MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

1999 Regular Session

To: Transportation; Appropriations

By: Representative Cameron

House Bill 354

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 65-1-1, 65-1-3, 65-1-8, 65-1-9, 65-1-10, 65-1-11, 65-1-15, 65-1-23, 65-1-25, 65-1-27, 65-1-29, 65-1-31, 65-1-33, 65-1-35, 65-1-37, 65-1-39, 65-1-41, 65-1-43, 65-1-45, 65-1-46, 65-1-47, 65-1-49, 65-1-51, 65-1-57, 65-1-59, 65-1-61, 65-1-63, 65-1-65, 65-1-67, 65-1-69, 65-1-70.5, 65-1-73, 65-1-75, 65-1-77, 65-1-79, 65-1-81, 65-1-83, 65-1-85, 65-1-86, 65-1-87, 65-1-91, 65-1-111, 65-1-113, 65-1-115, 65-1-117, 65-1-121, 65-1-123, 65-1-127, 65-1-129, 65-1-131, 65-1-135, 65-1-136, 65-1-137, 65-1-141, 65-1-145, 65-1-149, 65-1-151, 65-1-155, 65-1-167, 65-1-169 AND 65-1-173, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ABOLISH THE MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR; TO AMEND SECTIONS 1-1-11, 23-15-193, 23-15-297, 23-15-881, 23-15-883, 23-15-887, 25-3-31, 65-2-3, 65-2-5, 97-15-3 AND 97-15-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO REPEAL SECTION 65-1-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND MEETINGS OF THE MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 65-1-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-1. When used in this chapter and for the purposes of Sections 65-1-1 through 65-1-21, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Whenever the term "Mississippi State Highway Department," or the word "department" meaning the Mississippi State Highway Department, appears in the laws of the State of Mississippi, it shall mean the "Mississippi Department of Transportation."

(b) "Office" means an administrative subdivision of the department.

(c) "Bureau" means an administrative subdivision of an office.

(d)  * * * Whenever the term "Mississippi Transportation Commission," the term "Mississippi State Highway Commission," or the word "commission" meaning the Mississippi Transportation Commission or the Mississippi State Highway Commission, appears in the laws of the State of Mississippi, it shall mean the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation acting for and on behalf of the department.

(e) "Executive director" means the chief administrative officer of the department. Whenever the term "director," meaning the Chief Administrative Officer of the State Highway Department, appears in the laws of the State of Mississippi, it shall mean the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

(f) "Director" means the chief officer of an office.

(g) "Administrator" means the chief officer of a bureau.

(h) "Highway" or "road" includes rights-of-way, bridge and drainage structures, signs, guardrails and other structures made in connection with such highway or road.

(i) "Construction" includes reconstruction.

(j) "Maintenance" means the constant maintenance and repair to preserve a smooth surfaced highway.

(k) "Pave" means to construct with a surface of either high-type or intermediate-type pavement.

SECTION 2. Section 65-1-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-3. (1) Until January 1, 2000, there shall be a Transportation Commission which shall consist of three (3) members, one (1) from each of the three (3) Supreme Court districts of the state. Only qualified electors who are citizens of the Supreme Court district in which he or she offers for election shall be eligible for such office.

On Tuesday after the first Monday in November of the year 1951, and every four (4) years thereafter through the year 1995, transportation commissioners shall be elected at the same time and in the same manner as the Governor is chosen; and the laws governing primary elections and the holding of general elections in this state shall apply to and govern the nomination and election of transportation commissioners.  The * * * commissioners so elected shall enter upon the discharge of the duties of their respective offices on the first Monday of January in the year next succeeding the date of their election, and they shall serve for a term of four (4) years and until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified.

If any one or more of the * * * commissioners elected under the provisions of this chapter shall die, resign or be removed from office, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the unexpired term, provided such unexpired term shall not exceed twelve (12) months. If such unexpired term shall exceed twelve (12) months, the Governor shall, within fifteen (15) days from the date of such vacancy, by proclamation duly made, call an election in the Supreme Court district in which such vacancy exists, to be held within sixty (60) days from the date of the issuance of such proclamation, at which election a * * * commissioner shall be elected to fill such vacancy for the remaining portion of such unexpired term. Such special election shall be held in the manner provided for holding general elections in this state, as far as practicable.

Each of the transportation commissioners, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe the oath of office required of other state officials and shall execute bond in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), with some surety company authorized to do business in this state as surety, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of his office and for the faithful and true accounting of all funds or monies or property coming into his hands by virtue of his office, and conditioned further that all such funds, monies and property will be expended and used by him only for purposes authorized by law, said bond to be approved by the Governor or Attorney General and to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The premium on such bonds shall be paid out of the funds of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

From and after July 1, 1992, the * * * commission shall be the Mississippi Transportation Commission and the members thereof shall be the Mississippi transportation commissioners.

(2) This section shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 2000.

SECTION 3. Section 65-1-8, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-8. (1) The Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * shall have the following general powers, duties and responsibilities:

(a) To coordinate and develop a comprehensive, balanced transportation policy for the State of Mississippi;

(b) To promote the coordinated and efficient use of all available and future modes of transportation;

(c) To make recommendations to the Legislature regarding alterations or modifications in any existing transportation policies;

(d) To study means of encouraging travel and transportation of goods by the combination of motor vehicle and other modes of transportation;

(e) To take such actions as are necessary and proper to discharge its duties pursuant to the provisions of Laws, 1992, Chapter 496, and any other provision of law;

(f) To receive and provide for the expenditure of any funds made available to it by the Legislature, the federal government, or any other source.

(2) In addition to the general powers, duties and responsibilities listed in subsection (1) of this section, the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * shall have the following specific powers:

(a) To make rules and regulations whereby the transportation department shall change or relocate any and all highways herein or hereafter fixed as constituting a part of the state highway system, as may be deemed necessary or economical in the construction or maintenance thereof; to acquire by gift, purchase, condemnation, or otherwise, land or other property whatsoever that may be necessary for a state highway system as herein provided, with full consideration to be given to the stimulation of local public and private investment when acquiring such property in the vicinity of Mississippi towns, cities and population centers;

(b) To enforce by mandamus, or other proper legal remedies, all legal rights or rights of action of the department with other public bodies, corporations or persons;

(c) To make and publish rules, regulations and ordinances for the control of and the policing of the traffic on the state highways, and to prevent their abuse by any or all persons, natural or artificial, by trucks, tractors, trailers or any other heavy or destructive vehicles or machines, or by any other means whatsoever, by establishing weights of loads or of vehicles, types of tires, width of tire surfaces, length and width of vehicles, with reasonable variations to meet approximate weather conditions, and all other proper police and protective regulations, and to provide ample means for the enforcement of same. The violation of any of the rules, regulations or ordinances so prescribed by the department shall constitute a misdemeanor. No rule, regulation or ordinance shall be made that conflicts with any statute now in force or which may hereafter be enacted, or with any ordinance of municipalities. A monthly publication giving general information to the boards of supervisors, employees and the public may be issued under such rules and regulations as the department may determine;

(d) To give suitable numbers to highways and to change the number of any highway that shall become a part of the state highway system. However, nothing herein shall authorize the number of any highway to be changed so as to conflict with any designation thereof as a United States numbered highway. Where, by a specific act of the Legislature, the department has been directed to give a certain number to a highway, the department shall not have the authority to change such number;

(e) To make proper and reasonable rules, regulations, and ordinances for the placing, erection, removal or relocation of telephone, telegraph or other poles, signboards, fences, gas, water, sewerage, oil or other pipelines, and other obstructions that may, in the opinion of the executive director, contribute to the hazards upon any of the state highways, or in any way interfere with the ordinary travel upon such highways, or the construction, reconstruction or maintenance thereof, and to make reasonable rules and regulations for the proper control thereof. Any violation of such rules or regulations or noncompliance with such ordinances shall constitute a misdemeanor.

Whenever the order of the department shall require the removal of, or other changes in the location of telephone, telegraph, or other poles, signboards, gas, water, sewerage, oil or other pipelines; or other similar obstructions on the right-of-way or such other places where removal is required by law, the owners thereof shall at their own expense move or change the same to conform to the order of the department. Any violation of such rules or regulations or noncompliance with such orders shall constitute a misdemeanor;

(f) To regulate and abandon grade crossings on any road fixed as a part of the state highway system, and whenever the department, in order to avoid a grade crossing with the railroad, locates or constructs said road on one side of the railroad, the department shall have the power to abandon and close such grade crossing, and whenever an underpass or overhead bridge is substituted for a grade crossing, the department shall have power to abandon such grade crossing and any other crossing adjacent thereto. Included in the powers herein granted shall be the power to require the railroad at grade crossings, where any road of the state highway system crosses the same, to place signal posts with lights or other warning devices at such crossings at the expense of the railroad, and to regulate and abandon underpass or overhead bridges and, where abandoned because of the construction of a new underpass or overhead bridge, to close such old underpass or overhead bridge, or, in its discretion, to return the same to the jurisdiction of the county board of supervisors;

(g) To make proper and reasonable rules and regulations to control the cutting or opening of the road surfaces for subsurface installations;

(h) To make proper and reasonable rules and regulations for the removal from the public rights-of-way of any form of obstruction, to cooperate in improving their appearance, and to prescribe minimum clearance heights for seed conveyors, pipes, passageways or other structure of private or other ownership above the highways;

(i) To establish, * * * maintain and operate, and to cooperate with the state educational institutions in establishing, enlarging, maintaining and operating a laboratory or laboratories for testing materials and for other proper highway purposes;

(j) To provide, under the direction and with the approval of the Department of Finance and Administration, suitable offices, shops and barns in the City of Jackson;

(k) To establish and have enforced set-back regulations;

(l) To cooperate with proper state authorities in producing limerock for highway purposes and to purchase same at cost;

(m) To provide for the purchase of necessary equipment and vehicles and to provide for the repair and housing of same, to acquire by gift, purchase, condemnation or otherwise, land or lands and buildings in fee simple, and to authorize the Transportation Department to construct, lease or otherwise provide necessary and proper permanent district offices for the construction and maintenance divisions of the department, and for the repair and housing of the equipment and vehicles of the department; however, in each Supreme Court district only two (2) permanent district offices shall be set up, but a permanent status shall not be given to any such offices until so provided by act of the Legislature and in the meantime, all shops of the department shall be retained at their present location. As many local or subdistrict offices, shops or barns may be provided as is essential and proper to economical maintenance of the state highway system;

(n) To cooperate with the Department of Archives and History in having placed and maintained suitable historical markers, including those which have been approved and purchased by the State Historical Commission, along state highways, and to have constructed and maintained roadside driveways for convenience and safety in viewing them when necessary; however, no highway or bridge shall ever be memorialized to a man while living;

(o) To cooperate, in its discretion, with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in planning and constructing roadside parks upon the right-of-way of state highways, whether constructed, under construction, or planned; said parks to utilize where practical barrow pits used in construction of state highways for use as fishing ponds. Said parks shall be named for abundant flora and fauna existing in the area or for the first flora or fauna found on the site;

(p) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, to make such contracts and execute such instruments containing such reasonable and necessary appropriate terms, provisions and conditions as in its absolute discretion it may deem necessary, proper or advisable, for the purpose of obtaining or securing financial assistance, grants or loans from the United States of America or any department or agency thereof, including contracts with several counties of the state pertaining to the expenditure of such funds;

(q) To cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration in the matter of location, construction and maintenance of the Great River Road, to expend such funds paid to the department by the Federal Highway Administration or other federal agency, and to * * * erect suitable signs marking this highway, the cost of such signs to be paid from state highway funds other than earmarked construction funds;

(r) To cooperate, in its discretion, with the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the School of Forestry, Mississippi State University, in a forestry management program, including planting, thinning, cutting and selling, upon the right-of-way of any highway, constructed, acquired or maintained by the Transportation Department, and to sell and dispose of any and all growing timber standing, lying or being on any right-of-way acquired by the department for highway purposes in the future; such sale or sales to be made in accordance with the sale of personal property which has become unnecessary for public use as provided for in Section 65-1-123, Mississippi Code of 1972;

(s) To expend funds in cooperation with the Division of Plant Industry, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the United States Government or any department or agency thereof, or with any department or agency of this state, to control, suppress or eradicate serious insect pests, rodents, plant parasites and plant diseases on the state highway rights-of-way;

(t) To provide for the placement, erection and maintenance of motorist services business signs and supports within state highway rights-of-way in accordance with current state and federal laws and regulations governing the placement of traffic control devices on state highways, and to establish and collect reasonable fees from the businesses having information on such signs;

(u) To request and to accept the use of persons convicted of an offense, whether a felony or a misdemeanor, for work on any road construction, repair or other project of the Transportation Department. The department also may request and * * * accept the use of persons who have not been convicted of an offense but who are required to fulfill certain court-imposed conditions pursuant to Section 41-29-150(d)(1) or 99-15-26, or the Pretrial Intervention Act, being Sections 99-15-101 through 99-15-127. The department may enter into any agreements with the Department of Corrections, the State Parole Board, any criminal court of this state, and any other proper official regarding the working, guarding, safekeeping, clothing and subsistence of such persons performing work for the Transportation Department. Such persons shall not be deemed agents, employees or involuntary servants of the Transportation Department while performing such work or while going to and from work or other specified areas;

(v) To provide for the administration of the railroad revitalization program pursuant to Section 57-43-1, et seq.;

(w)  * * * To expend funds for the purchase of service pins for employees of the Mississippi Transportation Department;

(x) To cooperate with the State Tax Commission by providing for weight enforcement field personnel to collect and assess taxes, fees and penalties and to perform all duties as required pursuant to Sections 27-19-1 et seq., 27-55-1 et seq., 27-57-301 et seq., 27-59-1 et seq. and 27-61-1 et seq., with regard to vehicles subject to the jurisdiction of the Office of Weight Enforcement. All collections and assessments shall be transferred daily to the State Tax Commission.

