1997 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Public Utilities
By: Senator(s) White (29th)
Senate Bill 2382
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-19-45, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE ANY PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATED BY THE MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO PERMIT THE CHILD SUPPORT UNIT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, OR ANY PRIVATE ENTITY WITH WHICH IT HAS CONTRACTED, ACCESS TO THEIR FILES FOR THE PURPOSE OF LOCATING ABSENT AND NONSUPPORTING PARENTS AND ALLEGED PARENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-19-45, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-19-45. (1) The Child Support Unit and any private entity contracted by the Department of Human Services to provide child support collection services shall establish a state parent locator service for the purpose of locating absent and nonsupporting parents and alleged parents, which will utilize all appropriate public and private locator sources. In order to carry out the responsibilities imposed under Sections 43-19-31 through 43-19-53, the Child Support Unit may request and shall receive all public and private records that would enable the location of parents or alleged parents who have a duty to provide support and maintenance for their children. The service shall on request supply said Child Support Unit, its attorneys, investigators, probation officers, county or district attorneys in this state, all information relative to the location, employment, income and property of such parents and alleged parents and with all information on hand relative to the location and prosecution of any person who has, by means of a false statement or misrepresentation or by impersonation or other fraudulent device, obtained aid to dependent children to which he or she was not entitled, notwithstanding any provision of law making such information confidential. The Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services and any other agency in this state using the facilities of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services are directed to permit the Child Support Unit access to their files, inclusive of those maintained for other state agencies, for the purpose of locating absent and nonsupporting parents and alleged parents, except to the extent that any such access would violate any valid federal statute or regulation issued pursuant thereto. Any public utility issued a certificate of convenience and necessity by the Mississippi Public Service Commission shall permit the Child Support Unit, or any private entity with which the Child Support Unit has contracted, access to their files, for the purpose of locating absent and nonsupporting parents and alleged parents, except to the extent that any such access would violate any valid federal statute or regulation issued pursuant thereto. The Child Support Unit, its attorneys, investigators, probation officers, or county or district attorneys, shall use such information only for the purpose of investigating or enforcing the support liability of such absent parents or alleged parents or for the prosecutor of other persons mentioned herein. Neither the Child Support Unit nor said authorities shall use the information, or disclose it, for any other purpose. All records maintained pursuant to the provisions of Sections 43-19-31 through 43-19-53 shall be confidential and shall be available only to the Child Support Unit, the attorneys, investigators and other staff employed or under contract under Sections 43-19-31 through 43-19-53, district or county attorneys, probation departments, child support units in other states, and courts having jurisdiction in paternity, support or abandonment proceedings. The Child Support Unit may release to the public the name, photo, last known address, arrearage amount and other necessary information of a parent who has a judgment against him for child support and is currently in arrears in the payment of this support. Such release may be included in a "Most Wanted List" or other media in order to solicit assistance.
(2) The Child Support Unit shall have the authority to secure information from the records of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission that may be necessary to locate absent and nonsupporting parents and alleged parents under the provisions of Sections 43-19-31 through 43-19-53. Upon request of the Child Support Unit, all departments, boards, bureaus and agencies of the state shall provide to the Child Support Unit verification of employment or payment and the address and Social Security number of any person designated as an absent or nonsupporting parent or alleged parent. In addition, upon request of the Child Support Unit, the Mississippi Employment Security Commission, or any private employer or payor of any income to a person designated as an absent or nonsupporting parent or alleged parent, shall provide to the Child Support Unit verification of employment or payment and the address and Social Security number of the person so designated. All such records and information shall be confidential and shall not be used for any purposes other than those specified by Sections 43-19-31 through 43-19-53. The violation of the provisions of this subsection shall be unlawful and any person convicted of violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall pay a fine of not more than Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.