MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

1997 Regular Session

To: Appropriations

By: Representative Williams

House Bill 1077

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-1-85, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE OFFICE OF THE STATE AUDITOR TO PURCHASE, OWN AND OPERATE NOT MORE THAN TWENTY PASSENGER VEHICLES; TO AMEND SECTION 25-1-87, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNOR, UPON REQUEST OF THE STATE AUDITOR, TO PERMIT THE USE OF SPECIFIED UNMARKED VEHICLES OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE OFFICE OF THE STATE AUDITOR IN INSTANCES WHERE IDENTIFYING MARKS WILL HINDER OFFICIAL INVESTIGATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. 

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

SECTION 1. Section 25-1-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

25-1-85. The following state departments, agencies or institutions are hereby allowed to purchase, own and operate, in strict accordance with the provisions hereof, passenger vehicles not to exceed the following numbers:

Office of the Attorney General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Agriculture and Commerce 23

Department of Economic and Community Development 14

Experiment Stations 16

Extension Service 1

Forestry Commission 48

Department of Transportation 115

Military Department 5

Department of Corrections 13

Parole Board 2

Mississippi Department of Public Safety 600

Division of Plant Industry 23

State Board of Mental Health 2

East Mississippi State Hospital 1

Mississippi State Hospital 2

Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the

Mississippi State Tax Commission 30

Soil and Water Conservation Commission 2

Ellisville State School 1

North Mississippi Retardation Center 1

South Mississippi Retardation Center 1

Board of Health 10

State Oil and Gas Board 3

Each institution of higher learning, for police

purposes, provided each institution with

more than 6,000 students may have 4 2

Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks 60

Surplus Property Procurement Commission 4

State Tax Commission-station wagons 2

State Tax Commission-automobiles 6

Mississippi Gaming Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

Department of Environmental Quality 12

Pearl River Valley Water Supply District 7

Pearl River Basin Development District 2

Pat Harrison Waterway District 1

Department of Transportation -

Office of State Aid Road Construction 9

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority 2

Fair Commission 1

State Civil Defense Office (including

communications vehicle) 4

Bureau of Narcotics 62

Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport 6

Tombigbee Water Supply District 3

Board of Pharmacy 4

Yellow Creek State Inland Port Authority 1

Boat and Water Safety Commission 2

 

Department of Archives and History. . . . . . . . . . . . ..2 State Fire Fighters Academy (station wagon) . . . . . . . . 1 Office of Capitol Facilities - Capitol Police 2

Office of Building, Grounds and Real Property 1

State Veterans Affairs Board 9

Employment Security Commission 1

Forest Product Utilization Lab 1

Mississippi Board of Nursing 3

Certified Development Company of Mississippi, Inc. 1

State Board of Medical Licensure 4

Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System 3

Mississippi Public Service Commission 42

Department of Human Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Department of Rehabilitation Services 4

Real Estate Commission 1

Mississippi Library Commission - station wagons 5

Office of the State Auditor 20

Except as provided in Sections 25-1-77 through 25-1-93, no state department, institution or agency shall purchase, operate or maintain any passenger vehicle out of any funds available for the use of such department, institution or agency, unless same has been or may be donated.

All new passenger vehicles purchased by any state department, institution, agency, university, community or junior college, or local governing authority, except vehicles purchased to be used for law enforcement purposes by the law enforcement departments of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Public Service Commission, Tax Commission, State Institutions of Higher Learning, Attorney General, and Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, and vehicles used for law enforcement purposes or for emergency response purposes by local governing authorities, shall be of a fuel-efficient model which meets the needs of the using entity. No such new passenger vehicles purchased shall be luxury vehicles, utility, carryall or full-size vehicles as defined by the industry, unless the executive head of the purchasing entity first declares that a special need exists and/or special circumstances exist which require transportation of passengers in conditions requiring a luxury, utility, carryall or full-size vehicle. Upon receipt of such declaration, the Public Procurement Review Board created under Section 27-104-7 shall disallow the purchase by state agencies if adequate justification is not provided. Approval from the Public Procurement Review Board is not required for purchases by local governing authorities. Furthermore, power windows, power door locks and power seats may not be added as options to any vehicle purchased by any state agency unless adequate justification is provided. It is the intent of the Legislature that each such passenger vehicle purchased be the most prudent possible and still adequately meet the needs for which the vehicle is purchased. The term "passenger vehicle" shall not be construed to mean trucks or motor-driven equipment whose primary use is not the transportation of passengers.