 * * *

SECTION 4. Section 65-1-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-9. The Governor shall appoint an Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation for a term of office beginning on April 1, 2000. The person serving as Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation on December 31, 1999, shall serve until April 1, 2000, as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and thereafter shall be eligible for reappointment to the position of Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Succeeding terms shall expire on April 1 each four (4) years thereafter. The executive director may be removed by the Governor pursuant to Section 25-9-101 et seq. All appointments by the Governor shall be with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor shall submit his appointment to the Senate not later than March 1 of the year in which a term expires, and if such submission is not made by March 1, the incumbent director shall be deemed to have been reappointed for a four-year term. In the event a vacancy occurs from resignation, death or removal from office by the Governor, the Governor shall submit his appointment for the unexpired term to the Senate not later than the next March 1 after such vacancy occurs.  * * * The executive director shall be eligible for reappointment. The executive director shall have the following qualifications:

(a) Possess a wide knowledge of the transportation system and needs of Mississippi;

(b) Possess a wide knowledge of the principles of transportation organization and administration; and

(c) Possess selected training or expertise in the field of transportation.

No person who * * * has been a member of the Transportation Commission * * * within two (2) years next preceding his appointment, shall be eligible to be chosen as executive director of the department. The executive director shall be the executive officer of the department and shall * * * give his entire time to the duties of his office. Before entering upon the duties of his office, the executive director shall give bond to the State of Mississippi in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned upon the faithful discharge and performance of his official duty. The principal and surety on such bond shall be liable thereunder to the state for double the amount of value of any money or property which the state may lose, if any, by reason of any wrongful or criminal act of the executive director. Such bond * * * shall be approved by and filed with the Secretary of State, and the premium thereon shall be paid from any funds available to the department.

SECTION 5. Section 65-1-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-10.  * * * The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation shall:

(a) Unless otherwise provided by law, appoint a director in charge of each operating office of the department who shall be responsible to the executive director for the operation of such office. Each such director shall be qualified and experienced in the functions performed by the office under his charge;

(b) Administer the policies promulgated by the department;

(c) Supervise and direct all administrative and technical activities of the department;

(d) Organize the offices and bureaus of the department;

(e) Coordinate the activities of the various offices of the department;

(f) Fix the compensation of employees of the department and require any employee to give bond to the State of Mississippi for the faithful performance of his duties in an amount the executive director deems appropriate. Premiums on all bonds so required shall be paid out of any funds available to the department;

(g) Recommend such studies and investigations as he may deem appropriate and carry out the approved recommendations in conjunction with the various offices;

(h) Prepare and deliver to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1 of each year, and at such other times as may be required by the Legislature or Governor, a full report of the work of the department and the offices thereof, including a detailed statement of expenditures of the department and any recommendations the department may have.

(i) Have full and general supervision over all matters relating to the construction or maintenance of the state highways, letting of contracts therefor, and the selection of materials to be used in the construction of state highways under the authority conferred by this chapter as herein set forth and the employment, promotion, demotion, reprimand, suspension, termination, reassignment, transfer, moving or relocation of all personnel not specifically authorized by statute to be employed by the department. The executive director may authorize the payment of expenses of any personnel reassigned, transferred, moved or relocated in accordance with such rules and regulations as are promulgated by the department;

(j) Approve all bids, sign all vouchers and requisitions, issue all orders for supplies and materials, sign all contracts and agreements in the name of the State of Mississippi, and subscribe to all other matters which may arise in the carrying out of the intent and purpose of this chapter;

(k) Receive and assume control, for the benefit of the state, of any and all highways herein or hereafter fixed as roads constituting a part of the state highway system;

(l) Provide for boulevard stops, restricted entrances to main highways and access driveways, neutral grounds, and roadside parks, erect all suitable direction and warning signs, and provide access roads in or to municipalities where necessary; provide limited access facilities when and where deemed necessary, such a facility being defined as a highway or street especially designed or designated for through traffic and over, from or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have only such limited right or easement of access as may be prescribed by the department, and provide that certain highways or streets may be parkways from which trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles shall be excluded or may be freeways open to customary forms of highway and street traffic and use, and such limited access facilities or parkways may be planned, designated, established, regulated, vacated, altered, improved, constructed and maintained and rights-of-way therefor specifically obtained, either by purchase, gift, condemnation or other form of acquisition;

(m) Construct bridges with or without footways, and sidewalks where deemed essential to decrease hazards;

(n) Perform services for the Department of Finance and Administration on state property, including, but not limited to, engineering services, and to advance such funds to defray the cost of the expenses incurred in performing such services from out of transportation department funds until such department is reimbursed by the Department of Finance and Administration;

(o) Perform all duties authorized by Section 27-19-136 concerning the assessment and collection of permit fees, fines and penalties.

SECTION 6. Section 65-1-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-11. The executive director * * * shall employ a chief engineer who shall be a registered civil engineer, a graduate of a recognized school of engineering, and who shall have had not less than five (5) years' actual professional experience in highway construction. The chief engineer shall also be deputy executive director of the transportation department and shall act as executive director in case of the illness or disability of the executive director or his absence from the state. The chief engineer while acting as executive director of the transportation department shall be invested with the same power and authority as the executive director himself. The chief engineer shall give bond in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) in some surety company authorized to do business in this state, which bond shall be conditioned upon the faithful performance and discharge of his duties. The principal and surety on such bond shall be liable thereunder to the State of Mississippi for double the amount of the value of any money or property which the state may lose, if any, by reason of any wrongful or criminal act of such engineer. The term of office of the chief engineer shall be for a period of four (4) years, unless sooner removed as hereinafter provided, and he shall be eligible for reappointment. The first term of office, however, shall extend from the date of appointment until the first Monday of January, 1952.

SECTION 7. Section 65-1-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-15. The executive director shall employ a secretary whose salary shall be fixed by the executive director, subject to approval by the State Personnel Board, and shall require the secretary to keep the proper minute books, order books and other proper books. The secretary shall be the custodian of all books, records or other papers of the department. All of such books, records and papers shall be public records and open to inspection by the public during business hours.  * * * The executive director and the secretary may make certified copies of any proceedings of the department, any of its books or papers, or extracts therefrom. Such copy shall bear the signature of the officer giving it and also the seal of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and such copies shall be admitted in evidence equally with the originals thereof in all courts of this state.  * * * The executive director may take and hear testimony. The seal shall be the coat of arms of the State of Mississippi, surrounded by the words "Mississippi Department of Transportation." In the event that the original seal should be stolen, lost or misplaced, the executive director shall have the power to secure a duplicate seal. The secretary shall be the custodian of the seal and shall do and perform all other things which may be properly required of him by the executive director. * * * He shall give bond in the sum of not less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned as required by law. Except for warrant requisitions drawn in accordance with the provisions of Section 65-1-115, all proceedings of the department shall be entered upon the minutes of the department in a minute book to be provided and kept for that purpose, which minutes shall be signed by the executive director or the deputy executive director and by the secretary. The pages of the minute book shall be numbered consecutively by the bookmaker. The secretary of the department shall be an ex officio notary public, authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgments in the same manner and to the same extent as any other duly appointed, qualified, commissioned and acting notary public, and the seal of the Transportation Department shall be his seal as such ex officio notary public. The bond premium of the secretary shall be paid from any funds available to the department.

SECTION 8. Section 65-1-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-23. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may erect and construct upon the land hereinafter described a testing laboratory, machine shops, and other necessary buildings, and to expend for such purpose an amount not to exceed Three Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000.00) out of any funds which may be available for such purpose in the State Highway Fund.

The Department of Finance and Administration shall select a suitable tract of land, ten (10) acres in area, from any state-owned lands located in or near the City of Jackson, Mississippi, and not now being used for public purposes. The laboratory shops and other buildings specified in this section shall be erected on the land so selected, which said land is hereby set aside and allocated to the Transportation Department for the purposes herein specified.

SECTION 9. Section 65-1-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-25. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may enter into or ratify agreements with the transportation departments of the adjoining states for the construction or maintenance, or both, of connections on any part of the interstate highway system, state designated highway system or state aid road system at or near the boundaries of the State of Mississippi, the cost of such construction and maintenance to be apportioned between the states according to the benefits to be derived by each of the states as determined by such agreements.

The powers conferred by this section are supplemental to any other powers of the department as otherwise provided by law.

SECTION 10. Section 65-1-27, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-27. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may enter into or ratify cooperative agreements with the various counties and municipalities in any county through which any of the highways on the interstate highway system, the state designated highway system or the state aid road system may traverse for the construction or maintenance, or both, of connections between such systems and county roads or streets of the municipalities, or interconnections between such systems, the cost of the construction and maintenance of such connections to be apportioned between the Transportation Department and the county or municipality according to the benefits to be derived by each as determined by such agreement or agreements.

The powers conferred by this section are supplemental to the powers of the department as otherwise provided by law.

SECTION 11. Section 65-1-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-29. The authority granted the Mississippi Department of Transportation under provisions of this chapter, shall include the right to enter into agreements with the United States Government, or any agency thereof, for the alteration, relocation, reconstruction, or abandonment of state highways or any portion thereof, and conveyance of whatever rights and interests the state owns in property acquired for the purposes of said statutes, or any portion or interest thereof, where the same are necessary for the construction of flood control, navigation, drainage, or National Aeronautics and Space Agency projects approved and adopted by the United States Government or any agency thereof.

Upon proper authorization by the executive director, the Mississippi Department of Transportation may execute a quitclaim deed selling and conveying the above rights and interests. Said deed shall be delivered to the purchaser upon the payment of the consideration agreed upon, and such consideration shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the State Highway Fund.

Such agreements and conveyances shall be upon a consideration deemed reasonable by the executive director and the agency of the United States Government affected, provided that no part of this section is intended to alter or change in any way the existing immunity from certain actions of the state or the United States.

The consideration above shall include the expense of creating and maintaining any necessary detours, and the same shall be created and maintained as provided in the above mentioned agreement.

SECTION 12. Section 65-1-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-31. Whereas, the public convenience requires that certain roads located on levees or within the boundaries of flood control districts created and presently maintained by the federal government, or other governmental authorities, be taken over temporarily by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and whereas, the public purpose for which said flood control districts were established requires that such roads be limited to certain widths and restrictions in the public interest, it is the sense of the Legislature that the Transportation Department should be authorized to take over and maintain such roads as temporary state highways, subject to the restrictions imposed -y the governmental authorities establishing such flood control districts.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation, therefore, is hereby authorized to take over and maintain as temporary state highways, for such period and under such terms and conditions as the department may in its discretion prescribe any road designated by the Legislature as a state highway and located on the levee of a flood control district, and in so doing shall not be required to obtain a right-of-way of more than thirty (30) feet on such type of road, may permit the use of cattle gaps and fencing thereon, and may accept from the federal authorities or other governmental unit having jurisdiction over such flood control district an easement for said road.

The purpose of this section is to enable the state to take over temporarily for maintenance roads designated as state highways located on levees and with less than sixty (60) feet right-of-way.

SECTION 13. Section 65-1-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-33. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may take over, maintain, and operate, as a part of the state highway system under its jurisdiction, any ferry now owned by and operated by, for, or under the authority of any county, county district, or municipality in this state where such ferry is located upon, or is a necessary link of, any designated state highway being maintained by the department, if such county, county district, or municipality will transfer to said department all property, real and personal, used by it in the operation of such ferry. In event any such ferries be so taken over by the department, no toll or fee shall be charged for the use thereof by the public, and all costs of operation and maintenance shall be paid out of the State Highway Maintenance Fund.

Any county, county district, or municipality in this state now owning a ferry which the Transportation Department may desire to take over under the provisions of this section is hereby authorized to transfer to the Transportation Department any and all property, real and personal, used by it in the operation of such ferry, without further consideration than the acceptance of the same for public use, pursuant to an order of its governing authority. Any such property so taken over by the department which may thereafter become unnecessary to the maintenance of traffic over the highway may be disposed of by the department, in its discretion, and the proceeds paid into the State Highway Maintenance Fund.

SECTION 14. Section 65-1-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-35. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall take over for maintenance and construction, with its own funds, any road formerly maintained as a part of the state highway system leading to an air base, which air base is to be reactivated.

