiles purchased and operated during the year by the department, the number purchased and operated out of funds appropriated by the Legislature, the number purchased and operated out of any other public funds, the miles traveled per automobile, the total miles traveled, the average cost per mile and depreciation estimate on each automobile;

  (m)  The cost per mile and total number of miles traveled by department employees in privately owned automobiles, for which reimbursement is made out of state funds;

  (n)  Each association, convention or meeting attended by any department employees, the purposes thereof, the names of the employees attending and the total cost to the state of such convention, association or meeting;

  (o)  How the money appropriated to the institutions under the jurisdiction of the department has been expended during the preceding year, beginning and ending with the fiscal year of each institution, exhibiting the salaries paid to officers and employees of the institutions, and each and every item of receipt and expenditure;

  (p)  The activities of each office within the Department of Human Services and recommendations for improvement of the services to be performed by each division.

Each report shall be balanced and shall begin with the balance at the end of the preceding fiscal year, and if any property belonging to the state or the institution is used for profit, such report shall show the expenses incurred in managing the property and the amount received from the same.  Such reports shall also show a summary of the gross receipts and gross disbursements for each fiscal year and shall show the money on hand at the beginning of the fiscal period of each division and institution of the department.

 This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2023.

     SECTION 49.  Section 43-7-57, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-7-57.  The duties of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Facilities Ombudsman, as created under Section 43-7-53, shall be:

          (a)  The establishment of a procedure to have regular and timely access to the services provided by the State Ombudsman Program and to receive, investigate and resolve complaints filed by residents or sponsors or organizations or long-term care facilities on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities relating to the health, safety, welfare and rights of such residents and to represent the interests of residents before governmental agencies;

          (b)  The monitoring of the development and implementation of federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies with respect to long-term care facilities and to analyze, comment on and recommend any changes in such laws, regulations and policies as the Office of the State Long-Term Care Facilities Ombudsman deems appropriate;

          (c)  The establishment of a training program for both the state and community ombudsmen;

          (d)  To provide public forums, including the holding of public hearings, sponsorships of conferences and workshops, and the holding of other meetings to seek information concerning the needs and problems of residents in long-term care facilities;

          (e)  The establishment and maintenance of a statewide uniform reporting system to collect and analyze data relating to complaints and conditions in long-term care facilities for the purpose of identifying and resolving significant problems faced by residents as a group;

          (f)  The submission of an annual report to the State Department of Health, the United States Assistant Secretary for Aging (ACL/AOA) * * *, and the Executive Director of the Council * * * and the State Legislature, which shall include statistical information about the state and community long-term care facilities ombudsman programs, shall identify systemic problems in long-term care facilities that cannot be adequately addressed by state and local agencies, and shall include recommendations for legislative or executive action to alleviate any systemic problems;

          (g)  The testing and designation of the representatives of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Facilities Ombudsman;

          (h)  The development of an ongoing program of publicizing programs designated by the Office of the State Long-Term Care Facilities Ombudsman and by the community long-term care facilities ombudsman through contact with the media and civic organizations;

          (i)  The development of policies and regulations related to the use of volunteers in the program; and

          (j)  Other duties as mandated by the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.

     SECTION 50.  Section 43-12-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-12-39.  Out-of-state spending.  (1)  The Department of Human Services shall post on its website * * *and make available on an annual basis to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the House Public Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee a report of SNAP and TANF benefit spending. * * *  The report also shall be provided to the other members of the Legislature upon request.

     (2)  The report required under subsection (1) of this section shall include:

          (a)  The dollar amount and number of transactions of SNAP benefits that are accessed or spent out-of-state, disaggregated by state;

          (b)  The dollar amount and number of transactions of TANF benefits that are accessed or spent out-of-state, disaggregated by state;

          (c)  The dollar amount, number of transactions, and times of transactions of SNAP benefits that are accessed or spent in-state, disaggregated by retailer, institution, or location, unless expressly prohibited by federal law; and

          (d)  The dollar amount, number of transactions, and time of transactions of TANF benefits that are accessed or spent in-state, disaggregated by retailer, institution, or location.

     (3)  The report required under subsection (1) of this section shall be de-identified to prevent identification of individual recipients.

     SECTION 51.  Section 43-13-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-13-107.  (1)  The Division of Medicaid is created in the Office of the Governor and established to administer this article and perform such other duties as are prescribed by law.

     (2)  (a)  The Governor shall appoint a full-time executive director, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall be either (i) a physician with administrative experience in a medical care or health program, or (ii) a person holding a graduate degree in medical care administration, public health, hospital administration, or the equivalent, or (iii) a person holding a bachelor's degree with at least three (3) years' experience in management-level administration of, or policy development for, Medicaid programs.  Provided, however, no one who has been a member of the Mississippi Legislature during the previous three (3) years may be executive director.  The executive director shall be the official secretary and legal custodian of the records of the division; shall be the agent of the division for the purpose of receiving all service of process, summons and notices directed to the division; shall perform such other duties as the Governor may prescribe from time to time; and shall perform all other duties that are now or may be imposed upon him or her by law.

          (b)  The executive director shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.

          (c)  The executive director shall, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of the office, take and subscribe to the oath of office prescribed by the Mississippi Constitution and shall file the same in the Office of the Secretary of State, and shall execute a bond in some surety company authorized to do business in the state in the penal sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), conditioned for the faithful and impartial discharge of the duties of the office.  The premium on the bond shall be paid as provided by law out of funds appropriated to the Division of Medicaid for contractual services.

          (d)  The executive director, with the approval of the Governor and subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board, shall employ such professional, administrative, stenographic, secretarial, clerical and technical assistance as may be necessary to perform the duties required in administering this article and fix the compensation for those persons, all in accordance with a state merit system meeting federal requirements.  When the salary of the executive director is not set by law, that salary shall be set by the State Personnel Board.  No employees of the Division of Medicaid shall be considered to be staff members of the immediate Office of the Governor; however, Section 25-9-107(c)(xv) shall apply to the executive director and other administrative heads of the division.

     (3)  (a)  There is established a Medical Care Advisory Committee, which shall be the committee that is required by federal regulation to advise the Division of Medicaid about health and medical care services.

          (b)  The advisory committee shall consist of not less than eleven (11) members, as follows:

              (i)  The Governor shall appoint five (5) members, one (1) from each congressional district and one (1) from the state at large;

              (ii)  The Lieutenant Governor shall appoint three (3) members, one (1) from each Supreme Court district;

              (iii)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint three (3) members, one (1) from each Supreme Court district.

     All members appointed under this paragraph shall either be health care providers or consumers of health care services.  One (1) member appointed by each of the appointing authorities shall be a board-certified physician.

          (c)  The respective Chairmen of the House Medicaid Committee, the House Public Health and Human Services Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate Medicaid Committee, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, or their designees, one (1) member of the State Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and one (1) member of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, shall serve as ex officio nonvoting members of the advisory committee.

          (d)  In addition to the committee members required by paragraph (b), the advisory committee shall consist of such other members as are necessary to meet the requirements of the federal regulation applicable to the advisory committee, who shall be appointed as provided in the federal regulation.

          (e)  The chairmanship of the advisory committee shall be elected by the voting members of the committee annually and shall not serve more than two (2) consecutive years as chairman.

          (f)  The members of the advisory committee specified in paragraph (b) shall serve for terms that are concurrent with the terms of members of the Legislature, and any member appointed under paragraph (b) may be reappointed to the advisory committee.  The members of the advisory committee specified in paragraph (b) shall serve without compensation, but shall receive reimbursement to defray actual expenses incurred in the performance of committee business as authorized by law.  Legislators shall receive per diem and expenses, which may be paid from the contingent expense funds of their respective houses in the same amounts as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session.

          (g)  The advisory committee shall meet not less than quarterly, and advisory committee members shall be furnished written notice of the meetings at least ten (10) days before the date of the meeting.

          (h)  The executive director shall submit to the advisory committee all amendments, modifications and changes to the state plan for the operation of the Medicaid program, for review by the advisory committee before the amendments, modifications or changes may be implemented by the division.

          (i)  The advisory committee, among its duties and responsibilities, shall:

              (i)  Advise the division with respect to amendments, modifications and changes to the state plan for the operation of the Medicaid program;

              (ii)  Advise the division with respect to issues concerning receipt and disbursement of funds and eligibility for  Medicaid;

              (iii)  Advise the division with respect to determining the quantity, quality and extent of medical care provided under this article;

              (iv)  Communicate the views of the medical care professions to the division and communicate the views of the division to the medical care professions;

              (v)  Gather information on reasons that medical care providers do not participate in the Medicaid program and changes that could be made in the program to encourage more providers to participate in the Medicaid program, and advise the division with respect to encouraging physicians and other medical care providers to participate in the Medicaid program * * *;.

 * * *   (vi)  Provide a written report on or before November 30 of each year to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

     (4)  (a)  There is established a Drug Use Review Board, which shall be the board that is required by federal law to:

              (i)  Review and initiate retrospective drug use, review including ongoing periodic examination of claims data and other records in order to identify patterns of fraud, abuse, gross overuse, or inappropriate or medically unnecessary care, among physicians, pharmacists and individuals receiving Medicaid benefits or associated with specific drugs or groups of drugs.

              (ii)  Review and initiate ongoing interventions for physicians and pharmacists, targeted toward therapy problems or individuals identified in the course of retrospective drug use reviews.

              (iii)  On an ongoing basis, assess data on drug use against explicit predetermined standards using the compendia and literature set forth in federal law and regulations.

          (b)  The board shall consist of not less than twelve (12) members appointed by the Governor, or his designee.

          (c)  The board shall meet at least quarterly, and board members shall be furnished written notice of the meetings at least ten (10) days before the date of the meeting.

          (d)  The board meetings shall be open to the public, members of the press, legislators and consumers.  Additionally, all documents provided to board members shall be available to members of the Legislature in the same manner, and shall be made available to others for a reasonable fee for copying.  However, patient confidentiality and provider confidentiality shall be protected by blinding patient names and provider names with numerical or other anonymous identifiers.  The board meetings shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act (Sections 25-41-1 through 25-41-17).  Board meetings conducted in violation of this section shall be deemed unlawful.

     (5)  (a)  There is established a Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, which shall be appointed by the Governor, or his designee.

          (b)  The committee shall meet as often as needed to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations as set forth in this section, and committee members shall be furnished written notice of the meetings at least ten (10) days before the date of the meeting.

          (c)  The committee meetings shall be open to the public, members of the press, legislators and consumers.  Additionally, all documents provided to committee members shall be available to members of the Legislature in the same manner, and shall be made available to others for a reasonable fee for copying.  However, patient confidentiality and provider confidentiality shall be protected by blinding patient names and provider names with numerical or other anonymous identifiers.  The committee meetings shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act (Sections 25-41-1 through 25-41-17).  Committee meetings conducted in violation of this section shall be deemed unlawful.

          (d)  After a thirty-day public notice, the executive director, or his or her designee, shall present the division's recommendation regarding prior approval for a therapeutic class of drugs to the committee.  However, in circumstances where the division deems it necessary for the health and safety of Medicaid beneficiaries, the division may present to the committee its recommendations regarding a particular drug without a thirty-day public notice.  In making that presentation, the division shall state to the committee the circumstances that precipitate the need for the committee to review the status of a particular drug without a thirty-day public notice.  The committee may determine whether or not to review the particular drug under the circumstances stated by the division without a thirty-day public notice.  If the committee determines to review the status of the particular drug, it shall make its recommendations to the division, after which the division shall file those recommendations for a thirty-day public comment under Section 25-43-7(1).

          (e)  Upon reviewing the information and recommendations, the committee shall forward a written recommendation approved by a majority of the committee to the executive director, or his or her designee.  The decisions of the committee regarding any limitations to be imposed on any drug or its use for a specified indication shall be based on sound clinical evidence found in labeling, drug compendia, and peer-reviewed clinical literature pertaining to use of the drug in the relevant population.

          (f)  Upon reviewing and considering all recommendations including recommendations of the committee, comments, and data, the executive director shall make a final determination whether to require prior approval of a therapeutic class of drugs, or modify existing prior approval requirements for a therapeutic class of drugs.

          (g)  At least thirty (30) days before the executive director implements new or amended prior authorization decisions, written notice of the executive director's decision shall be provided to all prescribing Medicaid providers, all Medicaid enrolled pharmacies, and any other party who has requested the notification.  However, notice given under Section 25-43-7(1) will substitute for and meet the requirement for notice under this subsection.

          (h)  Members of the committee shall dispose of matters before the committee in an unbiased and professional manner.  If a matter being considered by the committee presents a real or apparent conflict of interest for any member of the committee, that member shall disclose the conflict in writing to the committee chair and recuse himself or herself from any discussions and/or actions on the matter.

     SECTION 52.  Section 43-30-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-30-1.  (1)  There is established the Mississippi Disability Resource Commission.  The function of the commission is to:

          (a)  Assimilate and provide current information to persons who need health, special education or disability information or services;

          (b)  Refer those persons to the appropriate agencies to receive needed information or services;

          (c)  Facilitate coordination of services provided by agencies for the maximum benefit of persons who need health, special education or disability services;

          (d)  Be a comprehensive clearinghouse of information and single point of contact for people with disabilities related to potential service programs;

          (e)  Otherwise assist persons who need health, special education or disability services in obtaining information and services; and

          (f)  Monitor and provide oversight of the implementation of Sections 43-6-201 through 43-6-207 by state agencies.

     (2)  The powers and duties of the Mississippi Disability Resource Commission shall include, but are not limited to, or provided in any priority order, the following:

          (a)  To collect and analyze health, special education and disability-related data for use by state agencies, universities and colleges, organizations and private citizens;

          (b)  To advise the Governor, the Legislature, the Mississippi congressional delegation, state agencies, the business community, other public and private groups and the general public on health, special education and disability issues and concerns, and to make recommendations to address those identified matters, with emphasis on increasing opportunities for independence and employment;

          (c)  To coordinate and conduct public relations activities, including establishment of a permanent, statewide toll-free phone line for people with disabilities seeking access to services and programs, to promote the skills and capabilities of persons needing health, special education or disability services;

          (d)  To submit an annual report to the Governor and to the Legislature with recommendations to address the needs of persons in Mississippi needing health, special education or disability services, and other pertinent data regarding health, special education or disability issues;

          (e)  Build on the work of the Mississippi Partnerships in Employment Project, identify state agency policies and procedures that create barriers and disincentives for employment of persons with disabilities, and develop recommendations to reduce or eliminate those barriers and disincentives to better meet the needs of persons who desire employment;

          (f)  Identify best practices, effective partnerships, sources of available state and federal funds, and opportunities for shared services among existing state agencies to increase integrated and competitive employment opportunities for Mississippians with disabilities;

          (g)  Review and comment on proposed legislation that may affect the employment of persons with disabilities and consider recommendations of federal agencies and other organizations that promote the employment of persons with disabilities; and

          (h)  Request that measurable goals and objectives be submitted to it by each relevant state agency to ensure implementation of Sections 43-6-201 through 43-6-107.  The commission shall establish the time frames for submissions by state agencies and track their measurable progress in implementing Sections 43-6-201 through 43-6-207.  All state agencies shall fully cooperate with and provide data and information to assist the commission in carrying out its duties * * *; and.

 * * *  (i)  Prepare an annual report to the Governor and members of the Legislature.  The report shall detail progress toward the goals and objectives and full implementation of Sections 43‑6‑201 through 43‑6‑207.  All state agencies shall cooperate with the commission on the creation and dissemination of the report.  The report also shall identify barriers for achieving the outcomes along with the effective strategies and policies that can help realize the goals of Sections 43‑6‑201 through 43‑6‑207.

     (3)  The membership of the commission shall consist of fourteen (14) members as follows:

          (a)  The Executive Director of the State Department of Rehabilitation Services, or his or her designee;

          (b)  The Executive Director of the State Department of Mental Health, or his or her designee;

          (c)  The Executive Officer of the State Department of Health, or his or her designee;

          (d)  The State Superintendent of Public Education, or his or her designee;

          (e)  The Executive Director of the Division of Medicaid, or his or her designee;

          (f)  The Executive Director of the Department of Employment Security, or his or her designee;

          (g)  The Executive Director of the Mississippi Industries for the Blind; and

          (h)  Three (3) appointments by the Governor and two (2) appointments each by the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

     Each of the appointments referenced in paragraph (h) of this subsection shall be a person with a disability, a representative of a disability advocacy group, or the parent of a person with a disability.  Of these appointments, there shall be no more than one (1) appointment from the same consumer organization or advocacy group during the same term of appointment.

     (4)  Members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House shall serve for terms that run concurrently with the terms of office of the appointing officials.  An appointment to fill a vacancy, other than by expiration of a term of office, shall be made for the balance of the unexpired term.  All appointments required by this section shall be made no later than August 1, 2015.

     (5)  The members of the commission shall elect from their membership the chairperson and vice chairperson of the commission.  The chairperson and vice chairperson shall be a member appointed under subsection (3)(h) of this section and a member from a state agency referenced in subsection (3)(a) through (g) of this section.  The chairperson and vice chairperson shall serve for terms of one (1) year beginning on July 1 of each year, except that the terms of the first chairperson and vice chairperson shall begin on the date of their election to those positions.  Each year at the expiration of the terms of the chairperson and vice chairperson, the vice chairperson during the preceding year shall serve as chairperson for the next year, and a new vice chairperson shall be elected according to the terms set forth in this subsection.

