1998 Regular Session
To: Transportation; Ways and Means
By: Representative Compretta (By Request)
House Bill 1481
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 65-31-1 AND 65-31-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN HOSPITALITY STATIONS CONSTRUCTED BY THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TO EMPLOY FULL-TIME SECURITY OFFICERS OR TO CONTRACT WITH PRIVATE SECURITY OFFICERS FOR THE HOSPITALITY STATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 65-31-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-31-1. The Mississippi Transportation Commission is hereby authorized to locate, design and construct * * * hospitality stations on trunkline highways at or near points of entry into this state from other states and to maintain the driveways, walking trails and parking lots of such hospitality stations. In carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the commission shall have authority to employ such engineers, building and landscape architects, skilled and unskilled labor as may be determined necessary by the commission, for the preparation of plans for such hospitality stations and their proper location, design and construction * * *.
Prior to the location of such hospitality stations the commission shall afford the opportunity for a public hearing in the county wherein such hospitality station is to be located for the purpose of receiving testimony regarding the most feasible and advantageous location for such hospitality station, at which hearing all interested persons may appear and present testimony in regard thereto. A notice of such proposed location shall be given in some newspaper published or having general circulation in the county wherein such hospitality station is proposed to be located. Should a public hearing be requested thereon, notice by publication shall be given at least ten (10) days prior to the date upon which public hearing is to be held and written notice thereof shall likewise be given, within that time, to the governing authorities of all municipalities within such county and the governing authority of such county.
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SECTION 2. Section 65-31-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-31-3. The * * * Department of Economic and Community Development shall operate the hospitality stations constructed under the provisions of this chapter and shall maintain and keep each station in a neat and attractive condition. The department may employ full-time security officers or may contract for the employment of private security officers, or both, as authorized under Section 3 of House Bill No. , 1998 Regular Session, to patrol and protect the property of hospitality stations and visitors, patrons and other employees of hospitality stations.
The department also may employ or contract with maintenance personnel, or both, to repair and maintain the hospitality stations. The * * * department also is authorized to enter into agreement with an adjoining state for the operation of a hospitality station on an interstate highway where the states' boundary is the Mississippi River and there is no feasible location for a hospitality station between the bank of the Mississippi River and a national military park in the State of Mississippi, or where the states' boundary is the Pearl River and there is no feasible location for a hospitality station between the bank of the Pearl River and the buffer zone to a test facility operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the State of Mississippi. The * * * department is authorized to pay whatever expenses may be agreed upon between the two (2) states as to the fair share of the operating and maintenance cost of the hospitality station operated primarily for the benefit of the state. Such contracts and agreements shall provide for the furnishing of suitable personnel for the operation of such stations and that such stations shall be kept supplied with such information, pamphlets and other materials as will advertise and publicize the history, commerce, industry, natural resources and tourist attractions of this state. Such information, pamphlets and other materials shall be available to the traveling public and shall be distributed by the personnel employed to operate such stations. The department shall provide for the free distribution to the traveling public of such literature, pamphlets, refreshments and other items that may be of interest to tourists in such manner as deemed to be in the best interest of promoting the tourist trade in this state. The department may sell, or contract for the sale of, merchandise on the premises of any hospitality station, provided such sale or contract for sale is subject to any applicable federal laws and Section 43-3-93. Revenue derived from such sales shall be paid into the special revolving fund established pursuant to Section 57-1-66 and shall be expended to promote and market Mississippi and to maintain and improve hospitality stations.
SECTION 3. (1) The Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development may appoint and commission qualified persons as security officers of the department to patrol and protect the property of hospitality stations operated and maintained by the department under Section 65-31-3. Any such security officer so appointed shall be a full-time employee of the department and shall not be employed by any privately owned guard or security service, and shall at all times be answerable and responsible to the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Executive Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
(2) Before entering upon his duties as such officer, a security officer appointed and commissioned as provided in subsection (1) of this section shall take the oath of office prescribed by Section 268, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, which shall be endorsed upon his commission. The commission with the oath enforced upon it, shall be entered in the official records of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
(3) A security officer appointed and commissioned pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, shall carry, while engaged in the performance of his duties, on his person a badge identifying him as a security officer of the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development and an identification card issued by the department. When in uniform, each such security officer shall wear his badge in plain view.
(4) A security officer appointed and commissioned under subsection (1) of this section may exercise the same powers of arrest and the right to bear firearms that may be exercised by any state, municipal or other police officer in this state, but only with respect to violations of law which are committed on or within the buildings, property or facilities of hospitality stations operated by the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development pursuant to Section 65-31-3. Any right granted under this subsection in no way relieves the requirements of appropriate affidavit and warrant for arrest from the appropriate jurisdiction and authority pursuant to the laws of this state.
(5) On behalf of each person who is employed as a security officer under subsection (1) of this section and who is trained as a security officer at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers' Training Academy, the Department of Economic and Community Development shall be required to pay to the academy at least an amount equal to the per student cost of operation of the academy as tuition.
(6) A person arrested by a security officer appointed and commissioned under this section shall be handled or processed in the jurisdiction in which the offense was committed, in the same manner as if the arrest had been made by a sheriff or constable. If such security officer detains any person arrested by him, he shall forthwith deliver the arrested person to the sheriff of the county in which the offense was committed, and such security officer shall have no further authority as to the custody of such arrested person.
(7) In addition to employing security officers as full-time employees of the department, as authorized under subsection (1) of this section, the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development may contract with any private security firm or business authorized to do business in this state for the purpose of providing security for the buildings, property or facilities of hospitality stations operated by the department pursuant to section 65-31-3. A security officer of a security firm or business with which the department has contracted pursuant to this subsection, while engaged in the performance of his duties, shall carry on his person a badge identifying him as a security officer and an identification card issued by the Department of Economic and Community Development. When in uniform, each such security officer shall wear his badge in plain view. A security officer of a security firm or business with which the department has contracted shall have only such powers of arrest as may be exercised by a private citizen of this state and only such right to bear firearms or weapons while engaged in the performance of his duties as authorized under Section 97-37-7. All security officers with which the department has contracted under this subsection shall be independent contractors and shall not be considered employees under Chapter 46, Title 11, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 4. Section 3 of this section shall be codified as a separate section in Chapter 1, Title 57, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.