SECTION 15. Section 65-1-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-37. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may construct, repair and maintain the driveways and streets on the grounds of the universities and colleges under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning, state, and/or county supported junior/community colleges, the state hospitals, and institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trustees of Mental Institutions, the Board of Trustees of the Columbia Training School and Oakley Training School, * * * the Mississippi Schools for the Deaf and Blind, and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in the manner provided herein, including bypasses to connect said driveways and streets with roads on the state highway system, and the main thoroughfare running east and west through the grounds of the Mississippi Penitentiary, provided said institutions obtain the necessary rights-of-way, said institutions being hereby authorized so to do.

The Transportation Department and the governing boards of said institutions shall enter into an agreement prior to undertaking any of the work mentioned in the first paragraph of this section, and said agreement shall be based on the Transportation Department's furnishing equipment, equipment operators, skilled labor, supervision, and engineering services, and the governing bodies of the aforementioned institutions shall furnish material, supplies and common labor. This agreement shall further provide for reimbursement of the Mississippi * * * Department of Transportation, in full, for the expenditures incurred in the construction, repair and maintenance of driveways and streets at the institutions hereinabove mentioned, such reimbursement to be made directly to the Transportation Department from the institutions. Upon the execution of an agreement as set out herein, the Transportation Department may provide all the necessary engineering, supervision, skilled labor, equipment, and equipment operators to perform such work.

SECTION 16. Section 65-1-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-39. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may take over, assume jurisdiction of, maintain, repair, and improve the public highways under the jurisdiction of the Department of Highways of the State of Louisiana on Australia Island, and to enter into such agreements with the Department of Highways of the State of Louisiana as the Mississippi Department of Transportation shall deem necessary, proper, and advisable, provided that the Mississippi Department of Transportation is reimbursed for the expenditures incurred in the maintenance, repair, and improvement of said roads.

The powers conferred by this section are supplementary to the powers of the Transportation Department as otherwise provided by law and are not intended in anywise to conflict with the same.

SECTION 17. Section 65-1-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-41. The Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development is hereby authorized and directed to select and designate certain links of roads or highways to connect any and all approved, acceptable and selected industrial sites that may be located at any point not now accessible to adequate highways and road facilities, and shall issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to the effect that such designated and selected link of highway or road should be constructed in order to encourage and promote the industrial development of any port or harbor area or other industrial site, and shall immediately file such certificate of public convenience and necessity with the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. However, the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development shall not select and designate any such link of road or highway until such time as the department shall have satisfactory evidence that an industry desires and intends to locate on such site, and that the location of such industry and the construction of such road or highway is economically feasible. Construction of any such road shall not begin until the location and construction of such industry is assured and contracts made between the industry and the local authority.

When a certificate of public convenience and necessity has been filed with the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation as herein required, the executive director shall proceed to locate, survey and have constructed such link or highway or public road in such quality and standards as may be found to adequately serve such proposed industry.

The Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development shall not select or designate any link of public road or highway more than ten (10) miles long to connect any industrial site, harbor or port facility with any existing public road or highway, nor shall such board designate or select any link or links of road in an excess of a total of two hundred (200) miles of highways or public roads.

Any highway or public road selected, designated and constructed under the provisions of this section shall be constructed from the highway fund within which highway district such highway or road has been selected, designated and constructed.

The provisions of this section shall not be construed to alter, change or amend any other statutes of the State of Mississippi designating highways, state-aid roads or other public roads, and any limitations placed upon the total miles of such highways, state-aid roads, or public roads shall not be affected by the provisions of this section.

SECTION 18. Section 65-1-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-43. When it is deemed feasible and advisable to promote the tourist industry of the State of Mississippi by providing more attractions as would be available in development of offshore islands, the Mississippi Department of Transportation may make costs and feasibility surveys for toll highways and bridges to offshore islands.

The department may employ expert engineering and economic assistance for such surveys when it is deemed advisable by the executive director. The department is limited to a maximum amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section.

In the event that any bonds are issued as a result of the feasibility surveys authorized under the provisions of this section, the department shall be reimbursed for all of the expenditures authorized herein, and said expenditures shall be paid from the first proceeds of any bond issue herein.

SECTION 19. Section 65-1-45, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-45. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may restrict or prohibit the use of any state highway or bridge or to reduce the allowable weight permitted on any state highway or bridge when, due to any special weather or other hazard, such highways or bridges have been weakened or when such highways have substandard surfacing or weak bridges due to any cause. Likewise, the board of supervisors of any county shall have the same regulatory powers as granted the * * * department in this section. It shall be the duty of the department and the boards of supervisors of the counties to post sufficient warning on any highway or bridge restricted in any manner, so that such restriction may be understood by the operator of any vehicle. Any person who shall operate a vehicle on any highway, road, or bridge when such highway, road, or bridge is under restriction, in violation of such restriction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of Section 63-9-11, providing for the punishment of misdemeanors.

SECTION 20. Section 65-1-46, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-46. (1) There is created an Appeals Board of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. If any person feels aggrieved by a penalty for excess weight assessed against him by an agent or employee of the Mississippi Department of Transportation pursuant to Section 27-19-89, he may apply to the appeals board.

(2) The members serving on the appeals board on April 7, 1995, shall continue to serve until July 1, 1995. On July 1, 1995, the appeals board shall be reconstituted to be composed of five (5) qualified people. The initial appointments to the reconstituted board shall be made no later than June 30, 1995, for terms to begin July 1, 1995, as follows: One (1) member shall be appointed by the Governor for a term ending on June 30, 1996, one (1) member shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor for a term ending on June 30, 1997, one (1) member shall be appointed by the Attorney General for a term ending on June 30, 1998, one (1) member shall be appointed by the Chairman of the State Tax Commission for a term ending on June 30, 1999, and one (1) member shall be appointed by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation for a term ending on June 30, 2000. After the expiration of the initial terms of the members of the reconstituted board, all subsequent appointments shall be made for terms of four (4) years from the expiration date of the previous term. Any member serving on the appeals board before July 1, 1995, may be reappointed to the reconstituted appeals board. Appointments to the board shall be with the advice and consent of the Senate; however, the advice and consent of the Senate shall not be required for the appointment of a person to the reconstituted appeals board for a term beginning on July 1, 1995, if such person was serving as a member of the appeals board on June 30, 1995, and such person received the advice and consent of the Senate for that appointment.

(3) There shall be a chairman and vice chairman of the board who shall be elected by and from the membership of the board. Any member who fails to attend three (3) consecutive regular meetings of the board shall be subject to removal by a majority vote of the board. A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum. The chairman, or a majority of the members of the board, may call meetings as may be required for the proper discharge of the board's duties. Members of the board, except a member who is an officer or employee of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, shall receive per diem in the amount authorized by Section 25-3-69, for each day spent in the actual discharge of their duties and shall be reimbursed for mileage and actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with the provisions of Section 25-3-41.

Application shall be made by petition in writing, within thirty (30) days after assessment of the penalty, for a hearing and a review of the amount of the assessment. At the hearing the appeals board shall try the issues presented according to the law and the facts and within guidelines set by the Transportation Department. Upon due consideration of all the facts relating to the assessment of the penalty, the appeals board, except as otherwise provided under this section or under Section 27-19-89, may require payment of the full amount of the assessment, may reduce the amount of the assessment or may dismiss imposition of the penalty entirely. The appeals board shall dismiss in its entirety the imposition of any penalty imposed against the holder of a harvest permit if the permittee proves to the appeals board, by clear and convincing evidence, that the average load transported by the permittee during the permittee's last five (5) haul days immediately preceding the day upon which the penalty appealed from was assessed did not exceed eighty thousand (80,000) pounds. The appeals board shall reduce the penalty assessed against the holder of a harvest permit to a maximum of Two Cents (2) per pound of overweight if the permittee proves to the appeals board, by clear and convincing evidence, that the average load transported by the permittee during the permittee's last five (5) haul days immediately preceding the day upon which the penalty appealed from was assessed exceeded seventy-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine (79,999) pounds but did not exceed eighty-four thousand (84,000) pounds. The board shall make such orders in the matter as appear to it just and lawful and shall furnish copies thereof to the petitioner. If the appeals board orders the payment of the penalty, the petitioner shall pay the penalty, damages and interest, if any, within ten (10) days after the order is issued unless there is an application for appeal from the decision of the board as provided in the succeeding paragraph. Interest shall accrue on the penalty at the rate of one percent (1%) per month, or part of a month, beginning immediately after the expiration of the ten-day period.

If any person feels aggrieved by the decision of the appeals board, he may appeal the decision to the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County.

SECTION 21. Section 65-1-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-47. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall have complete authority to issue rules, regulations and orders under which the * * * department shall have control and supervision, with full power and authority under rules, regulations and orders issued by the department, to locate, relocate, widen, alter, change, straighten, construct or reconstruct any and all roads on the state highway system heretofore or hereafter taken over by it for maintenance as a part of such system, and shall have full and complete authority for regulating the making of all contracts, surveys, plans, specifications and estimates for the location, laying out, widening, straightening, altering, changing, constructing, reconstructing and maintaining of and the securing of rights-of-way for any and all such highways, and to authorize the employees of the * * * department to enter upon private property for such purposes.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation, under the rules, regulations and orders spread upon the minutes of the department, may obtain and pay for the rights-of-way of such width as it may determine to be necessary for such highway or for any alteration or change therein or relocation thereof by agreement with the owners of such lands. Rights-of-way of not less than sixty (60) feet wide shall be acquired except within the boundaries of towns and cities where unusual conditions exist, in which case the department may obtain and pay for such rights-of-way of such width as it may determine to be necessary. The department may have condemned any and all land or other property needed for such purposes or either of them; may have condemned or acquired by gift or purchase lands containing road building materials and develop and operate pits, mines or other properties for the purpose of obtaining road material; and have condemned or acquired by gift or purchase lands necessary for the safety and convenience of traffic.

The department, in case an agreement cannot be reached with the owners of land containing road building materials or of any additional land necessary for widening any existing public highways, for laying out a new public highway, or for changing the route of an existing public highway, as provided in the foregoing part of this section, shall be authorized to have condemned any land needed for either of said purposes, as is fully set forth in this section. The proceedings to acquire such lands by a condemnation shall be in conformity with the statutes on the subject of "eminent domain," the power of eminent domain being hereby expressly conferred upon the department for such purposes. Such proceedings shall take precedence over all other causes not involving the public interest in all courts and shall be given preference to the end that construction and reconstruction of highways hereunder may not be unreasonably delayed. The amount of such compensation and damages, if any, awarded to the owner in such proceedings shall be paid out of the State Highway Fund. The authorities constructing such highway, under the authority as provided in this section, shall use diligence to protect growing crops and pastures and to prevent damage to any property not taken. So far as possible, all rights-of-way shall be acquired or contracted for before any construction contract work order is issued.

The estate which the Transportation Department may acquire by deed or condemnation as set forth above shall include all rights, title and interest in and to the lands or property being acquired, excepting and excluding all the oil and gas therein or thereunder and such other rights, title or interest which are expressly excepted and reserved to the property owner, his successors, heirs or assigns in the deed or condemnation petition by which the property is acquired. Any property interest acquired may be in unlimited vertical dimension. The department shall decide what right, title and interest are necessary for highway purposes on each particular project and may, by order on its minutes, authorize its agents to expressly except all or any others.

SECTION 22. Section 65-1-49, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-49. The conveyance or assignment of easements for highway purposes may be made by the owner thereof to the Mississippi Department of Transportation or the board of supervisors of any county for highway purposes. All actions by any person owning any interest in the land involved in such conveyance or assignment accruing as a result thereof must be brought within three (3) years after the date of such conveyance or assignment; provided, however, that the land involved is actually used for highway purposes or notice is posted thereon that it will be used for highway purposes within said three-year period, otherwise said period shall be six (6) years from the date of such conveyance or assignment.

The procedure provided hereby with reference to the conveyance or assignment of easements is supplemental to all rights and powers now authorized for and existing under the present law in the department and boards, and is not intended as a limitation on same in any manner.

SECTION 23. Section 65-1-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-51. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may acquire by gift, purchase, or otherwise, * * * and may improve and maintain strips of land necessary for the restoration, preservation and enhancement of scenic beauty adjacent to the state highway rights-of-way. The department may acquire and * * * develop publicly owned and controlled rest and recreation areas and sanitary and other facilities within or adjacent to the highway right-of-way reasonably necessary to accommodate the traveling public.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation may acquire by gift, purchase, or otherwise, including the exercise of eminent domain, public or privately owned wetlands and other lands suitable for creation as wetlands for the purpose of mitigating wetland losses and replacing those wetlands purchased and damaged or eliminated by development and use, on a basis not to exceed that required by the Federal Highway Administration as a condition for receiving federal aid funds, provided that some governmental agency agrees, without compensation, to accept title to the lands acquired and maintain such lands as wetlands in perpetuity. However, the department shall replace those coastal wetlands purchased and damaged or eliminated by development and use on the basis required by the "Coastal Wetlands Protection Law" and regulations promulgated thereunder by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

SECTION 24. Section 65-1-57, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-57. It shall be the duty of the Transportation Department to issue rules and regulations for the construction of all secondary roads, when taken over for construction and maintenance, up to such standard of specifications and with such surfacing material as the department may determine from a traffic census of the use and importance thereof as would be justified from a standpoint of economy and convenience to the traveling public. To this end the department, in dealing with said secondary roads, may place surfacing material on said secondary roads. All secondary roads shall be constructed and maintained with a view of being eventually hard surfaced as provided for primary roads.