     (6)  The commission shall meet at least quarterly and hold other meetings as are necessary for the purpose of conducting required business, not exceeding six (6) meetings in any one (1) fiscal year.  If funds are available for that purpose, the appointed members of the commission may be paid per diem and travel expenses in accordance with the provisions of Sections 25-3-69 and 25-3-41.  The commission shall convene to begin work no later than September 1, 2015.

     (7)  The Mississippi Disability Resource Commission may receive and expend any monies appropriated by the Legislature, apply for and utilize grants, and receive gifts or any other appropriate source of funds to carry out the duties of office.

     SECTION 53.  Section 43-33-747, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-33-747.  (1)  All money of the corporation from whatever source derived, except as otherwise authorized or provided in this article, shall be deposited with one or more qualified depositories of the state as approved by the State Depository Commission and designated by the corporation or invested in accordance with Section 43-33-717(5)(e).  The money in such accounts shall be withdrawn on the order of such person or persons as the corporation may authorize.  All deposits of such money shall, if required by the corporation, be secured in such manner as the corporation may determine.  The State Auditor and his legally authorized representatives are authorized and empowered from time to time to examine the accounts and books of the corporation, including its receipts, disbursements, contracts, leases, sinking funds, investments and any other record and papers relating to its financial standing; at a minimum an audit shall be made annually and a copy thereof shall be filed with the State Treasurer; the corporation shall pay such reasonable fee for such examination as the State Auditor shall determine.

     (2)  The corporation shall have power to contract with holders of any of its bonds or notes as to the custody, collection, securing, investment and payment of any money of the corporation, of any money held in trust or otherwise for the payment of bonds or notes, and to carry out such contract.  Money held in trust or otherwise for the payment of bonds or notes or in any way to secure bonds or notes and deposits of such money may be secured in the same manner as money of the corporation, and all banks and trust companies are authorized to give such security for such deposits.

     (3)  Subject to the provisions of any contract with bondholders or noteholders and to the approval of the Department of Audit, the corporation shall prescribe a system of accounts in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

     (4)  The corporation shall submit to the Governor * * *, and the State Auditor * * * and both houses of the Legislature, an annual report on the activities of the corporation and, within thirty (30) days of the receipt thereof by the corporation, a copy of the report of every external examination of the books and accounts of the corporation.

     SECTION 54.  Section 43-59-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-59-7.  (1)  The commission shall study issues affecting the status of women in Mississippi, including, but not limited to, the following areas:

          (a)  Women's educational and employment problems, needs and opportunities;

          (b)  Women's health issues;

          (c)  The socioeconomic factors that influence the status of women and the development of women's individual potential;

          (d)  Current or proposed state laws, practices or conditions in regard to the civil, economic and political rights of women, including, but not limited to, pensions, tax requirements, property rights, marriage and dissolution of marriage provisions, domestic violence and other matters affecting the status of women; and

          (e)  Any other conditions or practices affecting women which impose special limitations or burdens upon them or which tend to limit opportunities available to women.

     (2)  The commission shall act as an information center on the status of women and women's educational, employment and other related needs, and on current and proposed legislation affecting women.  In this capacity, the commission shall serve as a liaison and clearinghouse between government, private interest groups and the general public concerned with services for women, and in this regard, the commission may publish a periodic newsletter, maintain a website and communicate with and provide information in other ways to these constituencies.

     (3)  The commission shall educate the business, education, state government and local government communities and the general public about the nature and scope of gender discrimination, violence against women, and other matters affecting the status of women in Mississippi.

     (4)  The commission shall recommend policies and make recommendations to public and private groups and persons concerned with any issue related to improving the status of women.  Toward this end, the commission may develop, prepare and coordinate materials, projects or other activities and give technical and consultative advice.  The commission may encourage and help women's organizations, public and private offices and other groups to institute self-help activities designed to meet women's educational, employment and other needs.

     (5)  The commission shall promote consideration of qualified women for all levels of government positions.

 * * * (6)  Before November 15 of each year, beginning with November 15, 2002, the commission shall report to the Governor and the Legislature on the commission's activities.  The report must include the results of the commission's findings of the preceding year, with recommendations for the removal of such injustices as the commission may find to exist.

     SECTION 55.  Section 45-12-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     45-12-5.  (1)  Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, no cigarettes may be sold or offered for sale in this state or offered for sale or sold to persons located in this state unless the cigarettes have been tested in accordance with the test method and meet the performance standard specified in this section, a written certification has been filed by the manufacturer with the State Fire Marshal in accordance with Section 45-12-7, and the cigarettes have been marked in accordance with Section 45-12-9.

          (a)  Testing of cigarettes shall be conducted in accordance with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E2187-04, "Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes."

          (b)  Testing shall be conducted on ten (10) layers of filter paper.

          (c)  No more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the cigarettes tested in a test trial in accordance with this section shall exhibit full-length burns.  Forty (40) replicate tests shall comprise a complete test trial for each cigarette tested.

          (d)  The performance standard required by this section shall only be applied to a complete test trial.

          (e)  Written certifications shall be based upon testing conducted by a laboratory that has been accredited pursuant to Standard ISO/IEC 17025 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), or other comparable accreditation standard required by the State Fire Marshal.

          (f)  Laboratories conducting testing in accordance with this section shall implement a quality control and quality assurance program that includes a procedure that will determine the repeatability of the testing results.  The repeatability value shall be no greater than nineteen percent (19%).

          (g)  This section does not require additional testing if cigarettes are tested consistent with this chapter for any other purpose.

          (h)  Testing performed or sponsored by the State Fire Marshal to determine a cigarette's compliance with the performance standard required shall be conducted in accordance with this section.

     (2)  Each cigarette listed in a certification submitted pursuant to Section 45-12-7 that uses lowered permeability bands in the cigarette paper to achieve compliance with the performance standard set forth in this section shall have at least two (2) nominally identical bands on the paper surrounding the tobacco column.  At least one (1) complete band shall be located at least fifteen (15) millimeters from the lighting end of the cigarette.  For cigarettes on which the bands are positioned by design, there shall be at least two (2) bands fully located at least fifteen (15) millimeters from the lighting end and ten (10) millimeters from the filter end of the tobacco column, or ten (10) millimeters from the labeled end of the tobacco column for nonfiltered cigarettes.

     (3)  A manufacturer of a cigarette that the State Fire Marshal determines cannot be tested in accordance with the test method prescribed in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) shall propose a test method and performance standard for the cigarette to the State Fire Marshal.  Upon approval of the proposed test method and a determination by the State Fire Marshal that the performance standard proposed by the manufacturer is equivalent to the performance standard prescribed in paragraph (c) of subsection (1), the manufacturer may employ such test method and performance standard to certify such cigarette pursuant to Section 45-12-7.  If the State Fire Marshal determines that another state has enacted reduced cigarette ignition propensity standards that include a test method and performance standard that are the same as those contained in this section, and the State Fire Marshal finds that the officials responsible for implementing those requirements have approved the proposed alternative test method and performance standard for a particular cigarette proposed by a manufacturer as meeting the fire safety standards of that state's law or regulation under a legal provision comparable to this section, then the State Fire Marshal shall authorize that manufacturer to employ the alternative test method and performance standard to certify that cigarette for sale in this state, unless the State Fire Marshal demonstrates a reasonable basis why the alternative test should not be accepted under this section.  All other applicable requirements of this section shall apply to the manufacturer.

     (4)  Each manufacturer shall maintain copies of the reports of all tests conducted on all cigarettes offered for sale for a period of three (3) years, and shall make copies of these reports available to the State Fire Marshal and the Attorney General upon written request.  Any manufacturer who fails to make copies of these reports available within sixty (60) days of receiving a written request shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) for each day after the sixtieth day that the manufacturer does not make such copies available.

     (5)  The State Fire Marshal may promulgate a subsequent ASTM Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes upon a finding that such subsequent method does not result in a change in the percentage of full-length burns exhibited by any tested cigarette when compared to the percentage of full-length burns the same cigarette would exhibit when tested in accordance with ASTM Standard E2187-04 and the performance standard in paragraph (c) of subsection (1).

 * * *(6)The State Fire Marshal shall review the effectiveness of this section and report every three (3) years to the Legislature his findings and, if appropriate, recommendations for legislation to improve the effectiveness of this chapter.  The report and legislative recommendations shall be submitted no later than June 30 following the conclusion of each three‑year period.

     ( * * *76)  The requirements of subsection (1) shall not prohibit:

          (a)  Wholesale or retail dealers from selling their existing inventory of cigarettes on or after July 1, 2010, if the wholesale or retail dealer can establish that state tax stamps were affixed to the cigarettes prior to July 1, 2010, and the wholesale or retail dealer can establish that the inventory was purchased prior to July 1, 2010, in comparable quantity to the inventory purchased during the same period of the prior year; or

          (b)  The sale of cigarettes solely for the purpose of consumer testing.  For purposes of this subsection, the term "consumer testing" means an assessment of cigarettes that is conducted by a manufacturer (or under the control and direction of a manufacturer), for the purpose of evaluating consumer acceptance of such cigarettes, utilizing only the quantity of cigarettes that is reasonably necessary for such assessment.

     ( * * *87)  This chapter shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform this chapter with the laws of those states that have enacted reduced cigarette ignition propensity laws as of July 1, 2010.

     SECTION 56.  Section 47-5-6, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-5-6.  (1)  There is hereby established a committee to be known as the Corrections and Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force, hereinafter called the Oversight Task Force, which must exercise the powers and fulfill the duties described in this chapter.

     (2)  The Oversight Task Force shall be composed of the following members:

          (a)  The Lieutenant Governor shall appoint two (2) members;

          (b)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two (2) members;

          (c)  The Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, or his designee;

          (d)  The Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court shall appoint one (1) member of the circuit court;

          (e)  The Governor shall appoint one (1) member from the Parole Board;

          (f)  The Director of the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or his designee;

          (g)  The Attorney General shall appoint one (1) member representing the victims' community;

          (h)  The Mississippi Association of Supervisors shall appoint one (1) member to represent the association;

          (i)  The Mississippi Chief of Police Association shall appoint one (1) member to represent the association * * *.;

          (j)  The President of the Mississippi Prosecutors' Association;

          (k)  The President of the Mississippi Sheriffs' Association, or his designee;

          (l)  The Office of the State Public Defender shall appoint one (1) member to represent the public defender's office; and

          (m)  The Governor shall appoint one (1) advocate for offenders and families who have been directly affected by the prison justice system.  The appointment made pursuant to this paragraph (m) shall occur on July 1, 2020.

     (3)  The task force shall meet on or before July 15, 2015, at the call of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and organize itself by electing one (1) of its members as chair and such other officers as the task force may consider necessary.  Thereafter, the task force shall meet at least biannually and at the call of the chair or by a majority of the members.  A quorum consists of seven (7) members.

     (4)  The task force shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  Track and assess outcomes from the recommendations  in the Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force report of December 2013;

          (b)  Prepare and submit an annual report no later than the first day of the second full week of each regular session of the Legislature on the outcome and performance measures to the * * *Legislature, Governor and Chief Justice.  The report shall include recommendations for improvements, recommendations on transfers of funding based on the success or failure of implementation of the recommendations, and a summary of savings.  The report may also present additional recommendations to the Legislature on future legislation and policy options to enhance public safety and control corrections costs;

          (c)  Monitor compliance with sentencing standards, assess their impact on the correctional resources of the state and determine if the standards advance the adopted sentencing policy goals of the state;

          (d)  Review the classifications of crimes and sentences and make recommendations for change when supported by information that change is advisable to further the adopted sentencing policy goals of the state;

          (e)  Develop a research and analysis system to determine the feasibility, impact on resources, and budget consequences of any proposed or existing legislation affecting sentence length;

          (f)  Request, review, and receive data and reports on performance outcome measures as related to Chapter 457, Laws of 2014;

          (g)  To undertake such additional studies or evaluations as the Oversight Task Force considers necessary to provide sentencing reform information and analysis;

          (h)  Prepare and conduct annual continuing legal education seminars regarding the sentencing guidelines to be presented to judges, prosecuting attorneys and their deputies, and public defenders and their deputies, as so required;

          (i)  The Oversight Task Force shall use clerical and professional employees of the Department of Corrections for its staff;

          (j)  The Oversight Task Force may employ or retain other professional staff, upon the determination of the necessity for other staff;

          (k)  The Oversight Task Force may employ consultants to assist in the evaluations and, when necessary, the implementation of the recommendations of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force report of December 2013;

          (l)  The Oversight Task Force is encouraged to apply for and may expend grants, gifts, or federal funds it receives from other sources to carry out its duties and responsibilities.

     SECTION 57.  Section 47-5-28, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-5-28.  The commissioner shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To implement and administer laws and policy relating to corrections and coordinate the efforts of the department with those of the federal government and other state departments and agencies, county governments, municipal governments, and private agencies concerned with providing offender services;

          (b)  To establish standards, in cooperation with other state agencies having responsibility as provided by law, provide technical assistance, and exercise the requisite supervision as it relates to correctional programs over all state-supported adult correctional facilities and community-based programs;

          (c)  To promulgate and publish such rules, regulations and policies of the department as are needed for the efficient government and maintenance of all facilities and programs in accord insofar as possible with currently accepted standards of adult offender care and treatment;

          (d)  To provide the Parole Board with suitable and sufficient office space and support resources and staff necessary to * * *conducting conduct Parole Board business under the guidance of the Chairman of the Parole Board;

          (e)  To contract for transitional reentry center beds that will be used as noncorrections housing for offenders released from the department on parole, probation or post-release supervision but do not have appropriate housing available upon release.  At least one hundred (100) but no more than eight hundred (800) transitional reentry center beds contracted by the department and chosen by the Parole Board shall be available for the Parole Board to place parolees without appropriate housing;

          (f)  To designate deputy commissioners while performing their officially assigned duties relating to the custody, control, transportation, recapture or arrest of any offender within the jurisdiction of the department or any offender of any jail, penitentiary, public workhouse or overnight lockup of the state or any political subdivision thereof not within the jurisdiction of the department, to the status of peace officers anywhere in the state in any matter relating to the custody, control, transportation or recapture of such offender, and shall have the status of law enforcement officers and peace officers as contemplated by Sections 45-6-3, 97-3-7 and 97-3-19.

     For the purpose of administration and enforcement of this chapter, deputy commissioners of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, who are certified by the Mississippi Board on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training, have the powers of a law enforcement officer of this state.  Such powers shall include to make arrests and to serve and execute search warrants and other valid legal process anywhere within the State of Mississippi while performing their officially assigned duties relating to the custody, control, transportation, recapture or arrest of any offender within the jurisdiction of the department or any offender of any jail, penitentiary, public workhouse or overnight lockup of the state or any political subdivision thereof not within the jurisdiction of the department in any matter relating to the custody, control, transportation or recapture of such offender * * *.;

 * * *  (g)  To make an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature reflecting the activities of the department and make recommendations for improvement of the services to be performed by the department;

          ( * * *hg)  To cooperate fully with periodic independent internal investigations of the department and to file the report with the Governor and the Legislature;

          ( * * *ih)  To make personnel actions for a period of one (1) year beginning July 1, 2016, that are 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; and

          ( * * *ji)  To perform such other duties necessary to effectively and efficiently carry out the purposes of the department as may be directed by the Governor.

     SECTION 58.  Section 47-5-355, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-5-355.  (1)  The Commissioner of Corrections shall employ a director of the prison agricultural enterprises, who shall be directly responsible to the commissioner.  The director shall have the following duties and powers:

          (a)  To implement and manage the prison agricultural enterprises;

          (b)  To determine, with the advice of the Director of Planning, the type of agricultural, animal husbandry and aquaculture products needed to feed inmates and which may be grown profitably on department lands;

          (c)  To use inmate labor to meet the labor needs of the programs, subject to the requirements of subsection (2);

          (d)  To recommend rules and regulations and employ personnel necessary for the operation of the programs;

          (e)  To determine the proper methods of canning, freezing or preserving that may be used to the best advantage of the programs;

          (f)  With approval of the commissioner, to do those things necessary and proper to accomplish the purposes of the programs;

          (g)  To determine and establish priorities on the most appropriate and profitable products to be grown and which department lands should be farmed, taking into consideration the available prison labor, existing equipment and funds available therefor, markets for the products, and other matters consistent with prudent agricultural practices;

          (h)  To manage the food services of the department at the discretion of the commissioner.

     (2)  The director shall have the right to use inmate labor to the exclusion of prison industries.  The superintendents shall provide the prison agricultural enterprises with sufficient inmate labor.  If a superintendent refuses to provide inmate labor because of security concerns, the commissioner shall decide if security requirements preclude use of inmate labor.  Upon the request of the director, the superintendents shall provide security for prison agricultural enterprises.

     (3)  The director shall maintain accurate and complete financial records of all receipts and expenditures of the prison agricultural enterprise programs.

 * * * (4)  The director shall file a full and complete report with the Legislature before January 1 of each year detailing the costs, inventory and receipts of each program.  The report shall also provide the cost or cost savings of such programs.

     ( * * *54)  The department may enter into joint ventures with private businesses related to prison agricultural enterprises.

     SECTION 59.  Section 47-7-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-15.  The board shall adopt an official seal of which the courts shall take judicial notice.  Decisions of the board shall be made by majority vote.

     The board shall keep a record of its acts and shall notify each institution of its decisions relating to the persons who are or have been confined therein. * * *  At the close of each fiscal year the board shall submit to the Governor and to the Legislature a report with statistical and other data of its work.

