1997 Regular Session
To: Environment Prot, Cons and Water Res
By: Senator(s) Dearing
Senate Bill 2495
AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW CODE SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 41-26-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE THE DRINKING WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS FUND AND A PROCESS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT, ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF FEES FOR DRINKING WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR FEE DELINQUENCIES; TO AMEND SECTION 41-3-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE LANGUAGE REGARDING DRINKING WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS FEES AND LANGUAGE SETTING FORTH DUTIES OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REGARDING CERTIFICATION OF PERSONS ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF INSTALLATION OF INDIVIDUAL ON-SITE WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEMS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 41-26-23, Mississippi Code of 1972:
41-26-23. (1) There is created in the State Treasury a fund to be designated as the "Drinking Water Quality Analysis Fund." The fund shall be a special trust fund. Interest earned on the principal in the fund shall be credited by the Treasurer to the fund. The fund may receive monies from any available public or private source, including fees, proceeds and grants. The agency shall expend monies in the fund to pay all reasonable direct and indirect costs of water quality analysis and related activities as required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended. Monies in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be retained in the fund for use in the succeeding fiscal year. Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, if the annual fees collected exceed the cost of administering the water quality analysis program in that fiscal year, the excess shall be applied to the cost of administering the program in the succeeding fiscal year. In the succeeding fiscal year, the total to be collected from fees shall be reduced by the excess retained in the fund and the assessment rates shall be adjusted proportionately.
(2) The agency annually shall assess and collect fees for water quality analysis and related activities as required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, which shall not exceed Two Dollars ($2.00) per connection or Thirty-five Thousand Dollars ($35,000.00) per system, whichever is less. The agency annually shall adopt by rule, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Law and following a public hearing, a fee schedule to cover all reasonable direct and indirect costs of water quality analysis and related activities as required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended. In adopting a fee schedule, the agency shall consider the recommendations of the advisory committee created in this section, if those recommendations are made in a timely manner as provided.
(3) An advisory committee is created to study the program needs and costs for the implementation of the water quality analysis program and to conduct an annual review of the needs and costs of administering that program. The annual review shall include an independent recommendation on an equitable fee schedule for the succeeding fiscal year. Each annual review report shall be due to the agency by May 1. The advisory committee shall consist of one (1) member appointed by the Mississippi Rural Water Association, one (1) member appointed by the Mississippi Municipal Association, one (1) member appointed by the Mississippi Association of Supervisors and one (1) member appointed by the Mississippi Water and Pollution Control Operators Association, Inc.
(4) All suppliers of water shall pay the water quality analysis fee performed by the State Department of Health within forty-five (45) days following receipt of an invoice from the department. In the discretion of the agency, any supplier of water required to pay the fee shall be liable for a penalty equal to a maximum of two (2) times the amount of fees due and payable plus an amount necessary to reimburse the costs of delinquent fee collection for failure to pay the fee within ninety (90) days following the receipt of the invoice. Any person making sales to customers of water for residential, noncommercial or nonagricultural use and who recovers the fee required by this section or any portion thereof from any customer shall indicate on each statement rendered to customers that these fees are for water quality analyses required by the federal government under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended.
(5) There is created within the Drinking Water Quality Analysis Fund an equipment capital expenditure account, hereinafter referred to as the "account." The agency may transfer any excess fees, not exceeding ten percent (10%) of the total fees assessed under this section, to the account. The balance in the account shall not exceed Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00). Funds in the account shall be used by the agency to defray the costs of purchasing new equipment or repairing existing equipment for the analysis of drinking water.
SECTION 2. Section 41-3-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-3-15. (1) There shall be a State Department of Health which shall be organized into such bureaus and divisions as are considered necessary by the executive officer, and shall be assigned appropriate functions as are required of the State Board of Health by law, subject to the approval of the board.
(2) The State Board of Health shall have the authority to establish an Office of Rural Health within the department. The duties and responsibilities of this office shall include the following:
(a) To collect and evaluate data on rural health conditions and needs;
(b) To engage in policy analysis, policy development and economic impact studies with regard to rural health issues;
(c) To develop and implement plans and provide technical assistance to enable community health systems to respond to various changes in their circumstances;
(d) To plan and assist in professional recruitment and retention of medical professionals and assistants; and
(e) To establish information clearinghouses to improve access to and sharing of rural health care information.
(3) The State Board of Health shall have general supervision of the health interests of the people of the state and to exercise the rights, powers and duties of those acts which it is authorized by law to enforce.
(4) The State Board of Health shall have authority:
(a) To make investigations and inquiries with respect to the causes of disease and death, and to investigate the effect of environment, including conditions of employment and other conditions which may affect health, and to make such other investigations as it may deem necessary for the preservation and improvement of health.
(b) To make such sanitary investigations as it may, from time to time, deem necessary for the protection and improvement of health and to investigate nuisance questions which affect the security of life and health within the state.