SECTION 25. Section 65-1-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-59. (1) It shall be the duty of the Mississippi Department of Transportation to carry out all contracts and agreements, including federal-aid projects and agreements under the County Highway Aid Law of 1946, being Sections 65-11-1 to 65-11-37, heretofore made or entered into with any county, subject, however, to applicable rules and regulations of the Federal Highway Administration. It shall be the duty of the Mississippi Department of Transportation to maintain all state highways now under maintenance or hereafter taken over for maintenance, the purpose of this provision being to preserve the status quo of all state highways insofar as such highways have been taken over and control and jurisdiction has been assumed by the Transportation Department; however, except as otherwise provided in this section, if any highway or link of highway is removed from the state highway system by legislative act or by relocation or reconstruction, it shall no longer be maintained by or be under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department, but shall be returned to the jurisdiction of the board of supervisors of the county or governing authorities of the municipality through which such road runs. Except as to segments of highways shorter than three (3) miles which have been or which are hereafter replaced through curve straightening or minor realignment, the Transportation Department shall retain and maintain as state highways all portions of United States highways that either before or after July 1, 1989, have been or are replaced and constructed as a part of the interstate highway system, or four-lane primary system, or which are replaced and constructed or are designated to be replaced and constructed as part of the four-lane highway system under Section 65-3-97, including portions of all such highways so replaced, or which under Section 65-3-97 are designated to be replaced, by municipal bypasses; and such highways and portions thereof shall be continued to be maintained as a part of the Mississippi state highway system until removed from such system by legislative act. All such highways and portions thereof which, by virtue of the provisions of this section, are returned on or after July 1, 1989, to the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department shall be maintained by the * * * department only to the traffic capacities existing at the time that they are returned and any subsequent traffic capacity improvements or other improvements desired by the county or municipality within which such highway or portion thereof is located shall be performed in accordance with highway standards approved by the department and the expenses for making such improvements shall be paid by the county or municipality; however, all highways and portions thereof so improved by the county or municipality shall thereafter be maintained by the Transportation Department. Before any highway or portion thereof is returned to the department under this section, the county or municipality having jurisdiction thereof shall remove or cause to be removed by July 1, 1991, all right-of-way encroachments along the entire length of the highway or portion thereof which are not permitted by * * * department policies and rules and regulations adopted pursuant to state and federal law. Any such encroachments may be allowed to remain only by permits issued by the Transportation Department in the manner and subject to the same conditions for the issuance of permits for similar encroachments on other highways on the state highway system. If traffic counts indicate that any highway or portions thereof placed under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department under the provisions of this section no longer form a substantial part of the state highway system, the department may request the Legislature to remove such highways or portions thereof from the state highway system and return said roads for maintenance to the county or municipality in which they are located, as provided in subsection (2) of this section. The highways which the * * * department is required to continue to maintain by virtue of the provisions of this section shall be in addition to the total mileage limitation of eight thousand six hundred (8,600) miles provided in Section 65-3-3.

(2) The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall, no later than October 1, 1981, and October 1 each year thereafter, furnish the Transportation Committee of the House of Representatives and the Highways and Transportation Committee of the Senate a recommendation for deletion of those highways or sections of highways which should be removed from the system.

SECTION 26. Section 65-1-61, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-61.  * * * The Department of Transportation shall construct, reconstruct and maintain, at the cost and expense of the state, all highways under its jurisdiction up to such standards and specifications and with such surfacing material as the department may determine, such paving to be done for each project as rapidly as funds are made available therefor and, as nearly as practicable, immediately upon the completion of all work performed pursuant to grade, drainage and bridge contracts for the project. Such paving shall be done in the order of the relative use and importance of said highways, as may be determined by the present and future traffic censuses thereof and other criteria, taking into consideration their present and future use, convenience, public necessity, public safety, the recorded maintenance expense, and their availability as highways through the state. The type of the paving and surfacing of such highways shall be determined by the executive director, subject to the rules, regulations and orders of the department as spread on its minutes, after a complete study of the traffic requirements based upon the present and future traffic censuses, taking into consideration the factors above set forth. However, no highways shall be constructed, reconstructed, or maintained out of any patented paving material, regardless of what kind, on which a direct royalty is paid by the department or any contractor; and the commission shall not have included in the plans or specifications for constructing, reconstructing, or maintenance of any highway the requirements that any material used or specified shall be laid under any process patented requiring the payment of a direct royalty for use of such process or patent.

SECTION 27. Section 65-1-63, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-63. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall construct, with its own funds, into each county seat in the State of Mississippi which now has no paved access road, a paved road which will connect said county seat with an existing paved road.

SECTION 28. Section 65-1-65, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-65. It shall be the duty of the Mississippi Department of Transportation to maintain all highways which have been or which may be hereafter taken over by the * * * department for maintenance in such a way as to afford convenient, comfortable, and economic use thereof by the public at all times. To this end it shall be the duty of the executive director, subject to the rules, regulations and orders of the department as spread on its minutes, to organize an adequate and continuous patrol for the maintenance, repair, and inspection of all of the state-maintained state highway system, so that said highways may be kept under proper maintenance and repair at all times.

SECTION 29. Section 65-1-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-67. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall trim with edge lines, of a color and in a manner which conforms with uniform national standards relating thereto which have been adopted by the Federal Highway Administration, the edges of all state-designated hard-surfaced highways which are constructed of asphaltic material, in the interest of public safety on said highways. The department shall utilize its engineers and other Transportation Department employees and to expend available public funds for carrying out the intent and purposes of this section.

Except as necessary to accommodate reconstruction, no road or highway shall be opened for public use until the department has complied with the provisions of this section; however, the Executive Director of the Transportation Department may permit segments of roads under contract for maintenance, construction or reconstruction to be open for public use when temporary center line markings are installed. Roadside pennant signs may be used in place of temporary center line markings in no passing lanes on seal-coated roads. All such temporary center lines or roadside pennant signs shall, as nearly as practicable, be in place before work is discontinued for the day or as soon thereafter as weather conditions permit.

SECTION 30. Section 65-1-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-69. Whenever any railroad and state highway or part thereof shall cross each other at the same level and, in the opinion of the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, such crossing is dangerous to public safety or traffic is unreasonably impeded thereby and such crossing should be removed, the executive director may order such crossing eliminated either by having the * * * department carry such state highway under or over the tracks of such railroad.

The plans covering such proposed changes may be made either by the executive director of the * * * department, * * * or by the railroad company affected, but shall in either event be approved by both the Transportation Department and the railroad company before contract is awarded; but such provision shall not be used to unreasonably delay the construction of any proposed structure. When plans have been approved, such proposed work shall be advertised and contract awarded as elsewhere provided in this chapter for the advertising and awarding of contracts. Joint supervision of construction may be had by both the Transportation Department and the railroad company. The department and the railroad company shall pay equal parts of the cost of any underpass or overpass across the right-of-way of the railroad company. Such work shall be so planned and prosecuted as to allow the safe and regular operations of trains at every stage of the work.

Appeals from decisions or determinations of the executive director may be made by any party affected under this section, and the procedure for such appeal shall be the same as is provided by law for appeals from decisions and determinations of the boards of supervisors.

SECTION 31. Section 65-1-70.5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-70.5. The provisions of Section 65-1-70 shall not impute any liability of any kind or nature to the Mississippi * * * Department of Transportation or its agents, servants or employees.

SECTION 32. Section 65-1-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-73. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may repair any paved city streets used as a detour subsequent to the year 1944 for any United States numbered highway while the same was under construction or reconstruction, provided such paved city streets were marked by the department as such detour. The extent of the repairs authorized hereby shall be to place such streets in as good condition as the same were at the time their use as such detour began, and is supplemental to the authority provided by Section 65-1-71.

SECTION 33. Section 65-1-75, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-75. (1) The Mississippi Department of Transportation may locate, construct, reconstruct and maintain any designated state highway under its jurisdiction to, through, across or around any municipality in the state, regardless of the width of the street between curbs; and in so locating it is fully empowered to follow the route of the existing street or to depart therefrom, as in its discretion it deems advisable, and to obtain and pay for the necessary rights-of-way, as provided in Section 65-1-47. The municipality in which such construction is to be undertaken is likewise authorized to acquire rights-of-way on any such streets or on any newly located routes, either by purchase, gift or condemnation. Such rights-of-way may be acquired by either the municipality or the transportation department, * * * and the cost thereof may be borne by either or both as may be mutually agreed upon. In any event such municipality may be required to save the Transportation Department harmless from any claims for damages arising from the construction of the highway through such municipality, including claims for rights-of-way, change of grade line, interference with public structures, and any and all damages so arising. Municipalities may secure additional improvements by payment of the additional cost of same. The department may require such municipality to cause to be laid all water, sewer, gas or other pipelines or conduits, together with all necessary house or lot connections or services, to the curb line of such road or street to be constructed, and the department may refuse to * * * lay such pipelines or conduits beneath such roads or streets until the municipality has laid same or entered into an agreement to reimburse the * * * department for the expense thereby incurred.

(2) All construction of state highways in or through municipalities, where done at the cost and expense of the state, whether heretofore or hereafter, shall be maintained in the same manner and to the same extent as is construction on state highways outside the limits of municipalities to the end that investment of the state in such highway so constructed may be preserved and maintained; and all reasonable rules and regulations with reference to the preservation and maintenance of such highways constructed at state expense, whether within or without municipal limits, may be promulgated by the Transportation Department, except that it shall have no power to promulgate police regulations contrary to existing law. On any municipal streets or parts or sections thereof taken over for regular maintenance and maintained by the department as a part of the state highway system, the municipality shall not be liable for negligence occasioned by the maintenance or repair of such streets thus apportioned to and of such width as is maintained by the department. The municipality shall have full control and responsibility beyond the curb lines of any designated highway or street, whether heretofore or hereafter so designated, (except the interstate system) located within its present or future expanded municipal corporate limits, regardless of the ownership of the right-of-way, including but not limited to, the construction and maintenance of sidewalks, grass mowing and drainage systems; however, the department may utilize the right-of-way purchased by the department without any additional cost or permission.

The municipality shall not allow any encroachments, signs or billboards to be erected or to remain on state-owned rights-of-way on any designated highway within its corporate limits without the consent of the Transportation Department. The municipality, at its own expense, shall provide street illumination and shall clean all streets, including storm sewer inlets and catch basins. The department may enter into an agreement with the municipality or with a private entity to sweep and clean the designated highways within or without the corporate limits. The department may, at state expense, provide illumination and may clean all interstate highways within the corporate limits of any municipality. The right of the municipality to grant franchises over, beneath and upon such streets is specifically retained, but the municipality shall require every grantee of a franchise to restore, repair and replace to its original condition any portion of any such street damaged or injured by it; however, permission to open the surface of any municipal street maintained by the department must be obtained from both the department and the municipality concerned before any such opening is made. Each municipality shall retain full police power over its streets, particularly as to regulating and enforcing traffic and parking restrictions on such streets, but any traffic control and parking regulations repugnant to state law shall be null and void. The * * * department shall erect, control and maintain all highway route markers and directional signs on such streets at state expense. The department, at state expense, shall * * * install, operate, maintain, control, and have full jurisdiction over, all traffic control devices, including, but not limited to, signals, signs, striping and lane markings on state highway streets in municipalities having a population of twenty thousand (20,000) or less according to the current U.S. census; but municipalities over twenty thousand (20,000) population according to such census shall install, operate, maintain and control such devices at their own expense, subject to approval of the executive director regarding operations, method of installation and type only. Municipalities having a population of five thousand (5,000) or more but less than twenty thousand (20,000) according to the most recent federal census shall only be responsible for electrical operating costs; and all other costs for the installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices, including the changing of signal bulbs in traffic signal lights, shall be the responsibility of the transportation department. The department may purchase at state expense and install traffic control devices in municipalities over twenty thousand (20,000) population and donate them to the municipalities for operation and maintenance whenever it appears to the department that, in the interest of safety or convenience of the motoring public, any of the devices should be upgraded, replaced or removed.  Any revenue from parking meters on any such streets shall be controlled by and belong to the municipality.