     SECTION 60.  Section 49-2-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-2-13.  The executive director shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To administer the policies of the commission within the authority granted by the commission;

          (b)  To supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the department;

          (c)  To organize the administrative units of the department in accordance with the plan adopted by the commission and, with commission approval, alter such organizational plan and reassign responsibilities as he may deem necessary to carry out the policies of the commission;

          (d)  To coordinate the activities of the various offices of the department;

          (e)  To employ, subject to the approval of the commission, qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields of each office, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department;

          (f)  To recommend to the commission such studies and investigations as he may deem appropriate, and to carry out the approved recommendations in conjunction with the various offices;

          (g)  To merge and coordinate functions and duties where possible to eliminate the possibility of two (2) separate organizational entities performing the same or similar functions, including, but not limited to, functions of audit, inspection, collection, personnel, motor vehicles, accounting, data processing, payroll and any other such administrative, procedural or enforcement function;

          (h)  To coordinate all studies in the State of Mississippi concerned with the supply, development, use and conservation of natural resources within the jurisdiction of the department;

 * * *  (i)  To prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department and the offices thereof, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the commission may have;

          ( * * *ji)  To issue, modify or revoke any and all orders under authority granted by the commission which include, but are not limited to those which (i) prohibit, control or abate discharges of contaminants and wastes into the air and waters of the state; (ii) require the construction of new disposal systems or air-cleaning devices or any parts thereof, or the modification, extension or alteration of existing disposal systems or air-cleaning devices or any parts thereof, or the adoption of other remedial measures to prevent, control or abate air and water pollution or to cause the proper management of solid wastes; (iii) impose penalties pursuant to Section 17-17-29 and Section 49-17-43 which have been agreed upon with alleged violators; and (iv) require compliance with the conditions of any permit issued by the Permit Board created in Section 49-17-28 and all regulations of the commission; and

          ( * * *kj)  With the approval of the commission, to enter into contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with carrying out the provisions of this chapter, provided the agreements do not have a financial cost in excess of the amounts appropriated for such purposes by the Legislature.

     SECTION 61.  Section 49-4-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-4-13.  Effective July 1, 1979, the executive director of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the department;

          (b)  To employ, subject to the approval of the commission, qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department;

          (c)  To coordinate all studies in the State of Mississippi concerned with the supply, development, use and conservation of wildlife, fisheries and parks;

 * * *  (d)  To prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the department may have;

          ( * * *ed)  To enter into cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with studies and investigations pertaining to wildlife, fisheries and parks, provided the agreements do not have a financial cost in excess of the amounts appropriated for such purposes by the Legislature;

          ( * * *fe)  In his discretion, to enter into an affinity relationship with a credit card issuer and to expend funds derived therefrom to improve wildlife management areas; and

          ( * * *gf)  To carry out all regulations and rules adopted by the commission and enforce all licenses and permits issued by the commission.

     SECTION 62.  Section 49-7-26, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-7-26.  (1)  (a)  The department may develop, implement and regulate a tagging and reporting program to collect harvest data and monitor bag limit compliance by any means as provided in this section.

          (b)  The department may charge a fee for the tagging program.

 * * *(c)  The department shall provide an annual report to the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

     (2)  (a)  The department may establish a tagging and reporting program for deer harvested by nonresidents.

          (b)  A nonresident who violates any law or regulation of the nonresident deer tagging program shall be subject to the fine and forfeiture penalties provided for a nonresident hunting without a license under Section 49-7-21.  In addition, a nonresident shall be assessed the administrative fee prescribed in this section.

     (3)  (a)  The department may establish a tagging and reporting program for turkey.

          (b)  A person who violates any law or regulation of the turkey tagging program is guilty of a Class III violation and shall be subject to the fines provided in 49-7-101.  In addition, a person shall be assessed the administrative fee prescribed in this section.

     (4)  (a)  A person convicted of a first violation of the tagging program shall be assessed an administrative fee of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), which shall be imposed and collected upon conviction.  A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation shall be assessed an administrative fee of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), which shall be imposed and collected upon conviction.

          (b)  The clerk of the court shall collect and deposit the administrative fees with the State Treasurer, in the same manner and in accordance with the same procedure, as nearly as practicable, as required for the collection and deposit of state assessments under Section 99-19-73.

          (c)  The administrative fees shall be credited to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and may be expended by the department upon appropriation by the Legislature.

     (5)  Each deer or turkey taken or possessed in violation of the tagging program is a separate offense.

     SECTION 63.  Section 49-17-44, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-17-44.  (1)  The Permit Board may require any applicant for a water pollution control permit for the discharge of effluent from any sewer system certificated or required to be certificated by the Public Service Commission to provide a bond or other acceptable financial security instrument payable to the Commission on Environmental Quality and conditioned upon full and satisfactory performance of the requirements of the Mississippi Air and Water Pollution Control Law and any water pollution control permit issued under that law.  Any bond shall be executed by the permittee and a corporate surety licensed to do business in the state.  The commission shall establish by regulation the acceptable forms of financial security and the amount of financial security required for the various types and sizes of facilities.  The purpose of the bond or other financial security shall be the protection of the public health, welfare and the environment.

     (2)  The commission may enter an order requiring forfeiture of the bond or other financial security, if the commission determines that:

          (a)  The continued operation or lack of operation and maintenance of the facility covered by this section represents an imminent threat to the public health, welfare and the environment because the permittee is unable or unwilling to adequately operate and maintain the facility or the facility has been actually or effectively abandoned by the permittee;

          (b)  Reasonable and practical efforts under the circumstances have been made to obtain corrective actions from the permittee; and

          (c)  It does not appear that corrective actions can or will be taken within an appropriate time as determined by the commission.

     (3)  * * *(a)  The proceeds of any forfeiture shall be deposited into a special fund created in subsection (5) of this section and shall be used by the commission or any receiver appointed by the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County to address or correct the noncompliance at the facility or to continue operation and maintenance of the facility.  The proceeds shall be in addition to any other funds otherwise appropriated to the department and may be expended under the authority of this section without additional action of the Legislature.

 * * *  (b)  The commission shall file an annual report detailing the receipts and expenditure of the bond forfeiture fund with the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees.

     (4)  If the commission finds that a facility has been abandoned or that services of a facility have been terminated, the commission may enter any orders regarding continued operations of that facility as it deems necessary to protect the public health, welfare and the environment.

     (5)  (a)  There is created in the State Treasury a fund to be designated as the "Water Pollution Control Bond Forfeiture Fund."  Monies in the fund shall be used by the commission or any receiver appointed by the court to address or correct the noncompliance at the facility or to continue operation and maintenance of the facility for which the bond or other financial security was forfeited.

          (b)  Expenditures may be made from the fund upon requisition by the executive director of the department.

          (c)  The fund shall be treated as a special trust fund.  Interest earned on the principal shall be credited by the Treasurer to the fund.

          (d)  The fund may receive monies from any available public or private source, including, but not limited to, proceeds from bond or other financial security forfeitures, interest, and funds from other judicial actions.

     (6)  An appeal from any decision of the commission under this section may be taken as provided in Section 49-17-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (7)  This section shall be applicable to new applications for water pollution control permits and to existing water pollution control permits upon application for reissuance or transfer of a permit.

     SECTION 64.  Section 49-15-305, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     49-15-305.  (1)  The Governor shall appoint the Executive Director of the Department of Marine Resources, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.  The executive director shall be knowledgeable and experienced in marine resources management.

     (2)  The executive director of the department shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To supervise and direct all administrative, inspection and technical activities and personnel of the department;

          (b)  To employ qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields, and any other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department;

          (c)  To coordinate all studies in the State of Mississippi concerned with the supply, development, use and conservation of marine resources;

 * * *  (d)  To prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at any other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the department may have;

          ( * * *ed)  To enter into cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with studies and investigations pertaining to marine resources, provided the agreements do not have a financial cost in excess of the amounts appropriated for the purposes by the Legislature; and

          ( * * *fe)  To carry out all regulations and rules adopted by the department and enforce all licenses and permits issued by the department.

     SECTION 65.  Section 57-1-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-1-18.  (1)  For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

          (a)  "Limited population county" means a county in the State of Mississippi with a population of thirty thousand (30,000) or less according to the most recent federal decennial census at the time the county submits its application to the MDA under this section.

          (b)  "MDA" means the Mississippi Development Authority.

          (c)  "Project" means highways, streets and other roadways, bridges, sidewalks, utilities, airfields, airports, acquisition of equipment, acquisition of real property, development of real property, improvements to real property, and any other project approved by the MDA.

          (d)  "Small municipality" means a municipality in the State of Mississippi with a population of ten thousand (10,000) or less according to the most recent federal decennial census at the time the municipality submits its application to the MDA under this section.  The term "small municipality" also includes a municipal historical hamlet as defined in Section 17-27-5.

     (2)  (a)  There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Fund," which shall consist of funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Legislature in any manner and funds from any other source designated for deposit into such fund.  Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any investment earnings or interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund.  Monies in the fund shall be used to make grants to small municipalities and limited population counties or natural gas districts created by law and contained therein to assist in completing projects under this section.

          (b)  Monies in the fund which are derived from proceeds of bonds issued under Sections 1 through 16 of Chapter 538, Laws of 2002, Sections 1 through 16 of Chapter 508, Laws of 2003, Sections 55 through 70 of Chapter 1, Laws of 2004 Third Extraordinary Session, Sections 1 through 16 of Chapter 482, Laws of 2006, Section 15 of Chapter 580, Laws of 2007, Section 1 of Chapter 503, Laws of 2008, Section 42 of Chapter 557, Laws of 2009, Section 38 of Chapter 533, Laws of 2010, Section 41 of Chapter 480, Laws of 2011, Section 30 of Chapter 569, Laws of 2013, Section 4 of Chapter 530, Laws of 2014, Section 11 of Chapter 472, Laws of 2015, Section 19 of Chapter 511, Laws of 2016, Section 5 of Chapter 452, Laws of 2018, Section 19 of Chapter 454, Laws of 2019, or Section 11 of Chapter 492, Laws of 2020, may be used to reimburse reasonable actual and necessary costs incurred by the MDA for the administration of the various grant, loan and financial incentive programs administered by the MDA.  An accounting of actual costs incurred for which reimbursement is sought shall be maintained by the MDA.  Reimbursement of reasonable actual and necessary costs shall not exceed three percent (3%) of the proceeds of bonds issued.  Reimbursements under this subsection shall satisfy any applicable federal tax law requirements.

     (3)  The MDA shall establish a grant program to make grants to small municipalities and limited population counties from the Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Fund.  Grants made under this section to a small municipality or a limited population county shall not exceed Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) during any grant period established by the MDA.  A small municipality or limited population county may apply to the MDA for a grant under this section in the manner provided for in this section.

     (4)  A small municipality or limited population county desiring assistance under this section must submit an application to the MDA.  The application must include a description of the project for which assistance is requested, the cost of the project for which assistance is requested, the amount of assistance requested and any other information required by the MDA.

     (5)  The MDA shall have all powers necessary to implement and administer the program established under this section, and the department shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law, necessary for the implementation of this section.

 * * * (6)  The MDA shall file an annual report with the Governor, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives not later than December 1 of each year, describing all assistance provided under this section.

     SECTION 66.  Section 57-1-367, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-1-367.  (1)  (a) * * *DECD  MDA shall set a goal to expend not less than ten percent (10%) of the total amounts expended by * * *DECD MDA on planning, construction, training, research, development, testing, evaluation, personal services, procurement, and for the operation and maintenance of any facilities or activities controlled by * * *DECD MDA, with minority small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  For the purpose of determining the total amounts expended with such minority small business concerns, credit shall be given for that portion of any prime contract entered into with * * *DECD MDA which inures to the benefit of such minority small business concern as a subcontractor thereunder.

          (b)  For the purposes of this section, the term "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" shall have the meaning ascribed to such term under Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act (15 USCS, Section 637(d)) and relevant subcontracting regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

          (c)  For the purposes of this section, the term "minority small business concern" means any small business concern:

              (i)  Which is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; or, in the case of any publicly owned businesses, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and

              (ii)  Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of such individuals.

          (d)  For the purpose of this section, the term "small business concern" shall mean "small business" as the latter term is defined in Section 57-10-155, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (2)  In order to comply in a timely manner with its minority small business participation mandate, * * *DECD MDA shall set an annual goal to expend not less than ten percent (10%) of its aggregate yearly expenditures with minority small business concerns.

     (3) * * *DECD  MDA shall:

          (a)  Monitor the minority small business concerns assistance programs prescribed in this section.

          (b)  Review and determine the business capabilities of minority small business concerns.

          (c)  Establish standards for a certification procedure for minority small business concerns seeking to do business with * * *DECD MDA.

          (d)  Provide technical assistance services to minority small business concerns.  Such technical assistance shall include but not be limited to:

              (i)  Research;

              (ii)  Assistance in obtaining bonds;

              (iii)  Bid preparation;

               (iv)  Certification of business concerns;

              (v)  Marketing assistance; and

              (vi)  Joint venture and capital development.

          (e)  Develop alternative bidding and contracting procedures for minority small business concerns in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Administration.

          (f)  Utilize such alternative bidding and contracting procedures in lieu of those prescribed in Title 31, Chapters 5 and 7, Mississippi Code of 1972, when contracting with minority small business concerns that have qualified to bid for contracts and have satisfied any other disclosure provisions required by * * *DECD MDA.

          (g)  Be authorized to accept in lieu of any bond otherwise required from minority small business concerns or small business concerns contracting with * * *DECD MDA, in an amount equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the total cost of the contracted project, any combination of the following:

              (i)  Cash;

              (ii)  Certificates of deposit from any bank or banking corporation insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation;

              (iii)  Federal treasury bills;

              (iv)  Letters of credit issued by a bank as that term is defined in Section 81-3-1, Mississippi Code of 1972; or

              (v)  Surety bonds issued by an insurance company licensed and qualified to do business in the State of Mississippi.

          (h)  Be authorized, in its discretion, to waive any bond required on any project which does not exceed a total dollar value of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00).  A retainage shall be held by the authority in an amount not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) from each draw according to American Institute of Architects (AIA) standards.  Upon satisfactory completion of such project, ten percent (10%) of the total cost of the contract shall be held in an interest-bearing escrow account for one (1) year. Funds deposited in such escrow account shall stand as a surety for any defects in workmanship or materials detected within twelve (12) months of completion.  The balance of all monies so escrowed including accrued interest shall be paid to the contractor at the end of such twelve-month period.

          (i)  Be empowered to provide an incentive of bimonthly payments to any prime contractors utilizing minority small business concerns as subcontractors on twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total dollar value of any single project or contract.

 * * *  (j)  Submit an annual report on its progress concerning minority small business contracts to the Legislature by January 30 of each year.

          ( * * *kj)  Take all steps necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

     SECTION 67.  Section 57-1-701, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-1-701.  (1)  For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

          (a)  "Eligible entity" means any (i) county, (ii) municipality or (iii) public or private nonprofit local economic development entity including, but not limited to, local authorities, commissions, or other entities created by local and private legislation or pursuant to Section 19-5-99.

          (b)  "Eligible expenditures" means:

              (i)  Fees for architects, engineers, environmental consultants, attorneys, and such other advisors, consultants and agents that MDA determines are necessary to complete site due diligence associated with site development improvements located on industrial property that is publicly owned; and/or

              (ii)  Contributions toward site development improvements, as approved by MDA, located on industrial property that is publicly owned.

          (c)  "MDA" means the Mississippi Development Authority.

          (d)  "Site development improvements" means site clearing, grading, and environmental mitigation; improvements to drainage systems; easement and right-of-way acquisition; sewer systems; transportation directly affecting the site, including roads, bridges or rail; bulkheads; land reclamation; water supply (storage, treatment and distribution); aesthetic improvements; the dredging of channels and basins; or other improvements as approved by MDA.

     (2)  (a)  There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Mississippi Site Development Grant Fund," which shall consist of funds made available by the Legislature in any manner and funds from any other source designated for deposit into such fund.  Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any investment earnings or interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund.  Monies in the fund shall be used to make grants to assist eligible entities as provided in this section.

          (b)  Monies in the fund which are derived from proceeds of bonds issued under Section 2 of Chapter 390, Laws of 2017,  Section 5 of Chapter 412, Laws of 2018, Section 1 of Chapter 421, Laws of 2019, or Section 4 of Chapter 492, Laws of 2020, may be used to reimburse reasonable actual and necessary costs incurred by MDA for the administration of the various grant, loan and financial incentive programs administered by MDA.  An accounting of actual costs incurred for which reimbursement is sought shall be maintained by MDA.  Reimbursement of reasonable actual and necessary costs shall not exceed three percent (3%) of the proceeds of bonds issued.  Reimbursements under this subsection shall satisfy any applicable federal tax law requirements.

     (3)  (a)  MDA shall establish a program to make grants to eligible entities to match local or other funds associated with improving the marketability of publicly owned industrial property for industrial economic development purposes and other property improvements as approved by MDA.  An eligible entity may apply to MDA for a grant under this program in the manner provided for in this section.  An eligible entity desiring assistance under this section must provide matching funds in an amount determined by MDA.  Matching funds may be provided in the form of cash and/or in-kind services as determined by MDA.

          (b)  An eligible entity desiring assistance under this section must submit an application to MDA.  The application must include:

              (i)  A description of the eligible expenditures for which assistance is requested;

              (ii)  The amount of assistance requested;

              (iii)  The amount and type of matching funds to be provided by the eligible entity; and

              (iv)  Any other information required by MDA.

