1998 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Ishee
House Bill 585
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 93-9-21, 93-9-25 AND 93-9-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF CHEEK SWAB TESTING TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-9-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-21. (1) Prior to the commencement of a paternity action, the putative parent may request, whereupon the Department of Human Services may require, genetic testing of all parties.
(2) The court, on its own motion or on motion of the plaintiff or the defendant, shall order the mother, the alleged father and the child or children to submit to blood tests, cheek swab tests and any other tests which reasonably prove or disprove the probability of paternity.
If any party refuses to submit to such tests, the court may resolve the question of paternity against such party or enforce its order if the rights of others and the interest of justice so require.
(3) Any party calling a witness or witnesses for the purpose of testifying that they had sexual intercourse with the mother at any possible time of conception shall provide all other parties with the name and address of the witness twenty (20) days before the trial. If a witness is produced at the hearing for the purpose stated in this subsection but the party calling the witness failed to provide the twenty-day notice, the court may adjourn the proceeding for the purpose of taking a blood, cheek swab or other test of the witness prior to hearing the testimony of the witness if the court finds that the party calling the witness acted in good faith.
(4) The court shall ensure that all parties are aware of their right to request blood, cheek swab or other tests under this section.
(5) (a) Genetic tests shall be performed by a laboratory selected from the approved list as prepared and maintained by the Department of Human Services.
(b) The Department of Human Services, not less often than annually, shall publicly issue a request for proposals, and such requests for proposals when issued shall contain terms and conditions relating to price, technology, and such other matters as are determined by the department to be appropriate for inclusion or required by law. After responses to the request for proposals have been duly received, the department shall select the lowest and best bid on the basis of price, technology and other relevant factors and from such proposals, but not limited to the terms thereof, negotiate and enter into contracts with one or more of the laboratories submitting proposals. The department shall prepare a list of all laboratories with which it has contracted on these terms. The list and any updates thereto shall be distributed to all chancery clerks. To be eligible to appear on the list, a laboratory must meet the following requirements:
(i) The laboratory is qualified to do business within the State of Mississippi;
(ii) The laboratory can provide test results in less than fourteen (14) days; and
(iii) The laboratory must have participated in the competitive procurement process.
SECTION 2. Section 93-9-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-25. The costs of the blood, cheek swab or other tests required by the court and the compensation of each expert witness appointed by the court shall be fixed at a reasonable amount. It shall be paid as the court shall order. The court may order that it be paid by the parties in such proportions and at such times as it shall prescribe, and that, after payment by either of the parties or both, all or part or none of it be taxed as costs in the action. The fee of an expert witness called by a party but not appointed by the court shall be paid by the party calling him but shall not be taxed as costs in the action.
SECTION 3. Section 93-9-27, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-27. (1) If the court finds that the conclusions of all the experts, as disclosed by the evidence based upon the tests, are that the alleged father is not the father of the child, the question of paternity shall be resolved accordingly. If an expert concludes that the blood, cheek swab or other tests show the probability of paternity, such evidence shall be admitted.
(2) There shall be rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of paternity, if the court finds that the probability of paternity, as calculated by the experts qualified as examiners of genetic tests, is ninety-eight percent (98%) or greater. This presumption may only be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.