(3) The maintenance of all streets within the limits of any municipality in this state, regardless of size, which are presently being regularly maintained, in whole or in part, by the department at state expense as a part or parts of any designated state highway shall be continued. Whenever any state highway runs into or through the corporate limits of any municipality, the municipal street or the street utilized and marked as a part of any such state highway may be a part of the state highway system and may be maintained by the department; however, such route through any municipality shall be selected by the department by orders spread on its minutes describing all such routes, and such route or routes may be changed, relocated or abandoned by the department from time to time, all under the provisions, terms and conditions herein provided, but the * * * department may maintain only one (1) route of any highway through a municipality. Upon relocation of such state highway or abandonment thereof, the municipal street formerly used as a state highway shall thereby return to the jurisdiction of, and maintenance by, the municipality.

SECTION 34. Section 65-1-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-77. The Mississippi Department of Transportation and the counties and municipalities of the state are hereby authorized to enter into agreements for highway and street projects which are a part of an overall plan to be administered under the provisions of Title 23, United States Code. Such agreements may provide for traffic engineering assistance to the local governments for the development by the * * * department of records systems for local roads and streets. The counties and municipalities of the state are authorized to deposit with the Transportation Department the federal aid matching requirement for the project from any available fund. The county and/or municipal share and the federal share will be handled in the manner provided therefor in Section 65-9-17. The county will be required to fulfill its obligation for maintenance of any project constructed under this authorization in the same manner required of or for any state aid road. It shall be the duty of the municipal officials of any incorporated city entering into this agreement to properly maintain and operate any completed project or improvement on the municipal street system. It shall be the duty of the Chief Engineer of the Transportation Department and his assistants to make at least annual maintenance inspections of completed projects and such other periodic inspections as he shall deem necessary. If essential maintenance is not properly and regularly done in the opinion of the chief engineer, then notice shall be given by the executive director of the * * * department in writing to the county or municipality in fault; and, if such maintenance is not done and continued within sixty (60) days from the date of such notice, then the executive director of the * * * department may proceed to have done the necessary maintenance and repair work on such street and have the cost of same credited to the State Highway Fund from any fund available to the county or municipality within the State Treasury.

SECTION 35. Section 65-1-79, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-79. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may enter into agreements with the United States of America for the purpose of securing federal aid funds when available under the provisions of Title 23, United States Code. The federal aid received under this authorization may be used on roads and streets, either on or off the designated highway system or designated state aid system. The department may approve the system of roads and streets when the approval of such system(s) establishes the eligibility for these roads and streets for federally funded projects when the necessary matching requirement of the federal aid is supplied by the political subdivision wherein the system or project lies. The department also may determine the priority of the expenditure of these funds and to approve the priority of improvements financed as a result of such authorization.

SECTION 36. Section 65-1-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-81. (1) Any municipality in the State of Mississippi, into or through which a designated state highway runs or is proposed to be run by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, may, within the discretion of its governing authorities, contribute funds to the Transportation Department for the purpose of aiding in the building or construction of such highway, including the construction of necessary bridges, in an amount to be determined by agreement in writing between the Transportation Department and the governing authority of such municipality and entered in their respective minutes; but in no event shall such contribution exceed one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) of the total assessed valuation of such municipality, according to the last completed assessment roll of the taxable property therein.

(2) Any county within the State of Mississippi, into or through which a designated state highway runs or is proposed to be run by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, whether within or without a municipality, may, within the discretion of its board of supervisors, contribute funds to the Transportation Department for the purpose of aiding in the building or construction of such highway, including the construction of necessary bridges, in an amount to be determined by agreement in writing between the department and the board of supervisors of such county and entered in their respective minutes; but in no event shall such contribution exceed one-fifth of one percent (1/5 of 1%) of the total assessed valuation of such county, according to the last completed assessment roll of the taxable property therein.

(3) Any municipality or county, exercising any of the powers granted herein, is hereby authorized and empowered to issue general obligation bonds to provide funds for the aforesaid purpose. Any municipality issuing such bonds shall proceed in compliance with the provisions of Sections 21-33-301 through 21-33-329, and any county issuing such bonds shall proceed in compliance with the provisions of Sections 19-9-1 through 19-9-31, and all such bonds shall be sold in the manner provided by Section 31-19-25. However, where a municipality and county jointly obligate themselves to make contributions to the Transportation Department, as provided herein, such municipality and such county may enter into an agreement to be spread on the minutes of the board of supervisors of such county and the minutes of the governing authority of such municipality, under which the municipality may issue bonds to raise funds for both the municipality and county, or the county may issue bonds to raise funds for both the county and municipality. Any such agreement may provide that in lieu of issuing its bonds hereunder, the municipality or the county, as the case may be, may contribute money to the other annually or semiannually in such amount and for such period of time as may be agreed upon by the two (2) governing authorities, for the purpose of retiring its portion of the bonds issued by the other; and the obligation assumed by the nonissuing authority may be pledged in addition to the full faith, credit, and resources of the issuing authority for the payment of such bonds as they mature and the interest thereon as it may accrue. Both the municipality and the county, by their respective governing authorities, are hereby authorized and empowered to levy and collect the necessary ad valorem taxes on all taxable property within their respective jurisdictions sufficient to retire such bonds, or to provide funds to contribute to the other authority, as required by the aforesaid agreement; when any county shall be required to make a contribution to a municipality under the terms of this section, such contribution may be made from the proceeds of a tax to be levied pursuant to the provisions of Section 65-15-7, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended, or from any source or sources available to such county. In the event that the required funds or any part thereof are thus provided, the annual ad valorem tax hereinabove provided for may be correspondingly reduced. Any bonds issued by any municipality or any county under the terms and provisions of this section, or any pledge of contributions made by any county or municipality, shall be excepted from all limitations of indebtedness prescribed by any general or special law and shall not be considered in applying any present or future limitations of indebtedness. This section is cumulative and is in addition to any authority now exercised by counties and municipalities under any other law relating to either.

(4) Any tax levy made to service the bonds authorized to be issued under authority of this section shall not be refundable under the homestead exemption laws of this state.

SECTION 37. Section 65-1-83, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-83. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall continue * * * to cooperate with the United States Department of Transportation, as necessary, in the taking of a traffic census and the making of other surveys, inspections or studies as said federal agency may request or require pertaining to or on the state highway system and such other roads, bridges and highways within this state as it may deem advisable.

SECTION 38. Section 65-1-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-85. All contracts by or on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * for the purchase of materials, equipment and supplies shall be made in compliance with Section 31-7-1 et seq. All contracts by or on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * for construction, reconstruction or other public work authorized to be done under the provisions of this chapter, except maintenance, shall be made by the executive director * * * only upon competitive bids after due advertisement as follows, to wit:

Such advertisement for bids shall be in accordance with such rules and regulations, in addition to those herein provided, as may be adopted therefor by the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * , and the department may make and promulgate such rules and regulations as it may deem proper, to provide and adopt standard specifications for road and bridge construction, and to amend the same from time to time. Such advertisement shall be inserted twice, being once a week for two (2) successive weeks in a newspaper published at the seat of government in Jackson, Mississippi, having a general circulation throughout the state, and no letting shall be less than fourteen (14) days nor more than sixty (60) days after the publication of the first notice thereof, and notices of such letting may be placed in a metropolitan paper or national trade publication. Before advertising for such work, the executive director shall cause to be prepared and filed in the Mississippi Department of Transportation detailed plans and specifications covering the work proposed to be done, copies of which plans and specifications shall be subject to inspection by any citizen during all office hours and made available to all prospective bidders upon such reasonable terms and conditions as may be required by the executive director; however, there shall be a fee equal to the cost of producing a copy of any such plans and specifications. All such contracts shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder, and a record of all bids received for construction and reconstruction shall be preserved. In letting such contracts, each bid for construction and reconstruction must be accompanied by a cashier's check, a certified check or bidders bond executed by a surety company authorized to do business in the State of Mississippi, in the principal amount of not less than five percent (5%) of the bid, guaranteeing that the bidder will give bond and enter into a contract for the faithful performance of the contract according to plans and specifications on file.

Bonds shall be required of the successful bidder in an amount equal to the contract price. The contract price shall mean the entire cost of the particular contract let. In the event change orders are made after the execution of a contract which results in increasing the total contract price, additional bond in the amount of the increased cost may be required. The surety or sureties on such bonds shall be a surety company or surety companies authorized to do business in the State of Mississippi, all bonds to be payable to the State of Mississippi and to be conditioned for the prompt, faithful and efficient performance of the contract according to plans and specifications, and for the prompt payment of all persons furnishing labor, material, equipment and supplies therefor. Such bonds shall be subject to the additional obligation that the principal and surety or sureties executing the same shall be liable to the state in a civil action instituted by the state at the instance of the * * * Transportation Department or any officer of the state authorized in such cases, for double any amount in money or property the state may lose or be overcharged or otherwise defrauded of by reason of any wrongful or criminal act, if any, of the contractor, his agent or employees.

With respect to equipment used in the construction, reconstruction or other public work authorized to be done under the provisions of this chapter: the word "equipment," in addition to all equipment incorporated into or fully consumed in connection with such project, shall include the reasonable value of the use of all equipment of every kind and character and all accessories and attachments thereto which are reasonably necessary to be used and which are used in carrying out the performance of the contract, and the reasonable value of the use thereof, during the period of time the same are used in carrying out the performance of the contract, shall be the amount as agreed upon by the persons furnishing the equipment and those using the same to be paid therefor, which amount, however, shall not be in excess of the maximum current rates and charges allowable for leasing or renting as specified in Section 65-7-95; the word "labor" shall include all work performed in repairing equipment used in carrying out the performance of the contract, which repair labor is reasonably necessary to the efficient operation of said equipment; and the words "materials" and "supplies" shall include all repair parts installed in or on equipment used in carrying out the performance of the contract, which repair parts are reasonably necessary to the efficient operation of said equipment.

The Executive Director * * * of the * * * Transportation Department, shall have the right to reject any and all bids, whether such right is reserved in the notice or not. Any contract for construction or paving of any highway may be entered into for any cost which does not exceed the amount of funds that may be made available therefor through bond issues or from other sources of revenue, and the letting of contracts for such construction or paving shall not necessarily be delayed until the funds are actually on hand, provided authorization for the issuance of necessary bonds has been granted by law to supplement other anticipated revenue or when the Mississippi Department of Transportation certifies to the Department of Finance and Administration and the Legislative Budget Office that projected receipts of funds by the department will be sufficient to pay such contracts as they become due and the Department of Finance and Administration determines that the projections are reasonable and receipts will be sufficient to pay the contracts as they become due. The Department of Finance and Administration shall spread such determination on its minutes prior to the letting of any contracts based on projected receipts. Nothing herein shall prohibit the issuance of bonds, which have been authorized, at any time in the discretion of the State Bond Commission, nor to prevent investment of surplus funds in United States Government bonds or State of Mississippi bonds as presently authorized by Section 12, Chapter 312, Laws of 1956.

All other contracts for work to be done under the provisions of this chapter and for the purchase of materials, equipment and supplies to be used as provided for in this chapter shall be made in compliance with Section 31-7-1 et seq.

The * * * executive director or any one or more of its members, or any engineer or other person, may not let or make contracts for the construction or repair of public roads or building bridges, or for the purchase of material, equipment or supplies contrary to the provisions of this chapter as above set forth, except in cases of flood or other cases of emergency where the public interest requires that the work be done or the materials, equipment or supplies be purchased without the delay incident to advertising for competitive bids. Such emergency contracts may be made without advertisement under such rules and regulations as the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * may prescribe.

The executive director may negotiate and make agreements with communities and/or civic organizations for landscaping, beautification and maintenance of highway rights-of-way * * *. However,  * * * nothing in this section shall be construed as authorization for the executive director * * * to participate in such a project to an extent greater than the average cost for maintenance of shoulders, backslopes and median areas with respect thereto. The executive director may negotiate and enter into contracts with private parties for the mowing of grass and trimming of vegetation on the rights-of-way of state highways whenever such practice is possible and cost effective.

SECTION 39. Section 65-1-86, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-86. The Attorney General shall, with or without a request by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, bring any lawsuit, in the name of the department, to recover any monies lost through illegal contracts, fraud, false pretense or any other criminal act, and the department shall, at the direction of the Attorney General, supply internal audits or perform any other necessary act to furnish the Attorney General with any evidence pertaining to such loss for use by the Attorney General in the preparation of said lawsuits.

SECTION 40. Section 65-1-87, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-87. The Mississippi Department of Transportation may purchase war surplus equipment, supplies and materials from the General Services Administration of the United States of America without the necessity of advertising for bids for such materials and equipment and supplies, even though the cost of such materials, equipment and supplies exceed the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), provided that such equipment, materials, and supplies shall be purchased for less than the then prevailing market price.

SECTION 41. Section 65-1-91, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-91. Upon demand by any party to a contract with the Mississippi * * * Department of Transportation for arbitration, such arbitration shall proceed in all respects and shall have the same effect as authorized and provided by Sections 11-15-1 through 11-15-37. Any arbitration decision shall be binding unless set aside by the executive director of the department.