          (c)  Upon request by MDA, an eligible entity shall provide MDA with access to all studies, reports, documents and/or plans developed as a result of or related to an eligible entity receiving assistance under this section.

     (4)  MDA shall have all powers necessary to implement and administer the program established under this section, and the department shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law, necessary for the implementation of this section.

 * * * (5)  MDA shall file an annual report with the Governor, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives not later than December 1 of each year, describing all assistance provided under this section.

     SECTION 68.  Section 57-10-707, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-10-707.  (1)  To the extent funds are available, the Mississippi Development Authority, in cooperation with public and private sector partners, is authorized to establish a program modeled on comparable initiatives throughout the nation that provides grants and loans and/or promotes access to healthy food retailers that increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, in natural and/or frozen form, and other affordable healthy food in underserved communities.

     (2)  The agency may contract with one or more qualified nonprofit organizations or community development financial institutions to administer the program described in this article through a public-private partnership, to raise matching funds, market the program statewide, evaluate applicants, make award decisions, underwrite loans and monitor compliance and impact.  The agency and its partners shall coordinate with complementary nutrition assistance and education programs.

     (3)  Any funding provided under the program shall be provided on a competitive, one-time basis as appropriate for the eligible project.  No state funds shall be directly provided as a source of funding for any food retailer under this program, but may be used by the agency for its administrative duties in carrying out the provisions of this article.

     (4)  (a)  The program may provide technical assistance and/or funding for projects such as:

              (i)  New construction of healthy food retailers.

              (ii)  Store renovations, expansion and infrastructure upgrades that improve the availability and quality of fresh produce.

              (iii)  Farmers' markets and public markets, food cooperatives, mobile markets and delivery projects and distribution projects that enable food retailers in underserved communities to regularly obtain fresh produce.

              (iv)  Other projects that create or improve healthy food retail outlets that meet the intent of this article as determined by the agency.

          (b)  Funding made available for projects included in paragraph (a) of this subsection may be used for the following purposes:

               (i)  Site acquisition and preparation.

              (ii)  Construction costs.

              (iii)  Equipment and furnishings.

              (iv)  Workforce training.

              (v)  Security.

              (vi)  Certain predevelopment costs such as market studies and appraisals.

              (vii)  Working capital for initial inventory and costs.

     (5)  An applicant for funding may include, but not be limited to, a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or cooperative.

     (6)  In order to be considered for funding, an applicant shall meet the following eligibility criteria:

          (a)  The project for which the applicant seeks funding shall benefit an underserved community.

          (b)  The applicant shall demonstrate a meaningful commitment to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, in natural and/or frozen form, according to a measurable standard established by the agency.

          (c)  The applicant shall not locate the project in an area where it would be directly competing against an existing food retailer.

     (7)  Applicants shall be evaluated on the following financial criteria in order to determine the funding awarded:

          (a)  Demonstrated capacity to successfully implement the project, including the applicant's relevant experience and the likelihood that the project will be economically self-sustaining.

          (b)  The ability of the applicant to repay debt.

          (c)  The degree to which the project requires an investment of public funding to move forward, create impact or be competitive, and the level of need in the area to be served. Additional factors that will improve or preserve retail access for low-income residents, such as proximity to public transit lines, also may be taken into account.

          (d)  The degree to which the project will promote sales of fresh produce, particularly Mississippi-grown fruits and vegetables.

          (e)  The degree to which the project will have a positive economic impact on the underserved community, including, creating or retaining jobs for local residents.

          (f)  Other criteria that the agency determines to be consistent with the purposes of this article.

     (8)  The agency shall establish program benchmarks and reporting processes to make certain that the program benefits the communities in the program area.  The agency shall likewise establish monitoring and accountability mechanisms for projects receiving grants or loans, such as tracking fruit and vegetable sales data.

 * * * (9)  The agency shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Legislature on any projects funded and outcome data.

     ( * * *109)  The agency shall establish rules for the implementation of this article.

     SECTION 69.  Section 57-13-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-13-47.  (1)  For the purposes of this section the term "tax expenditure provision" means any statutory provision or state agency regulation which exempts, in whole or in part, any specific class or classes of persons, income, goods, services or property from the impact of established state taxes, including, but not limited to, those provisions known as tax deductions, tax allowances, tax exclusions, tax credits and tax exemptions.

     (2)  (a)  The University Research Center shall annually prepare a report detailing the approximate costs in foregone revenue because of all state tax expenditure provisions, including those incorporated by conformance with the Federal Internal Revenue Code, in effect at the time of the report; however, the report to be submitted by November 1, 1986, may include tax expenditures only for sales taxes, use taxes and income taxes, and subsequent reports shall include tax expenditures for all taxes.  The report shall also explain the policy purposes for each such tax expenditure provision and may show any indicators of effectiveness or ineffectiveness in achieving such policy purposes.  If the Director of the University Research Center determines that preparation of such report shall adversely affect in a material manner any work or projects of the center which are being performed by staff persons preparing the report required by this section, the director may request the Legislative Budget Committee to reduce the requirements of this section as to the contents of the report for one (1) year, but in no event shall the report contain less than the dollar amount of each such tax expenditure required to be included therein.

          (b)  The report shall include the analyses required by Sections 57-13-101 through 57-13-109.

 * * * (3)  The University Research Center shall, on or before November 1 of each year, furnish five (5) copies of the report to the Secretary of the Senate and to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, two (2) copies to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees and to the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees, and a copy to each member of the State Fiscal Management Board and the Legislative Budget Committee.  Each member of the Legislature shall be entitled to receive one (1) copy of the report upon request.

     ( * * *43)  All state agencies and all political subdivisions of the State of Mississippi, and the officers and employees thereof, shall cooperate with the center in preparing such report and shall provide any and all information, documents and materials requested by the center.

     SECTION 70.  Section 57-39-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-39-19.  (1)  To ensure that state-owned facilities be operated in an energy-efficient manner to reduce operating costs to the General Fund and demonstrate successful energy consumption reduction strategies to other sectors of the state economy, the division shall coordinate the development and implementation of a general energy management plan for state-owned and operated facilities in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Administration, Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management.  The general energy management plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:

          (a)  Gathering of energy-related data from state agencies, state institutions of higher learning, and community and junior colleges in a form and manner as required by the division;

          (b)  Benchmarking of energy consumption and costs;

          (c)  Use of a central system to aggregate and track energy consumption data for all state-owned facilities;

          (d)  Model buildings and facilities energy audit procedures;

          (e)  Model energy consumption reduction techniques;

          (f)  Uniform data analysis procedures;

          (g)  Model employee energy education program procedures;

          (h)  Model training program for agency and institution personnel and energy coordinators;

          (i)  Model guidelines for buildings and facilities managers;

          (j)  Program monitoring and evaluation procedures.

     (2)  The State Energy Management Plan shall also include a description of actions to reduce consumption of electricity and nonrenewable energy sources used for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and water heating.  A designee of each of the following entities - the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the Community College Board, the Department of Education, and the Department of Finance and Administration shall assist in the preparation of the State Energy Management Plan and serve together on an advisory board; the director of the division shall serve as the head of this board and shall convene representatives of these institutions no fewer than once each year in order to review implementation of the State Energy Management Plan.

     (3)  The State Energy Management Plan shall be developed and implemented with input and assistance from the Department of Finance and Administration, Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management, and the two (2) state agencies shall work together and pledge to use pertinent resources and programs in conjunction with one another to accomplish the goals described in this section.

     (4)  The Department of Finance and Administration, Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management shall transmit to the division an updated state building inventory on an annual basis.

     (5)  All state agencies having buildings on the inventory of buildings submitted to the Department of Finance and Administration as well as all institutions of higher learning and community and junior colleges (hereafter referred to as "covered entities"), shall submit energy consumption in a form and manner prescribed by the division.

     (6)  Energy-related data may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

          (a)  Electrical consumption data;

          (b)  Natural gas consumption; and

          (c)  Fuel oil consumption.

     Any covered entity that does not enter its energy data in the form and manner prescribed by the division shall, at the discretion of the division, not be eligible to receive energy conservation funds from the Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management or be eligible to receive any state, federal or other funds from the division.  The Mississippi Development Authority, in coordination with the Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management, shall promulgate rules pertaining to this section.

 * * * (7)  By September 1 of each year, the division shall provide to the Legislature and the Governor a report on the energy consumption of covered entities.  This report shall include, but shall not be limited to, total energy consumption for the state, total costs related to the energy metrics being tracked, increases or decreases from year‑to‑year by the state and by each covered entity, and forecast models for the coming fiscal year.  The Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management shall provide assistance in the development of this report, as needed.  The division will also provide a list of covered entities that have not reported data in accordance with this section.

     ( * * *87)  By November 1, 2014, and each subsequent five-year interval, each covered entity must submit a detailed energy management plan to the division.  The detailed energy management plan shall describe specific measures to be taken to reduce the agency's energy consumption by energy unit measure over a five-year period.  The plan shall also include a timetable to accomplish the agency's reduction goals.  If the detailed energy management plan meets the criteria developed by the division, the division shall approve the plan.  If the detailed energy management plan fails to meet the criteria, the division shall disapprove the detailed energy management plan and notify the submitting agency in writing, including the reasons for disapproval.  Covered entities that do not submit an energy management plan by the deadline or fail to remedy changes subsequently required by the division shall, at the discretion of the division, not be eligible to receive energy conservation funds from the Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management or be eligible to receive capital improvement funds from the Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management or be eligible to receive any state, federal or other funds from the division until such time as the entity has an energy management plan approved by the division.

     SECTION 71.  Section 57-55-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-55-15.  (1)  The Mississippi Energy Research Center, hereinafter referred to as the MERC, is hereby established under the management and control of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  The MERC shall be a unit of Mississippi State University under the direct supervision of the president thereof or a vice president to be designated by the president.

     (2)  It shall be the purpose of the MERC to develop, implement and coordinate energy and energy-related research programs in Mississippi.  It shall be the duty of the MERC to:

          (a)  Conduct basic and applied research related to energy needs within Mississippi;

          (b)  Consult with state and local government agencies, utilities, industry and Legislature and other potential users of research in identifying and prioritizing energy problems for research;

          (c)  Negotiate and administer contracts with other universities of the state for the conduct of research projects;

 * * *  (d)  Report to the Governor and to the Legislature each year on the progress and findings of research projects;

          ( * * *ed)  Facilitate the transfer and application of new technologies as they are developed; and

          ( * * *fe)  Facilitate and stimulate research that:

              (i)  Deals with policy issues facing the Legislature;

              (ii)  Supports state agencies' missions with research on problems encountered and expected; and

              (iii)  Provides energy planning and management organizations with tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness of energy planning and management.

     (3)  The principal administrative officer of the MERC shall be a director, who shall be appointed by the president with the approval of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  To meet the purposes of the center, the director shall develop appropriate policies and procedures (a) for identification of priority research problems; (b) for collaborating with local and state government agencies, utilities, industry, other universities, federal government agencies and the Legislature in the formulation of its research program; (c) for selection of projects to be funded; and (d) for the transfer of technology which is produced by the research.

     SECTION 72.  Section 57-67-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-67-37.  (1)  (a)  The authority shall expend not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the total amounts expended by the authority on planning, construction, training, research, development, testing, evaluation, personal services, procurement, and for the operation and maintenance of any facilities or activities controlled by such authority, with minority small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  For the purpose of determining the total amounts expended with such minority small business concerns, credit shall be given for that portion of any prime contract entered into with the authority which inures to the benefit of such minority small business concern as a subcontractor thereunder. 

          (b)  For the purposes of this section, the term "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" shall have the meaning ascribed to such term under Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act (15 USCS, Section 637(d)) and relevant subcontracting regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. 

          (c)  For the purposes of this section, the term "minority small business concern" means any small business concern:

              (i)  Which is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; or, in the case of any publicly owned businesses, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and

              (ii)  Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of such individuals. 

          (d)  For the purposes of this section, the term "small business concern" shall mean "small business" as the latter term is defined in Section 57-10-155, Mississippi Code of 1972. 

     (2)  In order to comply in a timely manner with its minority small business participation mandate, the authority shall set an annual goal to expend not less than fifteen percent (15%) of its aggregate yearly expenditures with minority small business concerns. 

     (3)  The authority shall:

          (a)  Monitor the minority small business concerns assistance programs prescribed in this section. 

          (b)  Review and determine the business capabilities of minority small business concerns. 

          (c)  Establish standards for a certification procedure for minority small business concerns seeking to do business with the authority. 

          (d)  Provide technical assistance services to minority small business concerns.  Such technical assistance shall include but not be limited to:

              (i)  Research;

              (ii)  Assistance in obtaining bonds;

              (iii)  Bid preparation;

              (iv)  Certification of business concerns;

              (v)  Marketing assistance; and

              (vi)  Joint venture and capital development. 

          (e)  Develop alternative bidding and contracting procedures for minority small business concerns in conjunction with the State Fiscal Management Board and the Governor's Office of General Services. 

          (f)  Utilize such alternative bidding and contracting procedures in lieu of those prescribed in * * *Title 31, Chapters 5 and 7, Title 31, Mississippi Code of 1972, when contracting with minority small business concerns that have qualified to bid for contracts and have satisfied any other disclosure provisions required by the authority. 

          (g)  Be authorized to accept in lieu of any bond otherwise required from minority small business concerns or small business concerns contracting with the authority, in an amount equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the total cost of the contracted project, any combination of the following:

              (i)  Cash;  

              (ii)  Certificates of deposit from any bank or banking corporation insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation;

              (iii)  Federal treasury bills;

              (iv)  Letters of credit issued by a bank as that term is defined in Section 81-3-1, Mississippi Code of 1972; or

              (v)  Surety bonds issued by an insurance company licensed and qualified to do business in the State of Mississippi. 

          (h)  Be authorized, in its discretion, to waive any bond required on any project which does not exceed a total dollar value of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00).  A retainage shall be held by the authority in an amount not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) from each draw according to American Institute of Architects (AIA) standards.  Upon satisfactory completion of such project, ten percent (10%) of the total cost of the contract shall be held in an interest-bearing escrow account for one (1) year.  Funds deposited in such escrow account shall stand as a surety for any defects in workmanship or materials detected within twelve (12) months of completion.  The balance of all monies so escrowed including accrued interest shall be paid to the contractor at the end of such twelve-month period. 

          (i)  Be empowered to provide an incentive of bimonthly payments to any prime contractors utilizing minority small business concerns as subcontractors on twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total dollar value of any single project or contract. 

 * * *  (j)  Submit an annual report on its progress concerning minority small business contracts to the Legislature by January 30 of each year.

          ( * * *kj)  Take all steps necessary to implement the provisions of this section. 

     (4)  The Governor shall create an Office of Minority Small Business Development within the authority.  The Office of Minority Small Business Development shall be the primary provider of technical assistance to minority small business concerns.  The authority may, in its discretion, contract with minority small business concerns and small business concerns to provide technical assistance under the provisions of this section.  The authority may annually expend not more than one percent (1%) of the total dollar amount prescribed in subsection (2) of this section for the purpose of providing technical assistance.  All funds expended for technical assistance shall be administrative funds or any funds available other than the amounts prescribed in subsection (1)(a) of this section. 

     (5)  The authority shall assist in facilitating the entry of minorities into the subject areas of engineering, high-energy physics, mathematics and computer science.  An historically Black public institution of higher learning may receive funding from the authority for the enhancement of curriculum in any of these areas for minority student development on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

     SECTION 73.  Section 57-69-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-69-5.  (1)  There is hereby created the Office of Minority Business Enterprises of the Mississippi Development Authority under the Mississippi Development Authority.  The Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority shall appoint an executive director for the office.  The executive director may employ a staff subject to approval of the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority as necessary to carry out the purposes of this office.

     (2)  The office shall perform the following:

          (a)  Develop, plan and implement programs to provide an opportunity for participation by qualified minority owned businesses in public works and the process by which goods and services are procured by state agencies and educational institutions from the private sector;

          (b)  Develop a comprehensive plan encouraging that qualified minority owned businesses are provided an opportunity to participate in public contracts for public works and commodities and services;

          (c)  Identify barriers to equal participation by qualified minority owned businesses in all state agency and educational institution contracts;

          (d)  Develop and maintain a central minority business enterprise certification list for all state agencies and educational institutions;

          (e)  Adopt rules for the implementation of this chapter;

          (f)  Develop and maintain a central minority business enterprise certification program;

          (g)  Develop and maintain a central minority business enterprise supplier certification program;

          (h)  * * *Submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature outlining the progress and economic impact on the public and private sectors of implementing this chapter; [Deleted]

          (i)  Increase efforts to inform minority businesses of state government procurement procedures and policies;

          (j)  Serve as the principal advocate in the state on behalf of minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers and provide advice in the consideration of administrative requirements and legislation that affect minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (k)  Evaluate the effectiveness of efforts of state agencies and other entities to assist minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers and make appropriate recommendations to assist the development and strengthening of minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (l)  Determine the availability of financial and other resources to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers and recommend methods for:

              (i)  Increasing the availability of equity capital and other forms of financial assistance to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

              (ii)  Generating markets for the goods and services of minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

              (iii)  Providing more effective education, training and management and technical assistance to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers; and

              (iv)  Providing assistance to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers in complying with federal, state and local laws;

          (m)  Serve as a focal point for receiving complaints and suggestions concerning state government policies and activities that affect minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (n)  Develop and advocate proposals for changes in state policies and activities that adversely affect minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (o)  Provide to legislative committees and state agencies information on the effects of proposed policies or actions that affect minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (p)  Enlist the assistance of public and private agencies, businesses and other organizations in disseminating information about state programs and services that benefit minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers and information regarding means by which minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers can use those programs and services;

          (q)  Identify sources of financial assistance for minority business enterprises, match minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers with sources of financial assistance, and assist minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers with the preparation of applications for loans from governmental or private sources;

          (r)  Sponsor meetings, to the extent practicable in cooperation with public and private educational institutions, to provide training and disseminate information beneficial to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (s)  Assist minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers in their dealings with federal, state and local governmental agencies and provide information regarding governmental requirements affecting minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (t)  Develop and implement programs to encourage governmental agencies, public sector business associations and other organizations to provide useful services to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (u)  Use available resources within the state, such as minority business enterprise development centers, educational institutions and nonprofit associations, to coordinate the provision of management and technical assistance to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers in a systematic manner;

          (v)  Publish newsletters, brochures and other documents containing information useful to minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers;

          (w)  Identify successful minority business enterprise assistance programs provided by other states and determine the feasibility of adapting those programs for implementation in Mississippi;

          (x)  Establish an outreach program to make the existence of the office known to minority business enterprises, minority business enterprise suppliers and potential clients throughout the state; and

          (y)  Identify potential business opportunities for minority business enterprises and minority business enterprise suppliers and develop programs to maximize those opportunities.