For purposes of this section, passenger vehicle shall be defined as a vehicle which is designed to transport four (4) or more persons and/or provides adequate seating for at least four (4) persons. The terms "luxury vehicle," "full-size vehicle," "utility vehicle" and "carryall vehicle" shall be as defined by the industry.

Prior to January 1, 1996, the Department of Finance and Administration, Office of Purchasing and Travel, in cooperation with the Office of the Auditor, Property Control Division, shall prepare an inventory of vehicles owned by all state departments, agencies or institutions. The inventory shall include, but is not limited to, the name of the agency or institution and the quantity and primary use of vehicles in each of the following categories: subcompact, compact sedan, mid-size sedan, full-size sedan, utility vehicle, carryall vehicle, compact pick-up, mid-size pick-up, one-half ton pick-up, three-quarter ton pick-up, one ton pick-up, passenger van, cargo van, bus, other. This inventory shall be used by the 1996 Legislature to determine the need for limitations on the quantities of vehicles in each category for each entity.

Nothing in Sections 25-1-77 through 25-1-93 shall be construed to prohibit agencies, departments and institutions from purchasing and operating passenger vehicles when used exclusively to transport patients, prisoners, students, faculty or staff of state institutions, blind and sighted employees essential to operate blind training programs or material, products and client-trainees in the sheltered workshop program, or bookmobiles. The superintendents of the Columbia Training School and Oakley Training School and the Commissioner of Corrections, or staff members designated by them, may use such passenger vehicles for other official functions and operations of those institutions at their discretion. Passenger vehicles or similar vehicles used for any other purposes shall be considered as automobiles and subject to the restrictions set forth in the aforesaid sections.

In addition to the motor vehicles authorized to be owned and operated by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said department is also authorized to receive, own and operate special purpose motor vehicles to be used solely in investigations.

Of the motor vehicles authorized to be owned and operated by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, no more than twenty-one (21) vehicles may be kept for use by administrative personnel of the patrol whose principal duties are performed at the Highway Safety Patrol Headquarters Building and the Drivers' License Examining Station in Hinds County to commute to and from the residence of said personnel to the office at which such duties are regularly performed.

Of the motor vehicles authorized to be owned and operated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, not more than five (5) vehicles may be kept for use by administrative personnel of the department to commute between their residences and the offices at which their duties are regularly performed. The executive director of the department is authorized to allow additional department personnel to commute to and from their residences in department vehicles due to the nature of their job and for the safety of the traveling public.

Of the motor vehicles authorized to be owned and operated by the State Tax Commission, no more than four (4) vehicles may be kept for use by administrative personnel whose principal duties are performed at State Tax Commission offices in Hinds County to commute to and from the residence of said personnel to the office at which such duties are regularly performed.

The provisions of Chapter 226, Laws of 1964, remain in force and are not affected by this section.

Any state officer, employee or board member who violates any of the foregoing provisions of Sections 25-1-77 through 25-1-85 shall be liable on his or her official bond for the total amount of the purchase price of the passenger vehicle, plus the total amount of funds expended in violation of said sections for the operating costs of such vehicle.