SECTION 42. Section 65-1-111, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-111. All monies from any source provided by law shall be covered and paid into the State Treasury as other public funds are paid, and it shall be the duty of the Department of Finance and Administration to advise the Transportation Department of the amount of money allotted to the commission on hand from time to time. It shall be the duty of the Department of Finance and Administration to place and allocate said funds so covered into the State Treasury in the State Highway Fund. The interest earned on the investment of any highway funds shall be paid into the State Highway Fund. In the event any highway bonds or notes are issued, the Transportation Department will adopt a resolution requesting the Bond Commission to issue such bonds or notes as may be authorized and a "bond and interest sinking fund" and "note fund" shall likewise be kept separate from the highway fund by the State Treasurer pursuant to the bond resolution adopted by the State of Mississippi Bond Commission. No requisition issued by the Transportation Department shall be honored or paid unless signed by the executive director and countersigned by the secretary, and unless the same shows upon its face upon which and against which of the above-named funds it is drawn and the page of the minute book upon which the same is entered. It shall be unlawful for the executive director * * * or any other person whatsoever to withdraw any money from the above funds other than by requisition issued as herein provided.

A record of all requisitions or voucher-checks allowed and issued by the executive director * * * showing the number of the claim or account, referring to the contract or authority of law, showing the person to whom issued, for what purpose given, against which fund drawn, the date of issuance, and the number of requisition or voucher check shall be placed upon the minute book of the Transportation Department and shall become a part of the official record of its next succeeding meeting.

SECTION 43. Section 65-1-113, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-113. The books and accounts of the Mississippi Department of Transportation shall be audited at the end of each fiscal year by the State Auditor. A copy of the audit shall be filed with the Governor, the State Auditor, the Legislative Budget Office, the Department of Finance and Administration and a copy kept on file in the office of the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The audit shall be so segregated that it shall show in detail the expenditures of the * * * department for the period involved.

* * * Each year prior to the beginning of each July 1 fiscal year, the Executive Director of the Transportation Department shall prepare a complete, detailed and itemized budget of each construction program, maintenance and administration based on information as required by the Legislative Budget Office, which budget shall not exceed a reasonably anticipated income of the department for the succeeding fiscal year. * * * A copy of the detailed budget shall be filed with the Governor and three (3) copies each with the Legislative Budget Office and the Department of Finance and Administration on or before April 30 of each year and shall cover all anticipated expenditures for construction, maintenance and all other expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year. The Transportation Department shall not make expenditures in excess of its published budget or any item thereof without written notice to the Legislative Budget Office and prior approval of the Department of Finance and Administration, except in case of extraordinary, unusual or unprecedented occurrences arising by reason of unforeseen events, floods, hurricanes or other acts of God or force majeure, in which event, upon the declaration of emergency and necessity spread at large upon the minutes, appropriate and necessary emergency expenditures may be made. * * *

SECTION 44. Section 65-1-115, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-115. The Auditor of Public Accounts, in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Transportation or its comptroller, shall formulate and prescribe a uniform system of accounting for all monies expended by the department. The department shall have prepared and issued all necessary forms, rules and regulations for the installation and operation of said system of accounting, and it shall be the duty of the executive director of the department, in allowing any account to request, by requisition on the Department of Finance and Administration, that a warrant be issued therefor. * * * No money shall be expended except by a requisition drawn on the proper fund. * * * All salaries of all officers and employees of the Transportation Department shall be payable at pay periods fixed by the executive director, which shall not be greater than monthly, and a separate record thereof shall be maintained. * * * No account for expenses shall be allowed until and unless an itemized statement shall be made by the officer or employee presenting such claim showing the date and for what purpose such expenses were incurred. * * * All monies received by any officer or employee of the Transportation Department for expenses paid without such statement having been previously made and filed, shall be recoverable upon the bond of such officer or employee. The executive director * * * and his bondsman shall be liable for all monies expended by him or withdrawn from the State Treasury contrary to the provisions hereof, and which are not evidenced by proper requisition. * * *

SECTION 45. Section 65-1-117, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-117. The board of supervisors of any county is hereby authorized in its discretion to deposit with the State Treasurer, as trustee, funds representing the county's or district's share of the cost of construction of any project in that county.

The State Treasurer is hereby authorized to continue to receive and deposit to the credit of the State Highway Fund, all funds from the federal government made available by it for road construction purposes, and the Treasurer shall notify the Mississippi Department of Transportation of the amounts so received.

All accounts against the above-mentioned funds shall be certified by the Executive Director of the Transportation Department, who shall request the Auditor of Public Accounts to issue his warrant on the State Treasurer for the amount of the account, and the Treasurer shall pay same if sufficient funds are available, all in the manner prescribed herein or as may be required by law.

SECTION 46. Section 65-1-121, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-121. A full, complete, and detailed inventory of all property, other than rights-of-way and lands containing road building materials, shall be continued as heretofore prepared and filed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. All of said properties so reported and inventoried and all other property of every kind or description shall be entered in detail and by items in or upon a card index, or other modern filing system, and thereafter all property which may be purchased or acquired by the Transportation Department shall be likewise noted and indexed in such filing system so as to keep a complete record of the identity, cost, purpose, use, and location of said property at all times, so that inventory thereof may easily be made; and when disposed of, a complete record of the disposition thereof shall likewise be made. It shall be the duty of * * * the executive director to make a full report annually of all monies or property that have or has come into his possession or control and to faithfully account therefor.

SECTION 47. Section 65-1-123, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-123. (1) Whenever any personal property has been acquired in any manner by the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * for public use and in the opinion of the executive director of the department, all or any part of the property becomes unnecessary for public use, the department may dispose of such property for a fair and reasonable cash market price. Any such sale shall be a sale upon the receipt of sealed bids after reasonable advertisement for bids in such manner and at such time and place as the executive director may deem proper and advisable, except that the department may sell at private sale any such personal property not necessary for public purposes the cash market value of which is less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00); however, if the personal property is timber, the department may sell at private sale any such timber not necessary for public purposes the cash market value of which is less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), except that whenever persons, groups or agencies are permitted to remove a quantity of timber from highway rights-of-way, and the cash market value of the timber is estimated by the executive director to be less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), it shall not be necessary to have the timber cruised or appraised and the department may sell the timber at private sale. The executive director shall have the right to reject any and all bids in his discretion and to sell the property theretofore advertised at private sale for not less than the highest of the rejected bids, or to readvertise.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (3) and (4) of this section, whenever real property, with the exception of easements for highway purposes, has been acquired by the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * , in any manner, for public use and in the opinion of the executive director all or any part thereof becomes unnecessary for public use, the same shall be declared * * * as excess property and shall be sold at private sale at market value. If the excess property was a total take from the original owner, then the department shall offer to such owner, in writing, the first right of refusal to purchase such excess property; however, if after due diligence the original owner cannot be located, then the department shall offer the first right of refusal to purchase the property to the adjoining property owner or owners. If the excess property was a partial take from the current owner of the parcel of real property from which the excess property was originally taken, then the department shall be required to offer in writing the first right of refusal to purchase such excess property to such owner. If within forty-five (45) days any owner to whom the department has offered the first right of refusal under the provisions of this subsection fails to accept the offer to purchase, the property shall then be offered to the adjoining property owner or owners. If within forty-five (45) days an adjoining property owner fails to accept the offer to purchase, then the excess property shall be sold to the highest bidder upon the receipt by the department of sealed bids after reasonable advertisement for bids in such manner and at such time and place as the executive director deems proper and advisable; however, the department shall have the right to reject any and all bids in its discretion and to sell the property theretofore advertised at private sale for not less than the highest of the rejected bids, or to readvertise. Upon payment of the purchase price, the executive director of the department  * * * may execute a quitclaim deed conveying such property to the purchaser.

(3) Whenever the department acquires by fee simple interest any property determined to be an uneconomic remnant outside the right-of-way, then the department may sell the property to the adjoining property owner or owners for an amount not less than the market value established by the county tax assessor or a state licensed or certified appraiser.

(4) Whenever the department desires to sell any real property used as maintenance lots, the property shall be sold to the highest bidder upon the receipt by the department of sealed bids and after reasonable advertisement for bids in such manner and at such time and place as the executive director deems proper and advisable; however, the executive director, in his discretion, may reject any and all bids and sell the property advertised at private sale for not less than the highest of the rejected bids, or may readvertise. Upon payment of the purchase price, the executive director of the department * * * may execute a quitclaim deed conveying the property to the purchaser.

(5) All easements for highway purposes shall be released when they are determined by the executive director as no longer needed for such purposes, and when released, they shall be filed by the department in the office of the chancery clerk in the county where the property is located.

(6) In no instance shall any part of any property acquired by the department, or any interest acquired in such property, including but not limited to easements, be construed as abandoned by nonuse, nor shall any encroachment on such property for any length of time constitute estoppel or adverse possession against the state's interests.

(7) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Transportation Department shall declare property it has acquired and which is no longer needed for public purposes as excess and to sell and/or dispose of such excess property in accordance with the provisions of this section as soon as practicable after such property becomes excess in fact. Unnecessary or excess property or property interests shall be disposed of only upon order of the executive director as provided in this section.

(8) Whenever any real property has been acquired by the Transportation Department and in the opinion of the executive director all or any part of the property will not be utilized in the near future, the property shall be so declared by the executive director and the department may lease or rent the property for its market value.

SECTION 48. Section 65-1-127, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-127. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is authorized and empowered to cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration Fellowship Program in Highway Safety by granting permission of any of its employees accepted for participating in such program to be granted a leave of absence to obtain the schooling without loss of salary while gaining the advanced training to better equip them for service to the * * * department.

In addition to requirements set forth in the Federal Highway Administration's regulations, any such employee to be eligible for such training must agree to continue to work with the Mississippi Department of Transportation for at least three (3) years after completing the fellowship study period.

At no time shall more than three (3) employees be on such leave from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

SECTION 49. Section 65-1-129, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-129. For purposes of Sections 65-1-129 through 65-1-135, unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein:

(a) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

(b) "Qualified person" means a person who:

(i) Has met all the educational and training requirements of a course of study prescribed and conducted by the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers' Training Academy; and

(ii) Is of good moral character and has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.

SECTION 50. Section 65-1-131, Mississippi Code of 1972 is amended as follows:

65-1-131. (1) The Mississippi Department of Transportation may appoint and commission qualified persons as security officers of the * * * department * * *. Any such security officer so appointed shall be a full-time employee of the Transportation 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 * * * Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

(2) A security officer appointed and commissioned as provided in subsection (1) of this section shall, before entering upon his duties as such officer, 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 endorsed upon it, shall be entered in the official minute book of the department.

(3) A security officer appointed and commissioned pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, shall, while engaged in the performance of his duties, carry on his person a badge identifying him as a security officer of the Mississippi Department of Transportation 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 buildings, property or facilities owned by or under the jurisdiction of the * * * Transportation Department. 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 Transportation Department shall be required to pay to the academy at least an amount equal to the per student cost of operation of said academy as tuition.

SECTION 51. Section 65-1-135, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-135. The powers and authority of any security officer may be terminated at any time by the executive director of the department.

SECTION 52. Section 65-1-136, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-136. (1) In addition to employing security officers as full-time employees of the Mississippi Department of Transportation as authorized under subsection (1) of Section 65-1-131, the department may contract with any private security firm or business authorized to do business in this state for the purpose of providing security for buildings, property or facilities owned by or under the jurisdiction of the * * * Transportation Department.

(2) A security officer of a security firm or business with which the department has contracted pursuant to the provisions of this section, 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 Transportation Department. When in uniform, each such security officer shall wear his badge in plain view.

(3) A security officer of a security firm or business with which the department has contracted pursuant to the provisions of this section 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 99-37-7.

SECTION 53. Section 65-1-137, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-137. All security officers of any security firm or business with which the Transportation Department has contracted under Section 65-1-136 shall be independent contractors and shall not be considered as employees under Chapter 46 of Title 11, Mississippi Code of 1972.

SECTION 54. Section 65-1-141, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-141. (1) (a) The Transportation Department shall annually * * * prepare a three-year plan for the maintenance, construction, reconstruction and relocation of the state highway system. The plan shall include:

(i) For each interstate, primary, secondary and other highway or road system under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department, a list and detailed description of those highways, or segments thereof, on the highway system which are determined to have the highest priority for maintenance and which can be maintained within the three-year period from funds available or estimated to be made available for such purpose;

(ii) For each interstate, primary, secondary and other highway or road system under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department, a list and detailed description of those highways, or segments thereof, on the highway system which are determined to have the highest priority for construction, reconstruction or relocation and for which contracts can be let for construction, reconstruction or relocation within the three-year period from funds available or estimated to be available for such purpose;

(iii) The reasons for the priority assigned to highways, or segments thereof, pursuant to the criteria established in the following subsection (1)(b), and the annual cost and total estimated cost of completion for each such project; and

(iv) A synopsis of any analyses or studies considered by the department to develop the criteria in determining priorities.

(b) The Transportation Department shall determine the criteria on which the * * * department shall assign priority for maintenance, construction, reconstruction and relocation of highways, or segments thereof, on each highway or road system under its jurisdiction, taking into consideration all of the following criteria:

(i) Public necessity and public safety;

(ii) Present and future economic benefit and commercial value;

(iii) Present and future traffic census; and

(iv) Route continuity.