     SECTION 74.  Section 57-75-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-75-21.  (1)  (a)  The authority shall set a goal to expend not less than ten percent (10%) of the total amounts expended by the authority on planning, construction, training, research, development, testing, evaluation, personal services, procurement, and for the operation and maintenance of any facilities or activities controlled by such authority, with minority small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  For the purpose of determining the total amounts expended with such minority small business concerns, credit shall be given for that portion of any prime contract entered into with the authority which inures to the benefit of such minority small business concern as a subcontractor thereunder.

          (b)  For the purposes of this section, the term "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" shall have the meaning ascribed to such term under Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act (15 USCS, Section 637(d)) and relevant subcontracting regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

          (c)  For the purposes of this section, the term "minority small business concern" means any small business concern:

              (i)  Which is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; or, in the case of any publicly owned businesses, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and

              (ii)  Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of such individuals.

          (d)  For the purpose of this section, the term "small business concern" shall mean "small business" as the latter term is defined in Section 57-10-155, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (2)  In order to comply in a timely manner with its minority small business participation mandate, the authority shall set an annual goal to expend not less than ten percent (10%) of its aggregate yearly expenditures with minority small business concerns.

     (3)  The authority shall:

          (a)  Monitor the minority small business concerns assistance programs prescribed in this section.

          (b)  Review and determine the business capabilities of minority small business concerns.

          (c)  Establish standards for a certification procedure for minority small business concerns seeking to do business with the authority.

          (d)  Provide technical assistance services to minority small business concerns.  Such technical assistance shall include but not be limited to:

              (i)  Research;

              (ii)  Assistance in obtaining bonds;

              (iii)  Bid preparation;

              (iv)  Certification of business concerns;

              (v)  Marketing assistance; and

              (vi)  Joint venture and capital development.

          (e)  Develop alternative bidding and contracting procedures for minority small business concerns in conjunction with the State Fiscal Management Board and the Governor's Office of General Services.

          (f)  Utilize such alternative bidding and contracting procedures in lieu of those prescribed in Title 31, Chapters 5 and 7, Mississippi Code of 1972, when contracting with minority small business concerns that have qualified to bid for contracts and have satisfied any other disclosure provisions required by the authority.

          (g)  Be authorized to accept in lieu of any bond otherwise required from minority small business concerns or small business concerns contracting with the authority, in an amount equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the total cost of the contracted project, any combination of the following:

              (i)  Cash;

              (ii)  Certificates of deposit from any bank or banking corporation insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation;

              (iii)  Federal treasury bills;

              (iv)  Letters of credit issued by a bank as that term is defined in Section 81-3-1, Mississippi Code of 1972; or

              (v)  Surety bonds issued by an insurance company licensed and qualified to do business in the State of Mississippi.

          (h)  Be authorized, in its discretion, to waive any bond required on any project which does not exceed a total dollar value of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00).  A retainage shall be held by the authority in an amount not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) from each draw according to American Institute of Architects (AIA) standards.  Upon satisfactory completion of such project, ten percent (10%) of the total cost of the contract shall be held in an interest-bearing escrow account for one (1) year. Funds deposited in such escrow account shall stand as a surety for any defects in workmanship or materials detected within twelve (12) months of completion.  The balance of all monies so escrowed including accrued interest shall be paid to the contractor at the end of such twelve-month period.

          (i)  Be empowered to provide an incentive of bimonthly payments to any prime contractors utilizing minority small business concerns as subcontractors on twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total dollar value of any single project or contract.

 * * *  (j)  Submit an annual report on its progress concerning minority small business contracts to the Legislature by January 30 of each year.

          ( * * *kj)  Take all steps necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

     SECTION 75.  Section 59-7-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     59-7-7.  All improvements, constructed by and under the provisions of this article, shall be operated under the control of a port commission as provided in Chapter 1 of this title. All revenue created or collected from the use of * * *said the docks, harbors and facilities of whatsoever nature shall be paid into the city treasury of * * *said the port of entry to be used exclusively for the advancement, development and advertising of * * *said the port in whatsoever method or manner * * *said the port commissioners shall see fit, and all revenue provided for in this article, either by levy or collection from * * *said the docks and harbor facilities may be paid to the retirement of any bonds heretofore issued or hereafter issued by any such municipality for wharf construction or other port purposes, regardless of the time of issuance of such bonds.  * * *Said The port commissioners of * * *said the port of entry shall make an annual report to the Governor of the State of Mississippi, * * *to the state legislature, to the board of supervisors, and to the municipal governing authorities.

     SECTION 76.  Section 59-7-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     59-7-307.  All improvements and facilities constructed pursuant to Article 1 of this chapter, and/or constructed pursuant to this article, shall be maintained and operated under the control of the port commission as provided in Chapter 1 of this title. The * * *said port commission shall, subject to and in accordance with any agreement or agreements as may be made by any such municipality with the purchaser or purchasers of bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this article, prescribe, levy and collect all rents, fees, tolls, revenues, and/or other charges in connection with the use and occupancy of the aforesaid improvements and facilities, and shall pay over all net revenues derived from the operation of * * *said the improvements and facilities to any trustee, or successor thereto, established as hereinafter in this article provided. Net revenues shall be deemed to be such as may be defined in any agreement or agreements entered into between any such municipality and the purchaser or purchasers of any bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this article. The * * *said port commission shall make an annual report to the Governor of the State of Mississippi * * *, and to the municipality having such port of entry * * *, and to the state legislature.

     SECTION 77.  Section 59-7-413, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     59-7-413.  All improvements and facilities constructed pursuant to this article shall be maintained and operated under the control of the port commission as provided by this article. The port commission shall, subject to and in accordance with any agreement or agreements as may be made by any such municipality with the purchaser or purchasers of bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this article, prescribe, levy and collect all rents, fees, tolls, revenues and/or other charges in connection with the use and occupancy of the aforesaid improvements and facilities, and shall pay over all net revenues derived from the operation of * * *said the improvements and facilities to any trustee, or successor thereto, established as hereinafter provided in Section 59-7-429. The net revenues shall be deemed to be such as may be defined in any agreement or agreements entered into between any such municipality and the purchaser or purchasers of any bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this article. The port commission shall make an annual report to the governor of the State of Mississippi * * *, and to the municipality having such port or harbor * * *, and to the state legislature.

     SECTION 78.  Section 65-1-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     65-1-10.  Under the authority of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, and in conformity with its orders as spread on its minutes, the executive director shall:

          (a)  Unless otherwise provided by law, appoint a director in charge of each operating office of the department who shall be responsible to the executive director for the operation of such office.  Each such director shall be qualified and experienced in the functions performed by the office under his charge;

          (b)  Administer the policies promulgated by the commission;

          (c)  Supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the department;

          (d)  Organize the offices and bureaus of the department;

          (e)  Coordinate the activities of the various offices of the department;

          (f)  Fix the compensation of employees of the department and require any employee to give bond to the State of Mississippi for the faithful performance of his duties in an amount the executive director deems appropriate.  Premiums on all bonds so required shall be paid out of any funds available to the department;

          (g)  Recommend such studies and investigations as he may deem appropriate and carry out the approved recommendations in conjunction with the various offices;

          (h)  * * *Prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department and the offices thereof, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the department may have * * *.; [Deleted]

          (i)  Have full and general supervision over all matters relating to the construction or maintenance of the state highways, letting of contracts therefor, and the selection of materials to be used in the construction of state highways under the authority conferred by this chapter as herein set forth and the employment, promotion, demotion, reprimand, suspension, termination, reassignment, transfer, moving or relocation of all personnel not specifically authorized by statute to be employed by the commission.  The executive director may authorize the payment of expenses of any personnel reassigned, transferred, moved or relocated in accordance with such rules and regulations as are promulgated by the commission;

          (j)  Approve all bids, sign all vouchers and requisitions, issue all orders for supplies and materials, sign all contracts and agreements in the name of the State of Mississippi, and subscribe to all other matters which may arise in the carrying out of the intent and purpose of this chapter;

          (k)  Receive and assume control, for the benefit of the state, of any and all highways herein or hereafter fixed as roads constituting a part of the state highway system;

          (l)  Provide for boulevard stops, restricted entrances to main highways and access driveways, neutral grounds, and roadside parks, erect all suitable direction and warning signs, and provide access roads in or to municipalities where necessary; provide limited access facilities when and where deemed necessary, such a facility being defined as a highway or street especially designed or designated for through traffic and over, from or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have only such limited right or easement of access as may be prescribed by the commission, and provide that certain highways or streets may be parkways from which trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles shall be excluded or may be freeways open to customary forms of highway and street traffic and use, and such limited access facilities or parkways may be planned, designated, established, regulated, vacated, altered, improved, constructed and maintained and rights-of-way therefor specifically obtained, either by purchase, gift, condemnation or other form of acquisition;

          (m)  Construct bridges with or without footways, and sidewalks where deemed essential to decrease hazards;

          (n)  Perform services for the Department of Finance and Administration on state property, including, but not limited to, engineering services, and to advance such funds to defray the cost of the expenses incurred in performing such services from out of Transportation Department funds until such department is reimbursed by the Department of Finance and Administration;

          (o)  Perform all duties authorized by Section 27-19-136, Mississippi Code of 1972, concerning the assessment and collection of permit fees, fines and penalties.

     SECTION 79.  Section 65-1-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     65-1-85.  (1)  All contracts by or on behalf of the commission for the purchase of materials, equipment and supplies shall be made in compliance with Section 31-7-1 et seq.  All contracts by or on behalf of the commission for construction, reconstruction or other public work authorized to be done under the provisions of this chapter, except maintenance, shall be made by the executive director, subject to the approval of the commission, only upon competitive bids after due advertisement as follows, to wit:

          (a)  Advertisement for bids shall be in accordance with such rules and regulations, in addition to those herein provided, as may be adopted therefor by the commission, and the commission is authorized and empowered to make and promulgate such rules and regulations as it may deem proper, to provide and adopt standard specifications for road and bridge construction, and to amend such rules and regulations from time to time.

          (b)  The advertisement shall be inserted twice, being once a week for two (2) successive weeks in a newspaper published at the seat of government in Jackson, Mississippi, having a general circulation throughout the state, and no letting shall be less than fourteen (14) days nor more than sixty (60) days after the publication of the first notice of such letting, and notices of such letting may be placed in a metropolitan paper or national trade publication.

          (c)  Before advertising for such work, the executive director shall cause to be prepared and filed in the department detailed plans and specifications covering the work proposed to be done and copies of the plans and specifications shall be subject to inspection by any citizen during all office hours and made available to all prospective bidders upon such reasonable terms and conditions as may be required by the commission.  A fee shall be charged equal to the cost of producing a copy of any such plans and specifications.

          (d)  All such contracts shall be let to a responsible bidder with the lowest and best bid, and a record of all bids received for construction and reconstruction shall be preserved.

          (e)  Each bid for such a construction and reconstruction contract must be accompanied by a cashier's check, a certified check or bidders bond executed by a surety company authorized to do business in the State of Mississippi, in the principal amount of not less than five percent (5%) of the bid, guaranteeing that the bidder will give bond and enter into a contract for the faithful performance of the contract according to plans and specifications on file.

          (f)  Bonds shall be required of the successful bidder in an amount equal to the contract price.  The contract price shall mean the entire cost of the particular contract let.  In the event change orders are made after the execution of a contract which results in increasing the total contract price, additional bond in the amount of the increased cost may be required.  The surety or sureties on such bonds shall be a surety company or surety companies authorized to do business in the State of Mississippi, all bonds to be payable to the State of Mississippi and to be conditioned for the prompt, faithful and efficient performance of the contract according to plans and specifications, and for the prompt payment of all persons furnishing labor, material, equipment and supplies therefor.  Such bonds shall be subject to the additional obligation that the principal and surety or sureties executing the same shall be liable to the state in a civil action instituted by the state at the instance of the commission or any officer of the state authorized in such cases, for double any amount in money or property the state may lose or be overcharged or otherwise defrauded of by reason of any wrongful or criminal act, if any, of the contractor, his agent or employees.

     (2)  With respect to equipment used in the construction, reconstruction or other public work authorized to be done under the provisions of this chapter:  the word "equipment," in addition to all equipment incorporated into or fully consumed in connection with such project, shall include the reasonable value of the use of all equipment of every kind and character and all accessories and attachments thereto which are reasonably necessary to be used and which are used in carrying out the performance of the contract, and the reasonable value of the use thereof, during the period of time the same are used in carrying out the performance of the contract, shall be the amount as agreed upon by the persons furnishing the equipment and those using the same to be paid therefor, which amount, however, shall not be in excess of the maximum current rates and charges allowable for leasing or renting as specified in Section 65-7-95; the word "labor" shall include all work performed in repairing equipment used in carrying out the performance of the contract, which repair labor is reasonably necessary to the efficient operation of said equipment; and the words "materials" and "supplies" shall include all repair parts installed in or on equipment used in carrying out the performance of the contract, which repair parts are reasonably necessary to the efficient operation of said equipment.

     (3)  The executive director, subject to the approval of the commission, shall have the right to reject any and all bids, whether such right is reserved in the notice or not.

     (4)  The commission may require the prequalification of any and all bidders and the failure to comply with prequalification requirements may be the basis for the rejection of any bid by the commission.  The commission may require the prequalification of any and all subcontractors before they are approved to participate in any contract awarded under this section.

     (5)  The commission may adopt rules and regulations for the termination of any previously awarded contract which is not timely proceeding toward completion.  The failure of a contractor to comply with such rules and regulations shall be a lawful basis for the commission to terminate the contract with such contractor.  In the event of a termination under such rules and regulations, the contractor shall not be entitled to any payment, benefit or damages beyond the cost of the work actually completed.

     (6)  Any contract for construction or paving of any highway may be entered into for any cost which does not exceed the amount of funds that may be made available therefor through bond issues or from other sources of revenue, and the letting of contracts for such construction or paving shall not necessarily be delayed until the funds are actually on hand, provided authorization for the issuance of necessary bonds has been granted by law to supplement other anticipated revenue, or when the department certifies to the Department of Finance and Administration and the Legislative Budget Office that projected receipts of funds by the department will be sufficient to pay such contracts as they become due and the Department of Finance and Administration determines that the projections are reasonable and receipts will be sufficient to pay the contracts as they become due.  The Department of Finance and Administration shall spread such determination on its minutes prior to the letting of any contracts based on projected receipts.  Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the issuance of bonds, which have been authorized, at any time in the discretion of the State Bond Commission, nor to prevent investment of surplus funds in United States government bonds or State of Mississippi bonds as presently authorized by Section 12, Chapter 312, Laws of 1956.

     (7)  All other contracts for work to be done under the provisions of this chapter and for the purchase of materials, equipment and supplies to be used as provided for in this chapter shall be made in compliance with Section 31-7-1 et seq.

     (8)  The commission shall not empower or authorize the executive director, or any one or more of its members, or any engineer or other person to let or make contracts for the construction or repair of public roads, or building bridges, or for the purchase of material, equipment or supplies contrary to the provisions of this chapter as set forth in this section, except in cases of flood or other cases of emergency where the public interest requires that the work be done or the materials, equipment or supplies be purchased without the delay incident to advertising for competitive bids.  Such emergency contracts may be made without advertisement under such rules and regulations as the commission may prescribe.

     (9)  The executive director, subject to the approval of the commission, is authorized to negotiate and make agreements with communities and/or civic organizations for landscaping, beautification and maintenance of highway rights-of-way; however, nothing in this subsection shall be construed as authorization for the executive director or commission to participate in such a project to an extent greater than the average cost for maintenance of shoulders, backslopes and median areas with respect thereto.

     (10)  The executive director may negotiate and enter into contracts with private parties for the mowing of grass and trimming of vegetation on the rights-of-way of state highways whenever such practice is possible and cost effective.

     (11)  (a)  As an alternative to the method of awarding contracts as otherwise provided in this section, the commission may use the design-build method of contracting for the following:

              (i)  Projects for the Mississippi Development Authority pursuant to agreements between both governmental entities;

              (ii)  Any project with an estimated cost of not more than Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00), not to exceed two (2) projects per fiscal year; and

              (iii)  Any project which has an estimated cost of more than Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00), not to exceed one (1) project per fiscal year.

