1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Short
House Bill 334
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI INFORMATION NETWORK; TO DEFINE WORDS AND PHRASES USED IN THE ACT; TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENTS TO THE BOARD OF THE MISSISSIPPI INFORMATION NETWORK AND THE HIRING OF A NETWORK MANAGER; TO CREATE THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD AND THE NETWORK MANAGER; TO PROVIDE THE METHODS OF FUNDING FOR THE MISSISSIPPI INFORMATION NETWORK; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "MIN" means the Mississippi Information Network.
(b) "Gateway" means any centralized electronic information system by which public information shall be provided via dial-in modem or continuous link to the public through subscription or through public libraries.
(c) "Public information" means any information stored, gathered or generated in electronic or magnetic form by the State of Mississippi, its agencies or instrumentalities, which is included within the information deemed to be public record pursuant to the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983, Sections 25-61-1 through 25-61-17.
(d) "Agency" means any agency or instrumentality of the State of Mississippi which stores, gathers or generates public information.
(e) "Network manager" means the entity or person engaged to manage and run the gateway or network on behalf of MIN.
(f) "User association" means an association:
(i) The membership of which is identifiable by regular payment of association dues and regularly maintained membership lists;
(ii) Which is registered with the state or is a Mississippi corporation;
(iii) Which exists for the purpose of advancing the common occupation of profession of its membership; and
(iv) Which, after the appointment of the initial board of MIN regularly promotes and encourages the subscription of its members to the gateway service provided by MIN.
SECTION 2. It shall be the purpose of MIN to perform the following duties;
(a) Provide electronic access for members of the public to public information of agencies via a gateway service;
(b) Develop a dial-in gateway or electronic network for access to public information;
(c) Provide appropriate oversight of any network manager;
(d) Explore ways and means of expanding the amount and kind of public information provided, increasing the utility of the public information provided and the form in which provided, expanding the base of users who access public information and, where appropriate, implementing changes necessary to provide the types of information used by the network;
(e) Cooperate with the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services in seeking to achieve the purposes of MIN;
(f) Explore technological ways and means of improving citizen and business access to public information and, where appropriate, implement technological improvements; and
(g) Explore options of expanding the network and its services to citizens and businesses by providing add-on services such as access to other for-profit information and databases and by providing electronic mail and calendaring to subscribers.
SECTION 3. (a) There is created the Mississippi Information Network (MIN). MIN is constituted as a public instrumentality and the exercise by MIN of the authority and powers conferred by this act shall be the performance of an essential governmental function.
(b) MIN shall be governed by a board consisting of ten (10) members as follows:
(i) The executive director of MIN, appointed by the Governor;
(ii) The Secretary of State;
(iii) The two (2) members who are executive directors of agencies of the executive branch, appointed by the Governor who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor;
(iv) One (1) member appointed by the Governor from a list of three (3) Mississippi Bar Association members submitted by the bar association. The member shall serve a three-year term;
(v) Three (3) members from other user associations of a statewide character appointed by the Governor from a list of not less than nine (9) individuals and their respective user associations compiled initially by the Executive Director of MIN, and thereafter by the Board of MIN and submitted to the Governor. No two (2) members appointed pursuant to this paragraph shall represent the same user association. The terms for such members shall be for a period of three (3) years, except initially, when the terms shall be for one (1), two (2) and three (3) years, respectively;
(vi) One (1) member appointed by the Governor from a list submitted by the Director of the Mississippi Library Commission and comprised of three (3) librarians employed by public libraries. This member shall serve a three-year term; and
(vii) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services who shall serve as a nonvoting member.
(c) The board annually shall elect one (1) member from the board as chairperson of MIN, another as vice chairperson and another as secretary.
(d) Five (5) members of the board shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of five (5) members shall be necessary for any action taken by the board. No vacancy in the membership of the board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the board.
SECTION 4. (1) In order to achieve its purpose as provided in this act, MIN shall:
(a) Serve in an advisory capacity to all branches of state government and state agencies regarding the provision of state data to the citizens and businesses of Mississippi;
(b) Seek advice from the general public, its subscribers, professional associations, academic groups and institutions and individuals with knowledge of and interest in areas of networking, electronic mail, public information access, gateway services, add-on services and electronic filing of information; and
(c) Develop fees for the services provided to subscribers, which include the actual costs of providing the services.
(2) All state agencies shall cooperate with MIN in providing any assistance that may be requested for the achievement of its purpose. Agencies may recover from MIN actual costs incurred for providing the assistance. Services and information to be provided by any agency shall be specified pursuant to contract between MIN and the agency.
SECTION 5. (1) MIN shall hire a network manager, which may be either a person or a company or corporation. MIN shall draw criteria and specifications in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services for such a network manager and its duties. MIN may negotiate and enter into an employment agreement with the network manager selected which may provide for duties, responsibilities and compensation as may be provided for in the agreement.
(2) The network manager shall direct and supervise the day-to-day operations and expansion of the gateway and network, the principal location being Jackson, Mississippi, including the initial phase of operations necessary to make the gateway operational, and:
(a) May employ, supervise and terminate other employees of MIN as designated by MIN;
(b) Shall attend meetings of MIN;
(c) Shall keep a record of all gateway, network and related operations of MIN, which records shall be the property of MIN, and shall maintain and be a custodian of all financial and operational records, documents and papers filed with MIN; and
(d) Annually, shall update and revise the business plan of MIN, in consultation with and under the direction of MIN.
(3) MIN is authorized to negotiate and enter into contracts for professional consulting, research and other services.
(4) MIN may accept gifts, donations and grants.
SECTION 6. The Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services shall provide to MIN such staff and other assistance that may be requested by MIN.
SECTION 7. MIN shall fund its operations from revenues generated from subscribers, and from money, goods or in-kind services donated from private sources. Initial funding for start-up costs shall be obtained from private donations.
(a) The employees of MIN shall be considered to be state employees and MIN shall be considered to be a state agency for purposes of the laws and procedures governing the Statewide Personnel System under Sections 25-9-101 through 25-9-305; the Deferred Compensation Plan under Sections 25-14-1 through 25-14-15; the Public Employees' Retirement System under Sections 25-11-1 through 25-11-423; the Workers' Compensation Law as provided in Section 71-3-5; and the Group Insurance for Public Employees' Law under Sections 25-15-1 through 25-15-265. All employees of MIN shall be considered to be employees of a state agency only for the purposes provided in this section.
(b) Nothing in this act shall be construed as placing any officer or employee of MIN under the Mississippi Civil Service System in Sections 21-31-1 through 21-31-27.
SECTION 8. All moneys received by MIN from gifts, donations, grants or any other source outside the State Treasury may be deposited in the State Treasury and credited to the MIN fund.
SECTION 9. This act may be cited as and shall be known as the "Mississippi Information Network Act."
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.