Additionally, the Transportation Department shall take into consideration conditions potentially hazardous to the public safety at points on highways having substantial truck traffic entering and leaving the highway. In setting priorities for construction, the department shall take into consideration the construction of turning lanes at such points on highways to facilitate the safe movement of traffic.

(c) To develop the criteria to be used in determining priorities, the Transportation Department may conduct public hearings; shall conduct analyses or studies of highway needs, utilizing * * * department personnel; and shall consider highway needs analyses or studies submitted to them by the University Research Center, which is hereby directed to develop such highway needs analyses or studies with respect to the criteria set forth in subsection (1)(b)(ii) above and to timely submit or present such analyses or studies to the department.

(2) All funds appropriated and made available to the Transportation Department from any source within the state for maintenance, construction, reconstruction and relocation of the state highway system shall be expended on order of the executive director according to the priorities herein set forth. * * * The executive director shall keep a written public record of the priority of roads for application of such funds, the specific reasons for each priority so assigned, and the source and amount of funds applied to each project.

(a) All interstate funds apportioned to the Transportation Department under the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 shall be allocated on the basis of need to complete the interstate system of highways to provide for the maximum commercial benefit to the state.

(b) All primary road construction money shall be used in the priorities established pursuant to subsection (1)(b) hereof.

(c)  * * * The department shall match all available federal money for highways.

(d) Federal aid primary system as constituted. Priority of use of these funds shall be determined by roads meeting most of the criteria receiving priority established pursuant to subsection (1)(b) hereof.

(e) Secondary road construction money shall be used with priorities established by roads meeting most of the following criteria receiving priority:

(i) Roads in the order of the relative use and importance of such highways, as may be determined by the present and future traffic censuses thereof, taking into consideration their present and future use, convenience, public necessity and public safety, the connecting of Mississippi towns, cities and population centers and the economic contribution to the state should a specific highway be improved, the recorded maintenance expense and their continuity as highways through the state.

(ii) Roads which carry the most traffic.

(iii) Roads which connect the federal aid primary or interstate system in a uniform manner.

(iv) Roads which serve the most commercial value.

(v) Roads which are arterial in nature.

(vi) Roads which connect the major rural communities with similar communities in adjoining counties.

(f) The * * * department shall when funds are available match all available federal money for highways.

(3) Projects eligible for reimbursement under the provisions of P.L. 97-424 shall be exempt from the requirements of subsection (1)(a) of this section, but the department shall expend funds available to it for such projects in the priorities established pursuant to subsection (1)(b) hereof.

(4) All highway construction, reconstruction and relocation shall be by contract, let on competitive bid in the manner provided by statute. On any one (1) reconstruction project the total cost of which does not exceed Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00), reconstruction may be accomplished by Transportation Department labor, equipment or materials. Nothing herein shall be construed to affect maintenance and repair work done or to be done on existing roads. When new programs require the utilization of professional services, the Transportation Department may contract with, engage, or retain available, competent firms actively offering such professional services as a primary source of livelihood. "Professional services" is defined as services normally performed on a fee basis or contract by engineers, architects, business management, administrative and consulting firms.

SECTION 55. Section 65-1-145, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-145. (1) The expenditure of funds now or hereafter available for the construction and reconstruction of primary and secondary roads by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, after having determined the priority in accordance with the requirements of Section 65-1-141 hereof, shall be as follows:

(a) Four-lane roads shall be constructed using the existing two-lane roads as part of such construction along portions of highways where the most recent average daily traffic count exceeds thirty percent (30%) of the route segment's capacity.

(b) Along such portions of highways where the most recent average daily traffic count does not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the capacity, two-lane roads shall be constructed, or existing two (2) lanes shall be widened, overlayed and reconstructed. Along such two-lane portions of highways passing lanes may be constructed where traffic congestion or special hazards dictate, or, where such two-lane segment connects two (2) existing four-lane roads, such segment may be constructed as a four-lane road for road continuity, using the existing two-lane road as part of such construction.

(c) Four-lane, full-control or limited access highways bypassing municipalities shall not be constructed until the Transportation Department determines that the most recent average daily traffic count exceeds sixty percent (60%) of an existing two-lane route's capacity or determines that within a reasonable period of time after construction of such a four-lane, full-control or limited access municipal bypass the average daily traffic count will exceed sixty percent (60%) of an existing two-lane route's capacity. In no event shall such a bypass be constructed until approved by the Legislature by an appropriation of highway funds for a specific bypass, the construction of which has been recommended by the Executive Director of the * * * department * * * and included in the three-year plan prepared pursuant to Section 65-1-141.

(d) Four-lane facilities may be constructed without using existing roadways as a part of such construction where it is necessary to construct four-lanes on new location because of bad alignment of existing roadway or where it is necessary to relocate or realign such roadway so as to connect with a four-lane facility in an adjoining state.

(e) Any four-lane bypass project of which all, or any portion thereof, is presently under construction, or let to contract, or which has been partially completed, except where right-of-way only has been acquired, may be completed in its entirety.

(f) Notwithstanding any limitation imposed above on the construction of four-lane roads, through June 30, 2007, contracts to construct four-lane roads may be let when (i) the federal government has provided money for four-laning a specific highway project, (ii) four-laning will enhance the current economic development of the area in which the four-lane road will be constructed, or (iii) the four-lane road to be constructed will connect with an existing four-lane road.

Before a route location is submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for approval, appropriate identification of the proposed route must be approved and properly documented by public record by the Executive Director of the Transportation Department. Where a route location has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration and a relocation of the route is contemplated, the same procedure of advertisement and hearings upon request must be followed which is used in reaching an initial route location. Any change in location must be approved and properly documented by  the Executive Director of the * * * Transportation Department. The Transportation Department may alter construction standards of an approved route; * * * provided that such change is in conformity with items (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of this subsection.

(2) No state monies shall be expended on any construction project unless a Transportation Department engineer shall be assigned to such project.

SECTION 56. Section 65-1-149, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-149. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall file a detailed annual report with the Governor, Department of Finance and Administration, Secretary of the Senate, Clerk of the House of Representatives, and each member of the Senate and the House of Representatives requesting one, by January 15 of each year showing by county the construction and maintenance work in progress, the cost of each project with an indication of specific cost incurred and expenses paid during the fiscal year reported, a list of contracts let, a summary of the bids received, and the name and address of the contractor to whom the contract was awarded in each case. The annual report of the Transportation Department shall also contain all receipts and disbursements during the preceding fiscal period and an estimate of the receipts for not less than the next fiscal period, plus the average cost of maintenance of each general type of road and the average cost of construction of the various types of surface. Any information and recommendations, including proposed legislation which in the opinion of the Executive Director of the Transportation Department is needed, shall be contained in said report, in addition to any other required by law to be in the annual report of every department, agency or institution.

In addition to the report hereinabove required, there shall be presented, by January 15 of each year to the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee and to the House Transportation Committee, a report on the projected projects for the next three (3) years outlined in detail sufficient enough to facilitate an accurate assessment of such projects by such committees.

The Transportation Department shall adopt a complete, detailed and itemized budget based on information as required by the Legislative Budget Office, which budget shall not exceed a reasonably anticipated income of the department for the succeeding fiscal year, and the essential features of such budget shall be made available as a public record. A copy of the detailed budget shall be filed with the Legislative Budget Office and the Department of Finance and Administration and shall cover all anticipated expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year. The department shall not make expenditures in excess of its published budget or any item thereof without written notice to the Legislative Budget Office and prior approval of the Department of Finance and Administration, except in case of extraordinary, unusual or unprecedented occurrences arising by reason of unforeseen events, floods, hurricanes or other Acts of God or force majeure, in which event, upon the declaration of emergency and necessity by the Executive Director of the Transportation Department, appropriate and necessary emergency expenditures may be made.

The books and accounts of the Transportation Department shall be audited at the end of each fiscal year by the State Auditor. A copy of the audit shall be filed with the Governor, the State Auditor, the Legislative Budget Office, the Department of Finance and Administration, and a copy kept on file in the office of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The audit should be so segregated that it shall show in detail the expenditures of the Executive Director of the Transportation Department for the period involved.

 * * *

SECTION 57. Section 65-1-151, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-151. Bond shall be given to the State of Mississippi by * * * the executive director, * * * in an additional sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), which is in addition to the bond required in Section * * * 65-1-9; and said bond shall in all instances be and is for the same purposes and in the same manner as provided in Section * * * 65-1-9. Such bond may be consolidated with the bond required in the aforementioned section.

SECTION 58. Section 65-1-155, Mississippi Code of 1972, is

amended as follows:

65-1-155. The Mississippi Department of Transportation, acting through its executive director, * * * is hereby authorized and directed to transfer the sum of Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00) out of any money in the special fund accounts within the State Treasury to the credit of the * * * department into a special fund account to the credit of the Department of Finance and Administration within the State Treasury.

SECTION 59. Section 65-1-167, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-167. There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special fund to be known as the "Statewide Litter Prevention Fund." Monies may be expended out of such fund, pursuant to appropriation by the Legislature, to implement the statewide litter prevention program established under the provisions of Section 65-1-165. Disbursements from such fund shall be made only upon requisition of the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

SECTION 60. Section 65-1-169, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-169. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is hereby authorized to maintain property acquired for highway purposes free and clear of any obstruction, encroachment or any other use not authorized by the department. Before removing or terminating any obstruction, encroachment or other unauthorized use, the department shall give notice by registered mail to the offending party of its intention to remove or terminate such obstruction, encroachment or other unauthorized use unless, within forty-five (45) days from the date such notice is mailed, the offending party institutes a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction with respect to the removal or termination proposed by the department. When the department has removed or terminated any obstruction, encroachment or other unauthorized use after the mailing of notice as required above and upon the failure of the offending party to institute an action within the forty-five-day time period, the department may institute a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction against the offending party for all costs incurred in the removal or termination thereof.

The Transportation Department and its personnel shall not be liable, civilly or criminally, for any property damages or personal injuries incurred by any person for the removal or termination of such obstruction, encroachment or unauthorized use in accordance with the provisions of this section provided that reasonable care is exercised in the termination or removal of the obstruction, encroachment or unauthorized use. * * *

The provisions of this section shall apply only to the removal or termination of obstructions, encroachments or other unauthorized uses of property acquired for highway purposes which first occur or are created on or after July 1, 1988. The provisions of this section shall not apply to or affect any right or remedy which the State Highway Commission was authorized by law prior to July 1, 1988, to exercise in the removal or termination of any such obstructions, encroachments or other unauthorized uses occurring or created before July 1, 1988.

SECTION 61. Section 65-1-173, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-1-173. For the purpose of enforcing and investigating all violations of the railroad laws, and the rules, regulations and general orders of the Mississippi Department of Transportation  * * * promulgated thereunder, the department may employ five (5) inspectors and one (1) railway safety coordinator. The salaries of the inspectors and the safety coordinator shall be fixed by the executive director, subject to the state personnel system law as provided under Section 25-9-101 et seq. The inspectors shall devote their full time to the performance of their duties and shall take an oath faithfully to perform the duties of their positions. The department shall require bonds to be carried on such employees as the executive director may deem necessary, the cost thereof to be paid by the department.

The inspectors shall be selected after an examination, as prescribed by the department, as to physical and mental fitness, knowledge of the railroad laws, the rules and regulations of the department, the laws of this state pertaining to arrest and any other examination as may be prescribed by the department. An inspector, at the time of appointment, shall be a citizen of the State of Mississippi, of good moral character, and shall not be less than twenty-one (21) years of age.

The inspectors of the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * * may enter upon private property upon which a railroad facility is located that is connected to but not a part of the general railroad system of transportation, at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner to perform an inspection, investigation or surveillance of facilities, equipment, records and operations relating to the packaging, loading or transportation of hazardous materials or other materials to determine whether the railroad facility complies with the applicable federal or state safety statutes, rules, regulations or orders. Any inspection, investigation or surveillance performed on the site of a manufacturing facility shall be performed in compliance with the safety rules or regulations of the facility.

SECTION 62. Section 1-1-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

1-1-11. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the Joint Committee on Compilation, Revision and Publication of Legislation shall distribute or provide for the distribution of the sets of the compilation of the Mississippi Code of 1972 purchased by the state as follows:

Fifty-six (56) sets to the Mississippi House of Representatives and forty (40) sets to the Mississippi Senate for the use of the Legislative Reference Bureau, Legislative Services Offices, staffs and committees thereof.

Ten (10) sets to the Governor's Office; nine (9) sets to the Secretary of State; and twenty (20) sets to the Auditor's Office.

One (1) set to each of the following: the Lieutenant Governor; each member of the Legislature; the Treasurer; each district attorney; each county attorney; each judge of the Court of Appeals and each judge of the Supreme, circuit, chancery, county, family, justice and municipal courts; each Mississippi Senator and Mississippi Representative in Congress; State Superintendent of Education; Director of the Department of Finance and Administration; six (6) sets to the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) Committee, two (2) sets to the Director of the Legislative Budget Office; the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce; * * * six (6) sets to the Department of Corrections; the Insurance Commissioner; the Clerk of the Supreme Court; the State Board of Health; each circuit clerk; each chancery clerk in the state for the use of the chancery clerk and the board of supervisors; each sheriff in the state for the use of his office and the county officers; and each county for the county library (an additional set for each of the last three (3) to be given in counties having two (2) judicial districts).

