1997 Regular Session
To: Insurance; Appropriations
By: Representative Guice
House Bill 354
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 71-3-93, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO APPOINT TWO EMPLOYEES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE WORKERS' COMPENSATION FRAUD CASES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 71-3-93, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
71-3-93. The commission shall appoint such officers and employees as are necessary adequately to administer the Workers' Compensation Law, including not more than eight (8) administrative judges to be appointed by the commission with the consent of the Governor and an executive director who shall serve at the will of the commission and shall have such administrative duties as are assigned by the commission, a secretary, a statistician, a rehabilitation unit, and any other employees deemed essential to the administration of the law including court reporters whose salaries shall be the same as set for court reporters for circuit and chancery courts by Section 9-13-19. The annual salary of the executive director shall be equal to that of an administrative judge. An administrative judge shall be a member of the Mississippi State Bar and shall have a minimum of three (3) years' experience in the practice of law.
The commission shall appoint two (2) employees who shall be members of the Mississippi State Bar and whose sole duty shall be to investigate and prosecute workers' compensation fraud cases. The two (2) attorneys shall have statewide jurisdiction in the performance of their duties and may work with, but not negate the powers and duties of, any district attorney or agency authorized to prosecute workers' compensation fraud cases.
All salaries not specifically fixed by law shall be set by the commission. The establishing of a merit system or career service for employees of the commission is declared to be in the public interest because of the length of time required for understanding the details and problems involved in administering this legislation. The commission shall establish and enforce fair and reasonable rules for the appointment, promotion and demotion of personnel. All employees of the commission with the exception of medical consultants shall devote their entire time to the duties of their office.
For the purpose of conducting hearings and making decisions upon claims, the administrative judge or administrative judges appointed by the commission shall have the authority of a commissioner.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.