(c) To direct and control sanitary and quarantine measures for dealing with all diseases within the state possible to suppress same and prevent their spread.
(d) To obtain, collect and preserve such information relative to mortality, morbidity, disease and health as may be useful in the discharge of its duties or may contribute to the prevention of disease or the promotion of health in this state.
(e) To enter into contracts or agreements with any other state or federal agency, or with any private person, organization or group capable of contracting, if it finds such action to be in the public interest.
(f) To charge and collect reasonable fees for health services, including immunizations, inspections and related activities, and the board shall charge fees for such services; provided, however, if it is determined that a person receiving services is unable to pay the total fee, the board shall collect any amount such person is able to pay.
(g) To accept gifts, trusts, bequests, grants, endowments or transfers of property of any kind.
(h) To receive monies coming to it by way of fees for services or by appropriations.
(i) (i) To establish standards for, issue permits and exercise control over, any cafes, restaurants, food or drink stands, sandwich manufacturing establishments, and all other establishments, other than churches, church-related and private schools, and other nonprofit or charitable organizations, where food or drink is regularly prepared, handled and served for pay; and
(ii) To require that a permit be obtained from the Department of Health before such persons begin operation.
(j) To promulgate rules and regulations and exercise control over the production and sale of milk pursuant to the provisions of Sections 75-31-41 through 75-31-49.
(k) On presentation of proper authority, to enter into and inspect any public place or building where the State Health Officer or his representative deems it necessary and proper to enter for the discovery and suppression of disease and for the enforcement of any health or sanitary laws and regulations in the state.
(l) To conduct investigations, inquiries and hearings, and to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and records at any hearing when authorized and required by statute to be conducted by the State Health Officer or the State Board of Health.
(m) To employ, subject to the regulations of the State Personnel Board, qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields of each bureau, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department. The executive officer shall be the appointing authority for the department, and shall have the power to delegate the authority to appoint or dismiss employees to appropriate subordinates, subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board.
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(5) (a) The State Board of Health shall have the authority, in its discretion, to establish programs to promote the public health, to be administered by the State Department of Health. Specifically, such programs may include, but shall not be limited to, programs in the following areas:
(i) Maternal and child health;
(ii) Family planning;
(iii) Pediatric services;
(iv) Services to crippled and disabled children;
(v) Control of communicable and noncommunicable disease;
(vi) Child care licensure;
(vii) Radiological health;
(viii) Dental health;
(ix) Milk sanitation;
(x) Occupational safety and health;
(xi) Food, vector control and general sanitation;
(xii) Protection of drinking water;
(xiii) Sanitation in food handling establishments open to the public;
(xiv) Registration of births and deaths and other vital events;
(xv) Such public health programs and services as may be assigned to the State Board of Health by the Legislature or by executive order.
(b) The State Board of Health and State Department of Health shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, alienate or otherwise dispose of any of the home health agencies owned and operated by the department on January 1, 1995, and shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, alienate or otherwise dispose of the license of any of those home health agencies, except upon the specific authorization of the Legislature by an amendment to this section. However, this paragraph (b) shall not prevent the board or the department from closing or terminating the operation of any home health agency owned and operated by the department, or closing or terminating any office, branch office or clinic of any such home health agency, or otherwise discontinuing the providing of home health services through any such home health agency, office, branch office or clinic, if the board first demonstrates that there are other providers of home health services in the area being served by the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic that will be able to provide adequate home health services to the residents of the area if the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is closed or otherwise discontinues the providing of home health services. This demonstration by the board that there are other providers of adequate home health services in the area shall be spread at length upon the minutes of the board at a regular or special meeting of the board at least thirty (30) days before a home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is proposed to be closed or otherwise discontinue the providing of home health services.
(c) The State Department of Health may undertake such technical programs and activities as may be required for the support and operation of such programs, including maintaining physical, chemical, bacteriological and radiological laboratories, and may make such diagnostic tests for diseases and tests for the evaluation of health hazards as may be deemed necessary for the protection of the people of the state.
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(6) (a) The State Board of Health shall administer the local governments and rural water systems improvements loan program in accordance with * * * Section 41-3-16.
(b) The State Board of Health shall have authority:
(i) To enter into capitalization grant agreements with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or any successor agency thereto;
(ii) To accept capitalization grant awards made under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended;
(iii) To provide annual reports and audits to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as may be required by federal capitalization grant agreements; and
(iv) To establish and collect fees to defray the reasonable costs of administering the revolving fund or emergency fund if the State Board of Health determines that such costs will exceed the limitations established in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended. The administration fees may be included in loan amounts to loan recipients for the purpose of facilitating payment to the board; however, such fees may not exceed five percent (5%) of the loan amount.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after August 1, 1997.