1998 Regular Session
To: Veterans and Military Affairs
By: Senator(s) Furniss, Mettetal
Senate Bill 2542
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 33-15-5 AND 33-15-49, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES TO DECLARE DISASTER AREAS AND USE EMERGENCY PUBLIC PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT TO PERFORM CERTAIN FUNCTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 33-15-307, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF THE DISASTER ASSISTANCE TRUST FUND TO REIMBURSE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE NATIONAL GUARD FOR COSTS AND RELATED EXPENSES OF PROVIDING MUTUAL ASSISTANCE TO ANOTHER STATE PURSUANT TO THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMPACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 33-15-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
33-15-5. The following words, whenever used in this article shall, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, have the following meanings:
(a) "Agency," the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, created by Section 33-15-7.
(b) "Director," the Director of Emergency Management, appointed pursuant to Section 33-15-7.
(c) "Emergency management," means the preparation for, the mitigation of, the response to, and the recovery from emergencies and disasters. Specific emergency management responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
(i) Reduction of vulnerability of people and communities of this state to damage, injury and loss of life and property resulting from natural, technological or man-made emergencies or hostile military paramilitary action.
(ii) Preparation for prompt and efficient response and recovery to protect lives and property affected by emergencies.
(iii) Response to emergencies using all systems, plans and resources necessary to preserve adequately the health, safety and welfare of persons or property affected by the emergency.
(iv) Recovery from emergencies by providing for the rapid and orderly start of restoration and rehabilitation of persons and property affected by emergencies.
(v) Provision of an emergency management system embodying all aspects of preemergency preparedness and postemergency response, recovery and mitigation.
(vi) Assistance in anticipation, recognition, appraisal, prevention and mitigation of emergencies which may be caused or aggravated by inadequate planning for, and regulation of public and private facilities and land use.
(d) "Civil defense," whenever it appears in the laws of the State of Mississippi, shall mean "emergency management" unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(e) "State of war emergency" means the condition which exists immediately, with or without a proclamation thereof by the Governor, whenever this state or nation is attacked by an enemy of the United States or upon receipt by the state of a warning from the federal government indicating that such an attack is probable or imminent.
(f) "State of emergency" means the duly proclaimed existence of conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property within the state caused by air or water pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic, earthquake, resource shortages, or other natural or man-made conditions other than conditions causing a "state of war emergency," which conditions by reasons of their magnitude are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county and/or municipality and requires combined forces of the state to combat.
(g) "Local emergency" means the duly proclaimed existence of conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the territorial limits of a county and/or municipality caused by such conditions as air or water pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic, earthquake, resource shortages or other natural or man-made conditions, which conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the political subdivision and require the combined forces of other subdivisions or of the state to combat.
(h) "Emergency" means any occurrence, or threat thereof, whether natural, technological, or man-made, in war or in peace, which results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property.
(i) "Man-made emergency" means an emergency caused by an action against persons or society, including, but not limited to, emergency attack, sabotage, terrorism, civil unrest or other action impairing the orderly administration of government.
(j) "Natural emergency" means an emergency caused by a natural event, including, but not limited to, a hurricane, a storm, a flood, severe wave action, a drought or an earthquake.
(k) "Technological emergency" means an emergency caused by a technological failure or accident, including, but not limited to, an explosion, transportation accident, radiological accident, or chemical or other hazardous material incident.
(l) "Local emergency management agency" means an organization created to discharge the emergency management responsibilities and functions of a political subdivision.
(m) "Disaster" means any natural, technological or civil emergency as defined in this section that causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to result in a declaration of an emergency by a county or municipality, the Governor or the President of the United States. Disasters shall be identified by the severity of resulting damage, as follows:
(i) "Catastrophic disaster" means a disaster that will require massive state and federal assistance, including immediate military involvement.
(ii) "Major disaster" means a disaster that will likely exceed local capabilities and require a broad range of state and federal assistance.
(iii) "Minor disaster" means a disaster that is likely to be within the response capabilities of local government and to result in only a minimal need for state or federal assistance.
SECTION 2. Section 33-15-49, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
33-15-49. In the event an impending enemy attack, an enemy attack, or a man-made, technological or natural disaster occurs within the state or within any portion of it and a proclamation is issued by the governing authorities of the county, the governing authorities of the municipality, the office of the Governor of the state or the President of the United States declaring such affected areas to be disaster areas, the governing authorities of any county or municipality adversely affected by such disaster may:
(a) Use county or municipally owned equipment and such public employees as necessary to venture onto private property to aid in removing debris and to prevent further damage to such property at the request of the property owners;
(b) Use county or municipally owned equipment and such public employees as necessary to venture onto private property to remove debris and to perform any other necessary and needed services to prevent the spread of disease or any other health hazard to the community at large.
