1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) White (29th)
Senate Bill 2633
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 43-1-13, 45-3-11 AND 49-1-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PERMIT DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES EMPLOYEES, MEMBERS OF THE HIGHWAY SAFETY PATROL AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND PARKS TO BECOME CANDIDATES FOR POLITICAL OFFICE; TO REQUIRE SUCH PERSONS TO TAKE A LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO BECOME A CANDIDATE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-1-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-13. It shall be unlawful for a commissioner * * * to take an active part in any political campaign. Other employees of the state or county human services departments may be candidates for political office but must take a leave of absence to do so; however, it shall be unlawful for any such employee to take an active part in any political campaign other than his own. For violation of this provision the offending party shall be removed from office and in addition thereto, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to a fine of not more than Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).
SECTION 2. Section 45-3-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-3-11. A member of the patrol may be a candidate for political office but must take a leave of absence to do so; however, no member of the patrol shall, while in such position, * * * take part in or contribute any money or other things of value, directly or indirectly, to any political campaign other than his own or to any candidate for public office other than himself. Anyone violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon final conviction shall be punished as provided by law, and shall be dismissed from the patrol.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or attempt to solicit any money or thing of value from any employee of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol for political purposes. Any person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon final conviction shall be punished as provided by law.
SECTION 3. Section 49-1-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-1-19. (1) Neither any member of the commission nor the director * * * shall be active in any manner for or on behalf of his own candidacy or the candidacy of any candidate for any public office during his term of office or employment with the department. An administrative officer, employee, supervisor or conservation officer may be a candidate for political office but must take a leave of absence to do so; however, no such person shall be active in any manner for or on behalf of the candidacy of any other person for public office during his term of employment with the department. Violation of this subsection shall constitute a Class II violation and upon conviction thereof the violator shall be punished as provided in Section 49-7-143 for each offense. A conviction shall render vacant the office or position of the violator.
(2) While retaining the right to vote as he may please and to express privately his opinions on all political subjects, no state director of conservation or conservation officer shall use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or affecting the results thereof, nor for the purpose of coercing the political action of any person or body.
SECTION 4. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is hereby directed to submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.