Two (2) sets to the Department of Archives and History; two (2) sets to the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission; sixty-eight (68) sets to the Attorney General's Office; six (6) sets to the Public Service Commission; four (4) sets to the Public Utilities Staff; thirty-six (36) sets to the State Tax Commission; two (2) sets to the State Personnel Board; six (6) sets to the State Law Library; one (1) set to the Library of Congress; ten (10) sets to the University of Mississippi Law School; one (1) set each to the Mississippi School for the Deaf and the Mississippi School for the Blind; one (1) set each to the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning; and one (1) set to the Supreme Court judges' conference room. In furtherance of the State Library's reciprocal program of code exchange with libraries of the several states, the joint committee shall, at the direction and only upon the written request of the State Librarian, distribute or provide for the distribution of sets of the Code to such libraries.

One (1) set to each state junior or community college; three (3) sets to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; two (2) sets to the Department of Environmental Quality; two (2) sets to the Department of Marine Resources; and seven (7) sets to the Department of Human Services. One (1) set to each of the following: State Textbook Procurement Commission; University Medical Center; State Library Commission; Department of Agriculture and Commerce; Forestry Commission; and seventeen (17) sets to the Department of Public Safety. Also, one (1) set to each of the following: Adjutant General, Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management, the State Educational Finance Commission, the Mississippi Board of Vocational and Technical Education, Division of Medicaid, State Board of Mental Health, and Department of Youth Services.

The joint committee is authorized to distribute or provide for the distribution of additional sets of the Mississippi Code, not to exceed three (3) sets, to the office of each district attorney for the use of his assistants.

The joint committee shall provide to the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate the annual supplements to the Mississippi Code of 1972 for each set of the Code maintained by the House and Senate.

The set of the Mississippi Code of 1972 to be provided to each member of the Legislature shall be provided unless specifically waived by such legislator in writing.

An elected or appointed officeholder in the State of Mississippi, except for a member of the Legislature, shall deliver to his successor in office, or to the joint committee if there is no successor, the set of the Mississippi Code of 1972 provided the officeholder under this section.

Before the joint committee delivers or provides for delivery of a copy of the Mississippi Code of 1972 to an individual officeholder, the joint committee shall prepare and submit a written agreement to the officeholder. The agreement shall, among other provisions, state that the Code is the property of the State of Mississippi, that it shall be transferred to the officeholder's successor in office, that the officeholder has an obligation to make such transfer and that the officeholder shall be responsible for the failure to deliver the Code and for any damage or destruction to the Code, normal wear and tear excepted. The joint committee shall execute the agreement and forward it to the officeholder for execution. The joint committee shall not deliver or provide for delivery of the Code to the officeholder until the executed agreement is received by the committee. The joint committee may include in the agreement such other provisions as it may deem reasonable and necessary. In addition to damages or any other remedy for not transferring a set of the Code to his successor, an officeholder who does not transfer his set of the Code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, pay a fine of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). Upon request of the joint committee, the Attorney General shall assist the joint committee in taking such actions as necessary to require an officeholder to transfer the set of Code provided under this section to his successor, or to the joint committee if there is no successor, and to recover reimbursement or damages from any officeholder for the loss of or damage or destruction to any volumes of the set of the Code provided under this section, other than normal wear and tear.

Replacement of missing, damaged or destroyed sets or volumes of the Code provided by this chapter may be obtained from the Code publisher through the joint committee at the established state cost, the cost to be borne by the recipient.

No more than one (1) set of the Mississippi Code of 1972 shall be furnished to any one (1) individual, regardless of the office or offices he may hold.

(2) The joint committee, in its discretion, may determine whether electronic access to the Mississippi Code of 1972 is available and a sufficient substitute for actual bound volumes of the code and, if so, may omit furnishing any one or more sets otherwise required by this section.

SECTION 63. Section 23-15-193, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

23-15-193. At the election in 1995, and every four (4) years thereafter, there shall be elected a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer, Attorney General, three (3) Public Service Commissioners, * * * Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Senators and members of the House of Representatives in the Legislature, district attorneys for the several districts, clerks of the circuit and chancery courts of the several counties, as well as sheriffs, coroners, assessors, surveyors and members of the boards of supervisors, justice court judges and constables, and all other officers to be elected by the people at the general state election. All such officers shall hold their offices for a term of four (4) years, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The state officers shall be elected in the manner prescribed in Section 140 of the Constitution.

SECTION 64. Section 23-15-297, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

23-15-297. All candidates upon entering the race for party nominations for office shall first pay to the proper officer as provided for in Section 23-15-299 for each primary election the following amounts:

(a) Candidates for Governor not to exceed Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00).

(b) Candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Auditor of Public Accounts, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, * * * and State Public Service Commissioner, not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).

(c) Candidates for district attorney, not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).

(d) Candidates for State Senator, State Representative, sheriff, chancery clerk, circuit clerk, tax assessor, tax collector, county attorney, county superintendent of education and board of supervisors, not to exceed Fifteen Dollars ($15.00).

(e) Candidates for county surveyor, county coroner, justice court judge and constable, not to exceed Ten Dollars ($10.00).

(f) Candidates for United States Senator, not to exceed Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00).

(g) Candidates for United States Representative, not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).

SECTION 65. Section 23-15-881, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

23-15-881. It shall be unlawful for * * * the board of supervisors of any county or any member of the board of supervisors of such county, to employ, during the months of May, June, July and August of any year in which a general primary election is held for the nomination and election of members of the * * * boards of supervisors, a greater number of persons to work and maintain the * * * public roads, in any supervisors district of the county, * * * than the average number of persons employed for similar purposes in such * * * supervisors district * * * during the months of May, June, July and August of the three (3) years immediately preceding the year in which such general primary election is held. It shall be unlawful for * * * the board of supervisors of any county to expend out of the * * * road funds of the county or any supervisors district thereof, * * * in the payment of wages or other compensation for labor performed in working and maintaining the * * * public roads of any supervisors district of the county * * * during the months of May, June, July and August of such election year, a total amount in excess of the average total amount expended for such labor, in such * * * supervisors district * * * during the corresponding four-month period of the three (3) years immediately preceding.

It shall be the duty of the * * * board of supervisors of each county, respectively, to keep sufficient records of the numbers of employees and expenditures made for labor on the * * * public roads of each supervisors district for the months of May, June, July and August of each year, to show the number of persons employed for such work in each * * * supervisors district * * * during said four-month period, and the total amount expended in the payment of salaries and other compensation to such employees, so that it may be ascertained, from an examination of such records, whether or not the provisions of this act have been violated.

It is provided, however, because of the abnormal conditions existing in certain counties of the state due to recent floods in which roads and bridges have been materially damaged or washed away and destroyed, if the board of supervisors in any county passes a resolution as provided in Section 19-9-11 for the emergency issuance of road and bridge bonds, the provisions of this section shall not be applicable to or in force concerning the board of supervisors during the calendar year 1955.

SECTION 66. Section 23-15-883, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

23-15-883. The restriction imposed upon the * * * boards of supervisors of the several counties in the employment of labor to work and maintain the * * * public roads of the several supervisors districts of the county, as provided in Section 23-15-881, shall not apply to road contractors or bridge contractors engaged in the construction or maintenance of * * * county roads under contracts awarded by the * * * board of supervisors * * * where such contracts shall have been awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, after legal advertisement, as provided by law; nor shall the restriction imposed in Section 23-25-881 apply to the labor employed by such road contractors or bridge contractors in carrying out such contracts. Nor shall the provisions of this chapter apply to the employment by the * * * board of supervisors * * * of extra labor employed to make repairs upon the * * * county roads or bridges, in cases where such * * * county roads or bridges have been damaged or destroyed by severe storms, floods or other unforeseen disasters.

SECTION 67. Section 23-15-887, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

23-15-887. If any member of the * * * board of supervisors, or the mayor or any member of the board of aldermen or other governing authority of any municipality, shall violate the provisions of this article, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 68. Section 25-3-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

[Until January 1, 2000, Section 25-3-31 will read as follows:]

25-3-31. The annual salaries of the following elected state and district officers are fixed as follows:

Governor $83,160.00

Attorney General 90,800.00

Secretary of State 75,000.00

Commissioner of Insurance 75,000.00

State Treasurer 75,000.00

State Auditor of Public Accounts 75,000.00

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce 75,000.00

Transportation Commissioners 65,000.00

Public Service Commissioners 65,000.00

The salary of the Governor fixed below for January 1, 2000, shall be the reference amount utilized in computing average compensation and earned compensation pursuant to Section 25-11-103(f) and Section 25-11-103(k), and to related sections which require such computations.

[From and after January 1, 2000, Section 25-3-31 will read as follows:]

25-3-31. The annual salaries of the following elected state and district officers are fixed as follows:

Governor $101,800.00

Attorney General 90,800.00

Secretary of State 75,000.00

Commissioner of Insurance 75,000.00

State Treasurer 75,000.00

State Auditor of Public Accounts 75,000.00

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce 75,000.00

 * * *

Public Service Commissioners 65,000.00

The above fixed salary of the Governor shall be the reference amount utilized in computing average compensation and earned compensation pursuant to Section 25-11-103(f) and Section 25-11-103(k) and to related sections which require such computations.

SECTION 69. Section 65-2-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-2-3. The board shall be composed of three (3) members, one (1) to be appointed by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and one (1) to be elected by those construction companies who, as of May 22, 1972, are under contract with the Transportation Department or have been so under contract within the two (2) years immediately preceding the election. As to each subsequent election only those companies under contract at the time of the election or within the two (2) years immediately preceding the election shall be eligible to cast their vote. The third member shall be chosen by agreement of the other two (2) members.

Each shall serve for a two-year term at the end of which the Transportation Department or the construction companies may either retain their representative or choose to appoint or elect another member.

The two (2) members of the board selected by the executive director and the construction companies shall receive per diem in the amount of Fifty Dollars ($50.00) for each day actually spent in the performance of their duties hereunder; the third board member shall receive per diem in the amount of Seventy-five Dollars ($75.00) for each day actually spent in the performance of his duties hereunder. These amounts shall be assessed equally to the parties in the dispute.

SECTION 70. Section 65-2-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

65-2-5. The board shall elect a chairman and adopt rules of procedure. The board may be called into session by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation or by a contractor who has a dispute with the * * * department which, under the rules of the board, may be the subject of arbitration. The party requesting the board's consideration shall give notice of the same to each member.

The board shall have jurisdiction to hear matters concerning One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) or less without regard to the size of the contract.

SECTION 71. Section 97-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

97-15-3. * * * The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, or any engineer, agent, or other employee, acting for or on behalf of the Transportation Department, who shall accept, or agree to accept, receive or agree to receive, ask or solicit, either directly or indirectly, and any person who shall give or offer to give, or promise or procure to be promised, offered or given, either directly, or indirectly, to the department, or to any engineer, agent, or other employee acting for and on behalf of the department, any monies, or any contract, promise, undertaking, obligation, gratuity or security for the payment of money, or for the delivery or conveyance of anything of value or of any political appointment or influence, present, or reward of any employment or any other thing of value, with the intent to have his decision or action on any question, matter, cause or proceeding which may at the time be pending, or which may by law be brought before him in his official capacity or in his place of trust or profit, influence thereby, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in the Penitentiary not less than one (1) nor more than five (5) years, and shall forever after be disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Constitution or laws of this state.

SECTION 72. Section 97-15-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

97-15-5.  * * * The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, or any person employed

by the Transportation Department, in connection with the carrying on of the work outlined in Title 65, Mississippi Code of 1972, who shall knowingly perform any act with intent to injure the state, or any contractor or his agent, or employee, or any other person, who shall conspire with the executive director, or with any * * * employee thereof or with any state official, to permit a violation of any contract with intent to injure or defraud the state, or any contractor or agent, or employee of any contractor who shall knowingly do any work on any state highway in violation of contract, and with intent to defraud the state, the Transportation Department, or employee thereof, state official or contractor, or employee or agent of such contractor, or any other person so conspiring or so doing shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof shall be confined to the State Penitentiary not less than one (1) year, nor more than five (5) years, or be fined not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or both. In addition, any such person shall be liable to the Transportation Department for double the amount the state may have lost by reason thereof, such liability to be covered by any bond that may have been executed by such official, contractor, or employee, the liability hereunder of the bondsmen, however, being limited to the total amount of said bond and not more.

SECTION 73. Section 65-1-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, which

provides for the organization and meetings of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, is repealed.

SECTION 74. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall 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 75. This act, with exception of Sections 2, 63, 64 and 68, shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 2000, or from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended, whichever is the later date. Sections 2, 63, 64 and 68 of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date this act is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.