          (b)  As used in this subsection, the term "design-build" method of contracting means a contract that combines the design and construction phases of a project into a single contract and the contractor is required to satisfactorily perform, at a minimum, both the design and construction of the project.

          (c)  The commission shall establish detailed criteria for the selection of the successful design-build contractor in each request for design-build proposals.  The evaluation of the selection committee is a public record and shall be maintained for a minimum of ten (10) years after project completion.

          (d)  The commission shall maintain detailed records on projects separate and apart from its regular record keeping.  The commission shall file a report to the Legislature evaluating the design-build method of contracting by comparing it to the low-bid method of contracting.  At a minimum, the report must include:

              (i)  The management goals and objectives for the design-build system of management;

              (ii)  A complete description of the components of the design-build management system, including a description of the system the department put into place on all projects managed under the system to insure that it has the complete information on highway segment costs and to insure proper analysis of any proposal the commission receives from a highway contractor;

              (iii)  The accountability systems the Transportation Department established to monitor any design-build project's compliance with specific goals and objectives for the project;

              (iv)  The outcome of any project or any interim report on an ongoing project let under a design-build management system showing compliance with the goals, objectives, policies and procedures the department set for the project; and

              (v)  The method used by the department to select projects to be let under the design-build system of management and all other systems, policies and procedures that the department considered as necessary components to a design-build management system.

          (e)  All contracts let under the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to oversight and review by the State Auditor.  * * *The State Auditor shall file a report with the Legislature on or before January 1 of each year detailing his findings with regard to any contract let or project performed in violation of the provisions of this subsection.  The actual and necessary expenses incurred by the State Auditor in complying with this paragraph (e) shall be paid for and reimbursed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation out of funds made available for the contract or contracts let and project or projects performed.

     (12)  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the commission from awarding or entering into contracts for the design, construction and financing of toll roads, highways and bridge projects as provided under Sections 65-43-1 and 65-43-3.

     SECTION 80.  Section 65-18-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     65-18-7.  The Local System Road Program shall be administered by the State Aid Engineer.  In administering the program, the State Aid Engineer shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To supervise the use of all funds made available for the purposes of this chapter for use on local system roads in the State of Mississippi;

          (b)  To allocate to each county that county's share of all monies made available under the provisions of this chapter but only when the county has complied with the provisions of this chapter and only when the county is eligible for the allocation of monies under the Local System Road Program;

          (c)  To keep and compile records of all expenditures on local system roads to which money is disbursed under the provisions of this chapter, which records must be kept separate and apart from other state aid records;

          (d)  To approve the construction of local system roads, including roadbeds, grades and drainage, before authorizing the release of funds under this chapter; and

          (e)  To establish such rules and regulations as the State Aid Engineer determines as necessary to implement the provisions of the Local System Road Program * * *; and.

 * * *  (f)  To report to the Legislature, no later than January 1 of each year, on the Local System Road Program.  Such report shall include what projects were approved and constructed, the number of miles constructed or improved and the cost per mile for such construction and improvement.

     SECTION 81.  Section 65-29-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     65-29-7.  * * *Said The county authorities or ferry commission if there be one shall, subject to and in accordance with any agreement or agreements as may be made by any such county or municipality with the purchaser or purchasers of bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this chapter, prescribe, levy, and collect all rents, fees, tolls, revenues, and other charges in connection with the use and occupancy of the aforesaid improvements and facilities, and shall pay over all net revenues derived from the operation of * * *said the improvements and facilities to any trustee, or successor thereto, established as hereinafter in this chapter provided. Net revenues shall be deemed to be such as may be defined in any agreement or agreements entered into between any such municipality and the purchaser or purchasers of any bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this chapter. The * * *said ferry commission shall make an annual report to the Governor of the State of Mississippi * * *, and to the county or municipality having such ferry * * *, and to the state legislature.

     SECTION 82.  Section 67-1-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     67-1-37.  The Department of Revenue, under its duties and powers with respect to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division therein, shall have the following powers, functions and duties:

          (a)  To issue or refuse to issue any permit provided for by this chapter, or to extend the permit or remit in whole or any part of the permit monies when the permit cannot be used due to a natural disaster or act of God.

          (b)  To revoke, suspend or cancel, for violation of or noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter, or the law governing the production and sale of native wines, or any lawful rules and regulations of the department issued hereunder, or for other sufficient cause, any permit issued by it under the provisions of this chapter.  The department shall also be authorized to suspend the permit of any permit holder for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153.  The procedure for suspension of a permit for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a permit suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a permit suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or Section 93-11-163, as the case may be.  If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or Section 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or Section 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.

          (c)  To prescribe forms of permits and applications for permits and of all reports which it deems necessary in administering this chapter.

          (d)  To fix standards, not in conflict with those prescribed by any law of this state or of the United States, to secure the use of proper ingredients and methods of manufacture of alcoholic beverages.

          (e)  To issue rules regulating the advertising of alcoholic beverages in the state in any class of media and permitting advertising of the retail price of alcoholic beverages.

          (f)  To issue reasonable rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the federal laws or regulations, requiring informative labeling of all alcoholic beverages offered for sale within this state and providing for the standards of fill and shapes of retail containers of alcoholic beverages; however, such containers shall not contain less than fifty (50) milliliters by liquid measure.

          (g)  Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of Section 67-1-51, to issue rules and regulations governing the issuance of retail permits for premises located near or around schools, colleges, universities, churches and other public institutions, and specifying the distances therefrom within which no such permit shall be issued.  The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division shall not issue a package retailer's or on-premises retailer's permit for the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages in or on the campus of any public school, community or junior college, college or university.

          (h)  To adopt and promulgate, repeal and amend, such rules, regulations, standards, requirements and orders, not inconsistent with this chapter or any law of this state or of the United States, as it deems necessary to control the manufacture, importation, transportation, distribution and sale of alcoholic liquor, whether intended for beverage or nonbeverage use in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or any other statute, including the native wine laws.

          (i)  To call upon other administrative departments of the state, county and municipal governments, county and city police departments and upon prosecuting officers for such information and assistance as it may deem necessary in the performance of its duties.

          (j)  * * *To prepare and submit to the Governor during the month of January of each year a detailed report of its official acts during the preceding fiscal year ending June 30, including such recommendations as it may see fit to make, and to transmit a like report to each member of the Legislature of this state upon the convening thereof at its next regular session. [Deleted]

          (k)  To inspect, or cause to be inspected, any premises where alcoholic liquors intended for sale are manufactured, stored, distributed or sold, and to examine or cause to be examined all books and records pertaining to the business conducted therein.

          (l)  To investigate the administration of laws in relation to alcoholic liquors in this and other states and any foreign countries, and to recommend from time to time to the Governor and through him to the Legislature of this state such amendments to this chapter, if any, as it may think desirable.

          (m)  To designate hours and days when alcoholic beverages may be sold in different localities in the state which permit such sale.

          (n)  To assign employees to posts of duty at locations where they will be most beneficial for the control of alcoholic beverages and to take any other action concerning persons employed under this chapter as authorized by law and taken in accordance with the rules, regulations and procedures of the State Personnel Board.

          (o)  To enforce the provisions made unlawful by Chapter 3, Title 67 and Section 97-5-49.

          (p)  To delegate its authority under this chapter to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, its director or any other officer or employee of the department that it deems appropriate.

          (q)  To prescribe and charge a fee to defray the costs of shipping alcoholic beverages, provided that such fee is determined in a manner provided by the department by rules and/or regulations adopted in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law.

     SECTION 83.  Section 69-1-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-1-105.  (1)  The council shall be composed of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, House of Representatives and Senate Agriculture Committees, or their designees, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the Director of the * * *Department of Economic Mississippi Development Authority, and the Vice President, Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine of Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University, Divisional Director of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, who shall enter into a cooperative agreement to identify resource availability and personnel expertise in all areas directly or indirectly related to agricultural production, management and marketing as may be deemed necessary to achieve the purposes of Sections 69-1-101 through 69-1-117.  The cooperative agreement between the agencies shall include, but not be limited to, provisions that Mississippi State University through the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Forest Products Labs shall provide technical, educational and direct marketing assistance; basic and applied research, technology transfer, dissemination of research information, interdisciplinary teams, feasibility studies and networking; the Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall be primarily responsible for market development, product promotion, regulatory functions in developing market standards, monitoring standards and establishment of quality control; public relations for Mississippi agriculture, institutional marketing and data collection; the * * *Department of Economic Mississippi Development Authority shall be primarily responsible for agriculture business and economic development, and financial assistance value added processing.  All council member agencies are hereby authorized and directed to utilize and share any and all available resources necessary to accomplish the purposes of Sections 69-1-101 through 69-1-117.

     In addition, the council shall be authorized to contract or enter into agreements with other agencies and/or private research centers that it may deem necessary to carry out its duties and functions.

 * * * The council shall prepare and submit a comprehensive annual report to the Legislature no later than January 15 of each year.

     (2)  The council shall appoint an agricultural marketing director, herein called director, who shall be competent and qualified in the area of marketing, agriculture or a related area and receive as compensation for services an annual salary to be established by the personnel board.  The director shall be the one-point information contact on agricultural production, management and marketing issues and shall be charged with the duty of knowing the role and responsible personnel in each agency on matters related to agriculture.  The director shall be directly responsible to the council for tasks assigned in the administration and implementation of programs developed by the council.  The director shall be located in the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and administrative support for the director shall be the shared responsibility of the members of the council.

     Any expenses incurred by the council agencies in providing support for the Mississippi Marketing of Agricultural Products and Industry Program shall be included pro rata in the annual budget of the respective agency.

     SECTION 84.  Section 69-5-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-5-3.  (1)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall set up rules and regulations consistent with the law governing the distribution of state monies for premiums or awards.  It will be the duty of the department, at least twice each year, to approve premium lists or awards, and give out rules governing participants in state premium money in Mississippi.  The department may invite the presidents of the various district livestock shows before the department when determining policies affecting district livestock shows.

     (2)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce is hereby authorized to accept money or funds donated to the department, including funds to be awarded as prizes in livestock competition.

     (3)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall have charge of the State Fairgrounds located in Jackson, Mississippi, including all buildings and improvements thereon, and shall have full power and authority in perfecting plans and causing to be held thereon the Mississippi State Fair and other such events that may be authorized by the department.

     (4)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce is hereby authorized to employ an attorney as prescribed in Section 69-1-14.

     (5)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce may take any action authorized in Section 1 of Laws 2000, Chapter 306.

     (6)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce may allow a commercial, charitable or governmental entity to use, publish and advertise such entity's name in connection with any of the buildings, improvements, grounds or objects located on the State Fairgrounds in Jackson, except for the Kirk Fordice Equine Center, or in connection with any of the events conducted on the State Fairgrounds in return for a monetary consideration paid to the department.  Furthermore, the department may lease to any public, private, commercial or charitable entity for a term not to exceed twenty (20) years naming rights to buildings, except for the Kirk Fordice Equine Center, or property, including, but not limited to, new construction, improvements to existing buildings, grounds and/or objects located on the State Fairgrounds in return for consideration benefitting the commission.  The lessee shall pay the cost of erecting, maintaining and removing signage related to the property.  Those funds received from an entity for allowing its name to be used, published or advertised in connection with the buildings, improvements, objects or events shall be retained by the department to be used for capital improvements to the fairgrounds or in its annual operating budget.  The department shall not enter into any such agreement with any vendor whose products are illegal for participation in or use by persons eighteen (18) years of age and under.

     (7)  The Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce is authorized to form and establish a private foundation or nonprofit corporation to receive and disburse the funds generated by the sale of naming rights described in subsection (6) of this section and for any other donations made to the department.  The funds shall be disbursed in accordance with guidelines described in this section, and the foundation or nonprofit corporation shall be subject to the reporting requirements described in subsection (10) of this section.  All funds shall remain with the foundation until disbursement and shall not be transferred to the State General Fund.  No public funds shall be deposited into the account of the private foundation or nonprofit corporation established by the department for the benefit of the State Fairgrounds, nor shall the Legislature appropriate any State General Fund or Special Fund monies to the foundation or nonprofit corporation for such purposes.  All monies received by the foundation shall be maintained separately from funds allocated to the department for operating and administrative costs associated with the State Fairgrounds.  In addition to the reporting of information to be included in the annual legislative report of the department, the private foundation or nonprofit corporation shall be subject to annual financial audits by the State Auditor and by auditors of donors in the same manner as required for state agencies.

     (8)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall have the authority to enter into a lease or right-of-way with a third party covering any land or buildings on the State Fairgrounds and any funds generated from such lease or right-of-way shall remain in a special fund managed by the department for the benefit of the State Fairgrounds.  All monies in the special fund may be used for capital improvements to the State Fairgrounds or in the department's annual operating budget for operating and administrative costs associated with the State Fairgrounds.  Any unexpended funds remaining in the special fund shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned or investment earnings on amounts in the fund shall be deposited in the fund. 

     (9)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce is hereby authorized, with the advice of the Mississippi Fair Advisory Council, to adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary or desirable to carry out, execute or implement the provisions of this article.

 * * * (10)  The Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall report by January 1 of each year a detailed financial statement of all monies received and expended under subsection (6) and subsection (7) of this section to the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.

     SECTION 85.  Section 69-7-263, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-7-263.  There is hereby imposed and levied an assessment at a rate not to exceed Three Cents (3˘) per case on all eggs produced in Mississippi wherever distributed or marketed and on all eggs marketed in Mississippi wherever distributed or produced. The rate of assessment shall be determined by the board.  At the time of the sale, the egg producer shall provide evidence that all assessments provided herein have been paid.  However, if the first sale of the eggs is made to a dealer or distributor, the producer shall pay to the dealer or the distributor the amount of the assessment owed; whereupon the dealer or distributor to whom such payment is made shall remit the assessment to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce in accordance with the rules and regulations established and promulgated by the board.  The board or the commissioner shall have the power to cause any duly authorized agent or representative to enter upon the premises of any dealer or handler of eggs and examine, or cause to be examined by such agent, any books, papers and records which deal in any way with respect to the payment of the assessment or enforcement of the provisions of this article.

     All costs incurred by the board or the commissioner in examining or causing the examination of such books, papers and records shall be taxed against the dealer or handler.  Cost shall be assessed at the rate of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per day or fraction thereof for each agent conducting the examination. Travel expenses shall be assessed in the manner and amount specified in Section 25-3-41, and other expenses shall be assessed at actual cost.  All costs taxed against a dealer or handler for the examination of books, papers and records shall be paid within fifteen (15) days from the date such notice of cost is mailed to the dealer or handler.

     The proceeds of the assessment levied under this article shall be collected by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce in such manner and method as shall be prescribed by him in accordance with the provisions of this article.  The funds derived from the assessment shall be paid into the State Treasury on or before the fifteenth day of each month and shall be deposited in a special fund in the State Treasury, which shall be established by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Mississippi Egg Marketing Board, and such funds shall be used by the board solely for the administration of this article.  All costs, expenses and obligations incurred by the board for its operation and carrying out the purposes of this article shall be paid out of the special fund herein provided for after expenditures thereof shall have been authorized by the Legislature.  * * *Provided further, that the Mississippi Egg Marketing Board shall render to the Mississippi Legislature a detailed annual report of all collections and expenditures of the monies collected under the provisions of this article. Any egg producer may request and receive a refund of the amount of assessment paid for the previous reporting period, provided he makes a written application with the Mississippi Egg Marketing Board within sixty (60) days from date of payment supported by bona fide copy of payment voucher and copy of canceled check.  The application forms shall be prepared by the board and shall be available at the request of the producer.  All such applications shall be processed and refunds paid within sixty (60) days after the funds have been received by the board.

     SECTION 86.  Section 69-9-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-9-9.  (1)  The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board shall plan and conduct a program of research, education and advertising designed to promote the soybean industry in Mississippi and * * *said the board is authorized to use the funds derived from the assessment imposed herein for these purposes, including basic administration expenses of * * *said the plan.  Use of these funds may be applied, as prescribed in this section, within or without the State of Mississippi, including regional, national and international research and promotional applications.

     (2)  The funds may be expended only for the purposes set out in this chapter and shall be spent in no manner for political purposes.  A report of all expenditures shall be made annually on December 31, with four (4) copies of the report to be filed and presented during regular sessions of the Mississippi Legislature with each of the following:  * * *the Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the State Auditor.

     (3)  If the board fails to make an annual report in violation of the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, the board shall be subject to a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

     SECTION 87.  Section 69-10-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-10-9.  (1)  The Mississippi Rice Promotion Board shall plan and conduct a program of research, education and advertising designed to promote the rice industry in Mississippi.  The board is authorized to use the funds derived from the assessment imposed herein for these purposes, including basic administration expenses of the plan; provided, however, that the avails of the additional One Cent (1˘) assessment imposed from and after July 1, 1991, shall be expended solely for programs of research to promote further development of the rice industry in this state.  Use of these funds may be applied, as prescribed in this section, within or without the State of Mississippi, including regional, national and international research and promotional applications.

     (2)  (a)  The Mississippi Legislature finds and declares that the factors which affect the ability of Mississippi rice farmers to market their crop are established by national and international forces in the world market.  The Legislature further finds and declares that the expenditure of funds by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of rice produced by Mississippi farmers is the expenditure of funds for a public purpose.

          (b)  The board may expend a portion of the funds received and administered by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of rice produced by Mississippi farmers.