If the governing authorities of such adversely affected counties or municipalities are unable to perform such necessary and needed functions with their own equipment and personnel, they may request aid from other counties and municipalities not adversely affected by such impending enemy attack, enemy attack, or man-made, technological or natural disaster, and capable and willing to furnish needed services.
Provided, however, if the Governor determines that the governing authorities of such adversely affected counties or municipalities still lack sufficient equipment and personnel under such circumstances to perform such functions, any state agency or instrumentality, when directed by the Governor, is authorized to enter upon publicly or privately owned land or water and to use state-owned equipment and state employees as necessary to clear or remove debris and wreckage. Whenever the governor provides for clearance of debris or wreckage pursuant hereto, employees of the designated state agencies or instrumentalities are authorized to enter upon private or public land or water and perform any tasks necessary to the removal or clearance operation. Except in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence or bad faith, any state employee or agent complying with and performing duties pursuant hereto shall not be liable for death or injury to persons or damage to property.
SECTION 3. Section 33-15-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
33-15-307. (1) The provisions of this article shall be invoked only pursuant to a state of emergency declared by the Governor or an emergency or major disaster declared by the President, or pursuant to an executive order of the Governor in order to provide state or local government resources and personnel in compliance with the provisions of the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact, Section 45-18-1 et seq. Each declaration shall cite the cause for the declaration and define the area eligible for assistance and the type of assistance to be provided.
(2) The Disaster Assistance Trust Fund is created as a special fund in the State Treasury into which shall be paid any funds appropriated by the Legislature for disaster assistance, any funds transferred from the Working Cash-Stabilization Reserve Fund as provided under subsection (5) of this section, any income from investment of the funds in the trust fund, and federal reimbursement for administrative costs for management of the Individual and Family Grant Program and the Public Assistance Program.
(3) Income from investment of the funds in the trust fund, and all other funds deposited therein pursuant to law, shall be available for expenditure, transfer and allocation pursuant to this article.
(4) The Disaster Assistance Trust Fund shall be used only for the following purposes:
(a) The state's portion of the cost share for public assistance under a major disaster declaration.
(b) The state's cost share of the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program under the provisions of Section 43-41-1, et seq.
(c) Administrative costs for managing the IFG Program.
(d) Administrative costs for managing the Public Assistance Program.
(e) The temporary Housing Program under provisions of Section 43-41-301, et seq.
(f) Out-of-pocket expenses, including travel, per diem, overtime and other similar expenses, of state or local agencies when so tasked by the Governor or the director for emergency response under the provisions of Section 33-15-11(b)(7) and current executive orders * * *. This includes actual emergency response and recovery activities, and applies to mobilization and deployment of state or local agencies to another state under the provisions of the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact.
(g) Costs incurred as a result of state active duty for the Mississippi National Guard when so tasked by the Governor to provide support to other agencies and local governments in a major disaster or emergency situation, or when tasked by the Governor to provide support to another state under the provisions of the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact.
(5) Whenever the director determines that funds are immediately needed in the Disaster Assistance Trust Fund to provide for disaster assistance under this article, he shall notify the Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration of his determination and shall requisition the amount of funds from the Working Cash-Stabilization Fund that are needed in the trust fund, which shall be subject to the limitations set forth below in this subsection. At the same time he makes the requisition, the director shall notify the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the respective chairmen of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee of his determination of the need for the funds and the amount that he has requisitioned. Upon receipt of such a requisition from the director, the Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration shall ascertain if the amount requisitioned is available in the Working Cash-Stabilization Reserve Fund and is within the limitations set forth below in this subsection and, if it is, he shall transfer that amount from the Working Cash-Stabilization Reserve Fund to the trust fund. If the amount requisitioned is more than the amount available in the Working Cash-Stabilization Fund or above the limitations set forth below in this subsection, the executive director shall transfer the amount that is available within the limitations. The maximum amount that may be transferred from the Working Cash-Stabilization Reserve Fund to the trust fund for any one (1) disaster occurrence shall be Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) and the maximum amount that may be transferred during any fiscal year shall be One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).
(6) Unexpended state funds in the Disaster Assistance Trust Fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund but shall remain in the trust fund for use under this article for as long as the funds are needed for the particular purpose for which they were appropriated or transferred into the trust fund. After any state funds in the trust fund are no longer needed for the particular purpose for which they were appropriated or transferred into the trust fund, the director may use those funds for any other purpose under this article for which they currently are needed and for which other funds are not available. If there is no current need for such funds for any purpose under this article, the funds and the income earned from the investment of the funds shall be transferred back to the particular fund or funds in the State Treasury from which they were appropriated or transferred into the trust fund, upon certification of the director to the Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration that the funds are not currently needed.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.