1997 Regular Session
To: Public Buildings, Grounds and Lands
By: Representatives Henderson (9th), Henderson (26th), Huddleston, Morris
House Bill 908
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT BEFORE TIMBER IS CLEARED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ON CERTAIN STATE-OWNED LAND UNDER ITS JURISDICTION KNOWN AS THE "O'KEEFE DIVISION LANDS," A PUBLIC HEARING SHALL BE HELD; TO REQUIRE NOTICE OF THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE HEARING TO BE PUBLISHED IN AN OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER; TO REQUIRE ANY CLEARING OF TIMBER ALREADY IN PROGRESS ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT TO STOP IMMEDIATELY UNTIL A PUBLIC HEARING HAS BEEN HELD; TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND PARKS, THE MISSISSIPPI FORESTRY COMMISSION, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS MUST AGREE TO CLEAR THE TIMBER BEFORE ANY TIMBER IS CLEARED ON SUCH LAND; TO AMEND SECTION 29-1-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXEMPT TAX-FORFEITED LANDS FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Before timber is cleared by the Department of Corrections on certain state-owned land under its jurisdiction known as the "O'Keefe Division Lands," a public hearing shall be held in relation to the clearing of timber on the land, and parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard at the hearing. At least fifteen (15) days' notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published in an official paper or a paper of general circulation in the county in which the land is located.
(2) This section applies to any action taken by the Department of Corrections to clear timber that is in progress on the effective date of this act. Any such clearing of timber in progress on the effective date of this act shall be stopped immediately and shall not be begun again until after a public hearing has been held in accordance with the provisions of this act.
(3) After a hearing has been held in accordance with this section, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Mississippi Forestry Commission, and the Department of Corrections must agree to clear the timber before any timber is cleared on the "O'Keefe Division Lands."
SECTION 2. Section 29-1-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
29-1-55. Where timber standing on lands is assessed to persons other than those owning the fee title to the lands, and the taxes thereon are not paid and such timber is sold to the state for nonpayment of taxes, the Secretary of State may sell and dispose of such timber rights in the same manner as he may sell and dispose of tax-forfeited lands, and the proceeds received by said Secretary of State for the sale thereof shall be divided between the state, county, levee board, and drainage district as provided by law for the disposition of the proceeds derived from the sale of tax-forfeited lands. The owner in fee of lands may purchase from the state any tax-forfeited timber rights on lands owned by him in fee, regardless of the amount of lands that he may own. The provisions of Section 1 of this act shall not apply to land acquired by the state under this section.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.