          (c)  The amount of funds expended by the board in each fiscal year for the purposes authorized in this subsection shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the budget of the board for that fiscal year.

          (d)  The board shall not expend any funds for the purpose of influencing any political activity.

     (3)  A report of all expenditures shall be made annually on December 31, with four (4) copies of the report to be filed and presented during regular sessions of the Mississippi Legislature with each of the following:  * * *the Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the State Auditor.

     (4)  If the board fails to make an annual report in violation of the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, the board shall be subject to a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

     SECTION 88.  Section 69-23-109, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-23-109.  (1)  The commissioner may adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of Sections 69-23-1 through 69-23-135.

     (2)  In adopting regulations, the commissioner shall give consideration to pertinent research findings and recommendations of other agencies of this state or federal government. * * *  The commissioner shall report to the Legislature on or before February 1 of each year any regulation promulgated under this section which is more restrictive than applicable federal regulations.

     (3)  Regulations promulgated by the commissioner under Sections 69-23-1 through 69-23-135 shall not be effective until approved by the advisory board created under Section 69-25-3.

     (4)  In order to eliminate inequitable application or establishment of opposing regulations, the authority to regulate any matter pertaining to the registration, sale, handling, distribution, notification of use, application and use of pesticides shall vest solely in the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, except where other state agencies, including the Agricultural Aviation Board, exercise such regulatory authority under state law.

     SECTION 89.  Section 69-44-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-44-9.  (1)  The board shall plan and conduct a program of research, education and advertising designed to promote the corn industry in Mississippi.  The board is authorized to use the funds derived from the assessment imposed herein for these purposes, including basic administration expenses of the plan.  Use of these funds may be applied, as prescribed in this section, within or without the State of Mississippi, including regional, national and international research and promotional applications.

     (2)  (a)  The Mississippi Legislature finds and declares that the factors which affect the ability of Mississippi corn farmers to market their crop are established by national and international forces in the world market.  The Legislature further finds and declares that the expenditure of funds by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of corn produced by Mississippi farmers is the expenditure of funds for a public purpose.

          (b)  The board may expend a portion of the funds received and administered by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of corn produced by Mississippi farmers.

          (c)  The amount of funds expended by the board in each fiscal year for the purposes authorized in this subsection shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the budget of the board for that fiscal year.

          (d)  The board shall not expend any funds for the purpose of influencing any political activity.

     (3)  A report of all income and expenditures shall be made annually on December 31, with four (4) copies of the report to be filed and presented during the regular sessions of the Mississippi Legislature with each of the following:  * * * the Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the State Auditor.

     (4)  If the board fails to make an annual report in violation of the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the board shall be subject to a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

     SECTION 90.  Section 69-48-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     69-48-11.  (1)  The board shall plan and conduct a program of research, education and advertising designed to promote the peanut industry in Mississippi.  The board is authorized to use the funds derived from the assessment imposed herein for these purposes, including basic administration expenses of the plan.  Use of these funds may be applied, as prescribed in this section, within or without the State of Mississippi, including regional, national and international research and promotional applications.

     (2)  (a)  The Mississippi Legislature finds and declares that the factors which affect the ability of Mississippi peanut farmers to market their crop are established by national and international forces in the world market.  The Legislature further finds and declares that the expenditure of funds by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing, research and advertising of peanuts produced by Mississippi farmers is the expenditure of funds for a public purpose.

          (b)  The board may expend a portion of the funds received and administered by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting peanuts produced by Mississippi farmers.

          (c)  The amount of funds expended by the board in each fiscal year for the purposes authorized in this subsection shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the budget of the board for that fiscal year.

          (d)  The board shall not expend any funds for the purpose of influencing any political activity.

     (3)  A report of all income and expenditures shall be made annually on December 31, with four (4) copies of the report to be filed and presented during the regular sessions of the Mississippi Legislature with each of the following:  * * *the Chairman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the State Auditor.

     (4)  If the board fails to make an annual report in violation of the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the board shall be subject to a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

     SECTION 91.  Section 71-5-115, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     71-5-115.  It shall be the duty of the executive director to administer this chapter; and the executive director shall have the power and authority to adopt, amend or rescind such rules and regulations, to employ such persons, make such expenditures, require such reports, make such investigations, and take such other action as he deems necessary or suitable to that end.  Such rules and regulations shall be effective upon publication in the manner, not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, which the executive director shall prescribe.  The executive director shall determine the department's own organization and methods of procedure in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and shall have an official seal which shall be judicially noticed.  * * *Not later than the first day of February in each year, the executive director shall submit to the Governor a report covering the administration and operation of this chapter during the preceding fiscal year and shall make such recommendations for amendments to this chapter as the executive director deems proper. Whenever the executive director believes that a change in contribution or benefit rates will become necessary to protect the solvency of the fund, he shall promptly so inform the Governor and the Legislature, and make recommendations with respect thereto.

     SECTION 92.  Section 73-15-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-15-17.  The Mississippi Board of Nursing is authorized and empowered to:

          (a)  Adopt and from time to time revise such rules and regulations consistent with the law as shall be necessary to govern its proceedings and carry into effect the provisions of this article; however, the board shall not adopt any rule or regulation or impose any requirement regarding the licensing or certification of advanced practice registered nurses that conflicts with the prohibitions in Section 73-49-3.

          (b)  Require the secretary to keep records of all meetings of the board and keep a record of all proceedings, and to prepare a register of registered nurses and a register of licensed practical nurses, all nurses appearing thereon to be duly licensed under this article, and which registers shall be open for public inspection at all reasonable times.

          (c)  Issue subpoenas, require attendance of witnesses, and administer oaths of persons giving testimony.

          (d)  Cause the prosecution of all persons violating the provisions of this article, and incur such necessary expenses therefor.

          (e)  Conduct hearings upon charges calling for discipline of a licensee or revocation of a license or of the privilege to practice.

          (f)  * * *Present a true and full report to the Governor and the Legislature, together with a statement of receipts and disbursements on or before February 1 of each year. [Deleted]

          (g)  Maintain an office in the greater Jackson area for the administration of this article.

          (h)  File an annual list of all certificates of registration issued by the board with the Secretary of State's office for both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

          (i)  File an annual list of all certificates of registration issued by the board to registered nurses, including addresses of the persons with the Mississippi Nurses' Association; and file a similar list of all certificates of registration issued to licensed practical nurses, including addresses of the persons, with the Mississippi Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses and the Mississippi Licensed Practical Nurses Association.

          (j)  Adopt a seal which shall be in the form of a circle with the image of an eagle in the center, and around the margin the words "Mississippi Board of Nursing," and under the image of the eagle the word "Official."  The seal shall be affixed to certificates and warrants issued by the board, and to all records sent up on appeal from its decisions.

          (k)  Schedule dates and locations for state board examinations for examining qualified applicants for licensure.

          (l)  Examine, license and renew licenses of duly qualified applicants.

          (m)  Appoint and employ a qualified person who shall not be a member of the board to serve as executive director, define the duties, fix the compensation, and delegate to him or her those activities that will expedite the functions of the board.  The executive director shall meet all the qualifications for board members, and shall in addition:

              (i)  Have had at least a master's degree in nursing, eight (8) years' experience as a registered nurse, five (5) of which shall be in teaching or in administration, or a combination thereof; and

              (ii)  Have been actively engaged in nursing for at least five (5) years immediately preceding appointment.

          (n)  Employ, discharge, define duties, and fix compensation of such other persons as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.

          (o)  Secure the services of research consultants as deemed necessary who shall receive a per diem, travel and other necessary expenses incurred while engaged by the board.

          (p)  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 and in the furtherance of its responsibilities.

          (q)  Upon reasonable suspicion that a holder of a license issued under this article has violated any statutory ground for denial of licensure as set forth in Section 73-15-29 or is guilty of any offense specified in Section 73-15-33, require the license holder to undergo a fingerprint-based criminal history records check of the Mississippi central criminal database and the Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history database, in the same manner as required for applicants for licensure under Sections 73-15-19(1) and 73-15-21(1).

          (r)  Perform the duties prescribed by the Nurse Licensure Compact in Section 73-15-201.

     SECTION 93.  Section 73-29-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-29-9.  (1)  The board shall issue regulations consistent with the provisions of this chapter for the administration and enforcement of this chapter and shall prescribe forms which shall be issued in connection therewith.

     (2)  An order or a certified copy thereof, over the board seal and purporting to be signed by the board members, shall be prima facie proof that the signatures are the genuine signatures of the board members, and that the board members are fully qualified to act.

     (3)  All fees collected under the provisions of this chapter shall be paid to the Treasurer of the State of Mississippi. Funds necessary for the enforcement of this chapter and the administration of its provisions shall be appropriated by the Legislature to the Department of Public Safety, but the funds so appropriated for a fiscal year shall not exceed the total amount of the fees which it is anticipated will be collected hereunder during such fiscal year, plus the amount of funds which were unexpended by the board for the next preceding fiscal year.

 * * * (4)  The board shall, prior to November 1 of each year, submit to the Attorney General of Mississippi and the Legislature, a detailed, written report on all the activities of the board and all expenditures made by it during the preceding fiscal year ending June 30.

     SECTION 94.  Section 73-34-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-34-9.  (1)  The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To receive applications for licensure as a real estate appraiser and applications for registration as an appraisal management company under this chapter; to establish appropriate administrative procedures for the processing of those applications; to issue licenses to qualified applicants under the provisions of this chapter; and to maintain a registry of the names and addresses of individuals who are currently licensed under this chapter.

          (b)  To administer licensing examinations in the places and at the times as may be required to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter.

          (c)  To implement recommendations made to the commission by the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board with respect to upgrading and improving the experience, education and examination requirements that are required for an appraiser license and each classification of licensed state certified real estate appraiser in this state.

          (d)  To implement recommendations made to the commission by the board with respect to upgrading and improving the continuing education requirements that are required for renewal of a license.

          (e)  To collect all licensing fees required or permitted by this chapter.

          (f)  To take appropriate action upon a decision and the related findings of fact made by the board if, after an administrative hearing, the board (i) determines that a licensed appraiser or a licensed state certified real estate appraiser under this chapter has violated the standards of appraisal practice or ethical rules established under Section 73-34-37, or has committed one or more of the acts that are prohibited by Section 73-34-35, and (ii) recommends that the license of the appraiser be suspended or revoked, that renewal be denied, or that some other disciplinary action be taken.

          (g)  To solicit bids and enter into contracts with one or more educational testing services or organizations approved by the board for the preparation of a bank of questions and answers for licensure examinations under this chapter.

          (h)  To promote research and conduct studies relating to the profession of real estate appraising and sponsor real estate appraisal educational activities.

          (i)  To adopt rules and regulations for the administration of this chapter that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or the Constitution and laws of Mississippi or of the United States.

          (j)  To employ an assistant to the Mississippi Real Estate Commission Administrator who shall keep a record of all proceedings, transactions, communications and official acts of the commission and board and perform any other duties as the commission and board may require.

          (k)  To employ an appropriate staff to investigate allegations that licensed appraisers or licensed state certified real estate appraisers under this chapter failed to comply with the terms or provisions of this chapter.

          (l)  To employ any other professional, clerical and technical assistance as may be necessary to properly administer the work of this chapter.

     (2)  The board shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To be responsible for matters relating to real estate appraisal standards, real estate appraiser qualifications, testing standards, appraisal management companies and disciplinary functions.

          (b)  To hold meetings; to hold public hearings and administrative hearings; and to prepare examination specifications for licensed appraisers and licensed state certified appraisers.

          (c)  To enable the board to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter with respect to licensing and registering, the board shall have:

              (i)  The power to compel the attendance of witnesses;

              (ii)  The power to require a licensed appraiser or an applicant for licensure to produce books, appraisal documents, records and other papers;

              (iii)  The power to administer oaths; and

              (iv)  The power to take testimony and receive evidence concerning all matters within its jurisdiction.

     These powers may be exercised directly by the board in such manner as the board shall determine.

          (d)  To establish appropriate administrative procedures for disciplinary proceedings conducted under the provisions of this chapter.

          (e)  To keep a record of its proceedings * * * and issue an annual report of its activities.

          (f)  To further define by regulation, and with respect to each of the categories of licensed appraiser, the type of educational experience, appraisal experience and equivalent experience that will meet the statutory requirements of this chapter and of the Appraiser Qualifications Board.

          (g)  To approve or disapprove applications for licensing or registration under this chapter.

          (h)  To suspend or revoke licenses or registrations under the disciplinary proceedings provided for in this chapter.

          (i)  To present an annual budget to the Mississippi Legislature for approval.  A copy of the budget shall be given to the commission.

          (j)  To implement all requirements directed by the Appraiser Qualifications Board, Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council or their designated agent.

          (k)  To make rules and regulations providing for an inactive license or registration status and for the reactivation thereof.

          (l)  To make rules and regulations necessary to implement its powers and duties under this chapter.

          (m)  To do all other things necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

          (n)  To adopt rules consistent with the provisions of this chapter which may be reasonably necessary to implement, administer, and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

          (o)  To provide for at least one (1) member of the board to represent the appraisal management company industry.

          (p)  To establish the standard for measuring residential properties up to four (4) family buildings as promulgated by the American National Standards Institute or as provided in the American Measurement Standard Manual.  The board shall require appraisals required to use those standards to indicate on the appraisal or separately appended document which standard was used.

          (q)  To conduct surveys as necessary.

     (3)  The members of the commission and board shall be immune from any civil action or criminal prosecution for initiating or assisting in any lawful investigation of the actions of, or participating in any disciplinary proceeding concerning, an appraiser licensed under this chapter, provided that the action is taken without malicious intent and in the reasonable belief that the action was taken in accordance with the powers and duties vested in the members of the commission and board under this chapter.

     SECTION 95.  Section 73-36-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-36-19.  (1)  The State Board of Registration for Foresters shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To adopt rules and regulations governing the holding of its meetings, hearings, applications for licenses and any and all other duties provided by this chapter.

          (b)  To establish and promulgate standards of practice and a code of ethics for registered foresters and provide for the enforcement thereof.

          (c)  To establish minimum requirements for professional continuing education.

          (d)  To prepare a biennial roster showing the names, business addresses and such other information as the board may deem necessary of all foresters registered under this chapter, and to provide copies to the registered foresters and the public.  A copy of the roster shall be filed with the Secretary of State of the State of Mississippi on or before April 1 in the year such roster is prepared.

          (e)  To issue, suspend or revoke licenses and to take all actions necessary.

     (2)  At any hearing before the board, any member may administer oaths to witnesses appearing before the board.  If any person shall refuse to testify or to produce any books, papers or documents, the board may present its petition to any court of competent jurisdiction within the state setting forth the facts, and then the court, in a proper case, may issue its subpoena to the person requiring his attendance before the court and to testify or to produce such books, papers and documents as may be deemed necessary and pertinent thereto.  Any person failing or refusing to obey the subpoena of the court may be proceeded against in the same manner as for refusal to obey any other subpoena of the court.

     (3)  The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applications for registration.  The register shall show the name, age and residence of each applicant, the date of the application and the board's action on the application and any other information as may be deemed necessary by the board.  The board shall submit an annual report to the Governor * * * and a report to the regular session of the Legislature.  The report to the Legislature shall include a financial statement of the transactions of the board during the year.

     SECTION 96.  Section 73-63-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-63-19.  (1)  If the board employs an executive director, the executive director shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To administer the policies of the board within the authority granted by the board;

          (b)  To supervise and direct all administrative, technical and investigative activities of the board;

          (c)  To organize the administrative units of the board in accordance with a plan adopted by the board and to alter that organizational plan and reassign responsibilities with approval of the board as deemed necessary to carry out the policies of the board;

          (d)  To recommend to the board appropriate studies and investigations and to carry out the approved recommendations;

          (e)  To issue, modify or revoke any orders under authority granted by the board;

          (f)  To enter into contracts, grants and cooperative agreements as approved by the board with any federal or state agency, any public or private institution or any other person to carry out this chapter;

          (g)  To receive, administer and account for any funds received by the board; and

 * * *  (h)  To prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor before January 1 of each year, and at any other times as may be required by the board, Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the board, including a detailed statement of revenues and expenditures of the board and any recommendations the board may have; and

          ( * * *ihTo discharge other powers, duties and responsibilities as directed or delegated by the board.

     (2)  The executive director shall give a surety bond satisfactory to the board, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the executive director’s duties. The premium on the bond shall be regarded as a proper and necessary expense of the board.

     (3)  If the board does not employ an executive director, the president of the board shall have the powers and duties provided in subsection (1) of this section.

     SECTION 97.  Section 77-3-42, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     77-3-42.  (1)  (a)  No public utility, the rates of which are subject to regulation under the provisions of this chapter, shall increase its rate or rate schedule in addition to its base rate as a result of what is commonly referred to as "fuel adjustment clauses" increase or "fuel adjustment riders" if the application of such clause or rider shall result in ultimate cost recovery exceeding the actual cost of fuel burned or consumed in its generating facilities and the cost of purchased energy.

          (b)  For the purpose of such fuel adjustment clause or rider, the cost of fuel as used herein shall include only the actual cost of the fuel and its transportation and may include such other cost items which are as of the effective date of this section allowed by the federal energy regulatory commission for inclusion in wholesale fuel adjustment clauses under its jurisdiction.  In addition thereto fuel cost may include direct costs associated with burning the fuel at the generating plant, such as fuel-handling expenses and the cost of fuel sampling and analysis.