SECTION 2. Section 25-1-87, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

25-1-87. All motor vehicles owned or leased by the State of Mississippi or any agency, department or political subdivision thereof, which shall include counties and municipalities, when such agency or department or political subdivision, which shall include counties and municipalities, is supported wholly or in part by public taxes or by appropriations from public funds, shall have painted on both sides in letters at least three (3) inches in height, and on the rear in letters not less than one and one-half (1-1/2) inches in height, the name of the state agency or department, or political subdivision, which shall include counties and municipalities, in a color which is in contrast with the color of the vehicle; provided, however, that a permanent decal may be used in lieu of paint, and provided further, that any municipality may affix a permanent decal or design at least twelve (12) inches in height and twelve (12) inches in width on both sides of the vehicle with the name of the municipality within or across the permanent decal or design, and the permanent design or decal shall be in a color or colors which are in contrast with the color of the vehicle. No privilege license tag shall be issued for such vehicle until the name has been painted thereon or a permanent design or decal affixed thereto as required by this section. A permanent decal may be used in lieu of paint. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to vehicles used by the Chief Executive of the State of Mississippi, to vehicles owned or leased by the Department of Economic Development, to vehicles owned or leased by the Office of the Attorney General, to one (1) vehicle owned or leased by the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, to not more than three (3) vehicles owned or leased by the Department of Corrections and used only by Community Services Division officers, to not more than one (1) vehicle owned or leased by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and used only by an investigator employed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation or to not more than one (1) vehicle owned or leased by the Mississippi State Tax Commission; and upon receipt of a written request from the State Adjutant General, the Commissioner of Public Safety, the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Mississippi State Tax Commission, the Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Wildlife of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Director of the Bureau of Narcotics, the Executive Officer of the Board of Pharmacy, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the State Auditor or a president or chancellor of a state institution of higher learning, the Governor may authorize the use of specified unmarked vehicles only in instances where such identifying marks will hinder official investigations, and the governing authorities of any municipality may authorize the use of specified, unmarked police vehicles when identifying marks would hinder official criminal investigations by the police. The written request or the order or resolution authorizing such shall contain the manufacturer's serial number, the state inventory number, where applicable, and shall set forth why the vehicle should be exempt from the provisions of this paragraph. In the event the request is granted, the Governor shall furnish the State Department of Audit with a copy of his written authority for the use of the unmarked vehicles, or the governing authority, as the case may be, shall enter its order or resolution on the minutes and shall furnish the State Department of Audit with a certified copy of its order or resolution for the use of the unmarked police vehicle. The state property auditors of the State Department of Audit shall personally examine vehicles owned or leased by the State of Mississippi or any agency, department or commission thereof and report violations of the provisions of this paragraph to the State Auditor and the Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review. Any vehicle found to be in violation of this paragraph shall be reported immediately to the department head charged with such vehicle, and five (5) days shall be given for compliance; and if not complied with, such vehicles shall be impounded by the State Auditor until properly marked or exempted.

Upon notification to the State Tax Commission by the State Auditor that any municipality or political subdivision is not in compliance with this section, the State Tax Commission shall withhold any sales tax due for distribution to any such municipality and any excise tax on gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and oil due any such county and for any months thereafter, and shall continue to withhold such funds until compliance with this section is certified to the State Tax Commission by the State Department of Audit.

County-owned motor vehicles operated by the sheriff's department shall not be subject to the provisions of this section, but shall be subject to the provisions of Section 19-25-15. County-owned motor vehicles operated by a family court established pursuant to Section 43-23-1 et seq., shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

State-owned or leased motor vehicles operated by the Department of Mental Health or by facilities operated by the Department of Mental Health and used for transporting patients living in group homes or alternative living arrangements shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

Up to four (4) passenger automobiles owned or leased by economic development districts or economic development authorities shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

State-owned or leased motor vehicles operated by the Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and used to investigate livestock theft shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

Up to three (3) motor vehicles owned or leased by the Pascagoula Municipal Separate School District for use by district security officers shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

The motor vehicles of a public airport shall not be subject to the provisions of this section upon a finding by the governing authority of such airport that marking a motor vehicle as required in this section will compromise security at such airport.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.