1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Holland (By Request)
House Bill 946
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 69-29-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXPAND THE POWERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI AGRICULTURAL AND LIVESTOCK THEFT BUREAU; TO REVISE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 69-29-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-29-1. (1) (a) There is established the Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau.
(b) The Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce shall appoint a director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau. Such director shall have at least five (5) years of * * * law enforcement experience. * * * Such director shall be responsible solely to the supervision of the Commissioner of Agriculture and to no other person or entity. Such director may be discharged only for just cause shown.
(c) The director may employ nine (9) agricultural and livestock theft investigators, one (1) from each highway patrol district, and each investigator is required to reside within the highway patrol district from which he or she is selected. Each investigator shall be certified as a law enforcement officer, successfully completing at least a nine-week training course, in accordance with Section 45-6-11. The curriculum for the training of constables shall not be sufficient for meeting the certification requirements of this paragraph. In the selection of investigators under this section, preference shall be given to persons who have previous law enforcement experience.
(d) The director appointed under this section, under the direction, control and supervision of the commissioner, and the investigators employed under this section shall perform only the duties described in subsection (2) of this section and shall not be assigned any other duties.
(2) The director appointed under this section and the investigators employed under this section shall have the following powers, duties and authority:
(a) To enforce all of the provisions of Sections 69-29-9 and 69-29-11, and particularly those portions requiring persons transporting livestock to have a bill of sale in their possession; to make investigations of violations of such sections and to arrest persons violating same;
(b) To enforce all of the laws of this state enacted for the purpose of preventing the theft of livestock, poultry and agricultural and aquacultural products and implements; to make investigations of violations thereof and to arrest persons violating same;
(c) To cooperate with all regularly constituted law enforcement officers relative to the matters herein set forth;
(d) To serve warrants and other process emanating from any court of lawful jurisdiction, including search warrants, in all matters herein set forth;
(e) To carry proper credentials evidencing their authority, which shall be exhibited to any person making demand therefor;
(f) To make arrests without warrant in all matters herein set forth in cases where same is authorized under the constitutional and general laws of this state;
(g) To handle the registration of brands of cattle and livestock.
(h) To investigate, prevent, apprehend and arrest those persons anywhere in the state who are violating any of the laws administered by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce including, but not limited to, timber theft.
(3) The Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce shall furnish such investigators with such vehicles, equipment and supplies as may be necessary. All expenses of same, and all other expenses incurred in the administration of this section, shall be paid from such appropriation as may be made by the Legislature.
(4) The State Tax Commission and its agents and employees shall cooperate with such investigators by furnishing to them information as to any possible or suspected violations of any of the laws mentioned herein, including specifically Section 69-29-27, and in any other lawful manner.
(5) The conservation officers of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are authorized to cooperate with and assist the agricultural and livestock theft investigators in the enforcement and apprehension of violators of laws regarding agricultural and livestock theft.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.