     (2)  (a)  The commission is hereby directed to cause a continuous monitoring by the public utilities staff and a complete audit, as necessary but not less than annually, of all fuel purchases for which fuel adjustment clauses or riders have been placed in effect prior to and after the effective date of this section, which shall totally verify fuel costs as might be consumed in generating plants and all purchased energy of such electric utilities in Mississippi with said audit being based upon generally accepted auditing standards which would accurately provide detailed information as to the actual monthly utility fuel costs.  Such audit shall be completely independent of any audit performed on behalf of such utility.

          (b)  The commission is hereby directed to promulgate rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the laws, (i) to define allowable costs for inclusion in fuel adjustments, (ii) to establish guidelines for defining what elements constitute a just and reasonable fuel adjustment clause or rider, (iii) to establish guidelines for defining what elements constitute efficient and economical procurement and use of energy and fuel, and (iv) to establish general guidelines for making the required review of fuel adjustment clauses or riders as required by this section.  Such rules and regulations shall be spread upon the minutes of the commission.

          (c)  Such audits shall include (i) a determination if fuel and associated costs are properly identified and recorded in the appropriate uniform system of accounts, (ii) a determination if purchased energy and associated costs are properly identified, (iii) an assessment of a utility's practices for economical purchase and use of fuel and electric energy, and (iv) an assessment of the relevant contract terms and conditions and any variations from contract terms.

     (3)  The audits required by this section shall extend to the fuel acquisition activities of any corporation which is owned in whole or in part by any such public utility under the jurisdiction of the commission or owned in whole or in part by a public utility holding company which is the parent company of any public utility under the jurisdiction of the commission.  Public utilities under the jurisdiction of this commission, the rates of which are subject to regulation under the provisions of this chapter, shall not purchase fuel and/or energy from a company or corporation which is owned in whole or in part by that public utility or by the parent company of that public utility unless the selling company or corporation assents to audits as provided for under this section.

     (4)  Upon receipt of each audit report, the certified public accountant of the public utilities staff shall review the report and furnish the commissioners with a written summary of, and his comments on, the report.  The commission shall meet within one (1) week after receipt of the accountant's summary, and shall spread upon the minutes of the commission that it has reviewed said summary and further shall describe any action which it takes regarding the audit report or the fact that no action was required.  Any costs included in a fuel adjustment clause or rider by a public utility under the jurisdiction of the commission found in violation of this section shall, by order of the commission, be refunded to the appropriate person or persons.  In lieu of payment, the utility may credit the service account with the amount due under this subsection if the consumer entitled to the refund is, at that time, a consumer of the utility.

     (5)  Periodically, and not less frequently than annually, the commission shall review the audit reports, the reports of the certified public accountant of the public utilities staff, any reports of the public utilities staff relating to its monitoring of fuel purchases, and all other relevant information relating to fuel purchases, fuel adjustment clauses or riders, and purchased energy for the purpose of determining (a) whether or not the utility is properly and correctly employing the use of the fuel adjustment clause or rider applicable to its operations and billing procedures, (b) whether or not the utility has engaged in practices in the acquisition of fuel or purchased energy which are efficient and economical, and (c) whether or not there is reason to question the practices, contracts, operations or procedures of the utility in the purchase or acquisition of fuel or purchased energy relative to efficiency, economy and the public interest.

     If the commission, after following the procedures described above, has reasonable cause to believe that inefficient or uneconomical procurement or use of fuel or purchased energy has resulted in unreasonable or unjust charges or costs to the consumers, then the commission shall initiate a procedure for hearing as provided for in Section 77-3-47 for the purpose of determining whether or not any of the costs or charges included in the fuel adjustment charges to the consumers were unreasonable or unjust.  If the commission upon hearing shall find that any charges for the purchase or procurement of fuel or purchased energy were unreasonable or unjust, then the commission shall order that such costs or charges be refunded to the appropriate person or persons together with interest at the same rate prescribed in Section 77-3-39, Section 77-3-69 and Section 77-3-71.  In lieu of payment, the utility may credit the service account with the amount due under this subsection if the consumer entitled to the refund is, at that time, a consumer of the utility.

     (6)  (a)  The commission shall maintain at all times complete and current data relating to sales and purchases of electric capacity of all utilities, including copies of contracts and agreements for the purchase of electric capacity, amendments to such contracts, records of purchases and sales of electric capacity, and all other relevant information and data deemed appropriate by the commission for carrying out the provisions of this section.

          (b)  The commission is hereby directed to review, not less frequently than annually, the information and data described above.  If, from said review the commission has reasonable cause to believe that inefficient or uneconomical sales or purchases of electric capacity by a utility, the rates of which are subject to regulation by the commission, have resulted in unreasonable or unjust charges or costs to the consumers, then the commission shall initiate a procedure for hearing as provided for in Section 77-3-47 for the purpose of determining whether or not any of the costs or charges for sales or purchases of electric capacity included in the charges to consumers were unreasonable or unjust.  If the commission, upon hearing, shall find that any such charges for the sale or purchase of electric capacity were unreasonable or unjust, then the commission shall order that such costs or charges be refunded to the appropriate person or persons, together with interest thereon at the same rate prescribed in Section 77-3-39, Section 77-3-69 and Section 77-3-71.  In lieu of payment, the utility may credit the service account with the amount due under this subsection if the consumer entitled to the refund is, at that time, a consumer of the utility.

 * * * (7)  The commission shall provide a full and complete report of said audits to the Legislature on or before March 15 of each year.  The report shall include certification by the commission that the information is true and correct as well as other clarifications of the audit information and any recommendations for correcting imperfections in statutes relative to existing fuel or purchased gas adjustments.

     ( * * *87Nothing in this section shall prohibit the commission from entering an order in a declared emergency allowing public utilities under such emergency circumstances to adjust their rates for a period not to exceed sixty (60) days upon declaration of said emergency.  There shall be a full hearing and a complete and total accounting as to total costs of * * *said the commission order to public utilities customers, with detailed accounting of such emergency fuel adjustment clause order being made available to the public.

     ( * * *98)  This section shall not apply to a municipality, including a joint agency organized pursuant to Section 77 5 701 et seq., as amended.

     SECTION 98.  Section 81-1-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     81-1-71.  The commissioner, all examiners and any employee required to travel shall be allowed expenses incident to the discharge of their official duties while away from their places of residence, and mileage for each mile necessarily traveled in the discharge of their official duties, as provided in Section 25-3-41.  Such expenses shall be paid out of the department funds upon vouchers approved by the commissioner, and each voucher for expenses shall be accompanied by an itemized statement of the same.

     The State Department of Audit shall make an annual audit of the books and records having to do with receipts and expenditures of funds of the department.  The chief inspector shall file a copy of his report with the commissioner and the Governor * * *, and insofar as is practicable, the commissioner shall incorporate the exhibits and schedules of receipts and disbursements for each year in his annual report to the Legislature.

     SECTION 99.  Section 83-9-213, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     83-9-213.  (1)  The association shall:

          (a)  Establish administrative and accounting procedures for the operation of the association.

          (b)  Establish procedures under which applicants and participants in the plan may have grievances reviewed by an impartial body and reported to the board.

          (c)  Select an administering insurer in accordance with Section 83-9-215.

          (d)  Collect the assessments provided in Section 83-9-217 from insurers and third-party administrators for claims paid under the plan and for administrative expenses incurred or estimated to be incurred during the period for which the assessment is made.  The level of payments shall be established by the board.  Assessments shall be collected pursuant to the plan of operation approved by the board.  In addition to the collection of such assessments, the association shall collect an organizational assessment or assessments from all insurers as necessary to provide for expenses which have been incurred or are estimated to be incurred prior to receipt of the first calendar year assessments.  Organizational assessments shall be equal in amount for all insurers, but shall not exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per insurer for all such assessments.  Assessments are due and payable within thirty (30) days of receipt of the assessment notice by the insurer.

          (e)  Require that all policy forms issued by the association conform to standard forms developed by the association.  The forms shall be approved by the State Department of Insurance.

          (f)  Develop and implement a program to publicize the existence of the plan, the eligibility requirements for the plan, and the procedures for enrollment in the plan and to maintain public awareness of the plan.

     (2)  The association may:

          (a)  Exercise powers granted to insurers under the laws of this state.

          (b)  Take any legal actions necessary or proper for the recovery of any monies due the association under Sections 83-9-201 through 83-9-222.  There shall be no liability on the part of and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against the Commissioner of Insurance or any of his staff, the administrator, the board or its directors, agents or employees, or against any participating insurer for any actions performed in accordance with Sections 83-9-201 through 83-9-222.

          (c)  Enter into contracts as are necessary or proper to carry out the provisions and purposes of Sections 83-9-201 through 83-9-222, including the authority, with the approval of the commissioner, to enter into contracts with similar organizations of other states for the joint performance of common administrative functions or with persons or other organizations for the performance of administrative functions.

          (d)  Sue or be sued, including taking any legal actions necessary or proper to recover or collect assessments due the association.

          (e)  Take any legal actions necessary to:

              (i)  Avoid the payment of improper claims against the association or the coverage provided by or through the association.

              (ii)  Recover any amounts erroneously or improperly paid by the association.

              (iii)  Recover any amounts paid by the association as a result of mistake of fact or law.

              (iv)  Recover other amounts due the association.

          (f)  Establish, and modify from time to time as appropriate, rates, rate schedules, rate adjustments, expense allowances, agents' referral fees, claim reserve formulas and any other actuarial function appropriate to the operation of the association.  Rates and rate schedules may be adjusted for appropriate factors such as age, sex and geographic variation in claim cost and shall take into consideration appropriate factors in accordance with established actuarial and underwriting practices.

          (g)  Issue policies of insurance in accordance with the requirements of Sections 83-9-201 through 83-9-222.

          (h)  Appoint appropriate legal, actuarial and other committees as necessary to provide technical assistance in the operation of the plan, policy and other contract design, and any other function within the authority of the association.

          (i)  Borrow money to effect the purposes of the association.  Any notes or other evidence of indebtedness of the association not in default shall be legal investments for insurers and may be carried as admitted assets.

          (j)  Establish rules, conditions and procedures for reinsuring risks of member insurers desiring to issue plan coverages to individuals otherwise eligible for plan coverages in their own name.  Provision of reinsurance shall not subject the association to any of the capital or surplus requirements, if any, otherwise applicable to reinsurers.

          (k)  Prepare and distribute application forms and enrollment instruction forms to insurance producers and to the general public.

          (l)  Provide for reinsurance of risks incurred by the association.

          (m)  Issue additional types of health insurance policies to provide optional coverages, including Medicare supplemental health insurance.

          (n)  Provide for and employ cost containment measures and requirements including, but not limited to, disease management programs and incentives for participation therein, preadmission screening, second surgical opinion, concurrent utilization review and individual case management for the purpose of making the benefit plan more cost-effective.

          (o)  Design, utilize, contract or otherwise arrange for the delivery of cost-effective health care services, including establishing or contracting with preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organizations and other limited network provider arrangements.

          (p)  Serve as a mechanism to provide health and accident insurance coverage to citizens of this state under any state or federal program designed to enable persons to obtain or maintain health insurance coverage.

     (3)  The commissioner may, by rule, establish additional powers and duties of the board and may adopt such rules as are necessary and proper to implement Sections 83-9-201 through 83-9-222.

     (4)  The State Department of Insurance shall examine and investigate the association * * * and make an annual report to the Legislature thereon.  Upon such investigation, the Commissioner of Insurance, if he deems necessary, shall require the board:  (a) to contract with an outside independent actuarial firm to assess the solvency of the association and for consultation as to the sufficiency and means of the funding of the association, and the enrollment in and the eligibility, benefits and rate structure of the benefits plan to ensure the solvency of the association; and (b) to close enrollment in the benefits plan at any time upon a determination by the outside independent actuarial firm that funds of the association are insufficient to support the enrollment of additional persons.  In no case shall the commissioner require such actuarial study any less than once every two (2) years.

     SECTION 100.  Section 93-21-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     93-21-307.  The administration of the Mississippi Children's Trust Fund shall be vested in the Division of Family and Children's Services of the State Department of * * *Public Welfare Human Services.  In carrying out the provisions of Sections 93-21-301 through 93-21-311, the Division of Family and Children's Services shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To assist in developing programs aimed at discovering and preventing the many factors causing child abuse and neglect;

          (b)  To prepare and disseminate, including the presentation of, educational programs and materials on child abuse and neglect;

          (c)  To provide educational programs for professionals required by law to make reports of child abuse and neglect;

          (d)  To help coordinate child protective services at the state, regional and local levels with the efforts of other state and voluntary social, medical and legal agencies;

          (e)  To provide advocacy for children in public and private state and local agencies affecting children;

          (f)  To encourage citizen and community awareness as to the needs and problems of children;

          (g)  To facilitate the exchange of information between groups concerned with families and children;

          (h)  To consult with state departments, agencies, commissions and boards to help determine the probable effectiveness, fiscal soundness and need for proposed educational and service programs for the prevention of child abuse and neglect;

          (i)  To adopt rules and regulations * * *, subject to approval of the State Board of Public Welfare, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Law to discharge its responsibilities;

          (j)  To report annually * * *, through the annual report of the State Department of Public Welfare, to the Governor * * *and the Legislature concerning the division's activities under Sections 93-21-301 through 93-21-311 and the effectiveness of those activities in fostering the prevention of child abuse and neglect;

          (k)  To recommend to the Governor and the Legislature changes in state programs, statutes, policies and standards which will reduce child abuse and neglect, improve coordination among state agencies which provide services to prevent abuse and neglect, improve the condition of children and assist parents and guardians;

          (l)  To evaluate and strengthen all local, regional and state programs dealing with child abuse and neglect;

          (m)  To prepare and submit annually to the Governor * * *and the Legislature reports evaluating the level and quality of all programs, services and facilities provided to children by state agencies;

          (n)  To contract with public or private nonprofit institutions, organizations, agencies or schools or with qualified individuals for the establishment of community-based educational and service programs designed to reduce the occurrence of child abuse and neglect;

          (o)  To determine the eligibility of programs applying for financial assistance and to make grants and loans from the fund for the purposes set forth in Sections 93-21-301 through 93-21-311;

          (p)  To develop, within one (1) year after July 1, 1989, a state plan for the distribution of funds from the trust fund which shall assure that an equal opportunity exists for establishment of prevention programs and for receipt of trust fund * * *money monies among all geographic areas in this state, and to submit the plan to the Governor * * *and the Legislature and annually thereafter submit revisions thereto as needed;

          (q)  To provide for the coordination and exchange of information on the establishment and maintenance of local prevention programs;

          (r)  To develop and publicize criteria for the receipt of trust fund * * *money monies by eligible local prevention programs;

          (s)  To enter into contracts with public or private agencies to fulfill the requirements of Sections 93-21-301 through 93-21-311; and

          (t)  Review, monitor and approve the expenditure of trust fund * * *money monies by eligible local programs.

     SECTION 101.  Section 97-3-54.9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     97-3-54.9.  Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator; duties. 

(1)  There is created the position of statewide human trafficking coordinator within the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Public Safety office.  The duties of the coordinator shall be as follows:

          (a)  Coordinate the implementation of this act;

          (b)  Evaluate state efforts to combat human trafficking;

          (c)  Collect data on human trafficking activity within the state on an ongoing basis, including types of activities reported, efforts to combat human trafficking, and impact on victims and on the state;

          (d)  Exclude from publicly released portions of the data collected under subsection (1)(c) the identity of any victim and the victim's family;

          (e)  Promote public awareness about human trafficking, remedies and services for victims, and national hotline information;

          (f)  Create and maintain a website to publicize the coordinator's work;

 * * *  (g)  Submit to the Legislature an annual report of its evaluation under subsection (1)(b) and any other annual report required by law, including any recommendations, and summary of data collected under subsection (1)(c) and any other data otherwise required by law to be collected by the coordinator;

          ( * * *hg)  Develop and implement rules and regulations pertaining to the use of the Relief for Victims of Human Trafficking Fund to support services for victims of human trafficking in Mississippi;

          ( * * *ih)  Assist in the creation and operations of local human trafficking task forces or working groups around the state, including serving on a task force or a multidisciplinary child protection team;

          ( * * *ji)  Conduct other activities, including, but not limited to, applying for grants to enhance investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses or to improve victim services to combat human trafficking within this state which are appropriate; and

          ( * * *kj)  Perform any other duties specifically required by law for the coordinator.

     (2)  The coordinator shall be authorized to seek input and assistance from state agencies, nongovernmental agencies, service providers and other individuals in the performance of the foregoing duties.

     (3)  Each state agency, board and commission shall be required to fully cooperate with the coordinator in the performance of the duties of that position.

     (4)  Every investigation of an offense under this chapter shall be reported to the coordinator by the initiating law enforcement agency pursuant to guidelines established by the coordinator.

     (5)  Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 43-21-261, disclosure by any state agency, nongovernmental agency, service provider or local or state law enforcement agency of nonidentifying information regarding a minor victim to the coordinator for the purposes of evaluating and collecting data regarding trafficking offenses in the state is specifically authorized.

     SECTION 102.  Sections 7-1-565, 17-18-43, 25-9-148, 27-7-22.9, 27-7-22.24, 27-7-22.26, 27-104-167, 31-7-311, 37-31-111, 41-73-71, 43-3-89, 43-5-11, 43-12-41, 43-13-127, 47-5-559, 57-10-39, 69-1-15, 69-27-111, 77-1-49 and 77-3-90, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide for the preparation and publication of annual reports by various public entities, are repealed.

     SECTION 103.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.


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