2000 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Stogner
Senate Bill 2561
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 69-45-1 THROUGH 69-45-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXPAND THE MISSISSIPPI AGRICULTURAL PROMOTIONS PROGRAM ACT TO INCLUDE MISSISSIPPI'S MANUFACTURED GOODS; TO CREATE A NEW CODE SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 69-45-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; TO CREATE A NEW CODE TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 69-45-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE HEARING PROCEDURES FOR PERSONS ACCUSED OF VIOLATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 69-45-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-1. Sections 69-45-1 through 69-45-15 shall be known and may be cited as the "Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program Act."
SECTION 2. Section 69-45-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-3. The Legislature finds that there is a need for a Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program to increase consumer awareness and expand the market for Mississippi's agricultural and manufactured goods and products. The Legislature further finds that the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall promote and advertise such goods and products by various methods including, but not limited to, product identification programs and subsidies, loans and grants * * *.
SECTION 3. Section 69-45-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-5. For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.
(b) "Department" means the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
(c) "Division" means the Division of Market Development within the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
(d) "Mississippi product" means any manufactured or agricultural good or product that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) grown, processed or manufactured in the State of Mississippi.
(e) "Person" means an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, business, trust, legal representative or any other business unit.
(f) "Reproduce" means to stencil, emboss, print, engrave, impress, imprint, lithograph or duplicate in any manner or to cause any such acts to be done.
SECTION 4. Section 69-45-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-7. The department, in its discretion, may establish a program of grants, loans and subsidies to promote the growth, processing, manufacture or sale of Mississippi products. To qualify for a grant, loan or subsidy, a person must make a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution to an approved project in an amount equal to the amount of such grant, loan or subsidy.
SECTION 5. Section 69-45-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-9. (1) The purpose of this chapter is to authorize the division to establish and coordinate the Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program. The duties of the division shall include, but are not limited to:
(a) Developing a logo and authorizing the use of that logo;
(b) Developing a program for loans, grants and subsidies;
(c) Registering participants;
(d) Requesting and collecting financial information from program participants;
(e) Promoting and advertising Mississippi and its agricultural products through the purchase of promotional items and advertising;
(f) Developing in-kind advertising programs and promotional materials; and
(g) Contracting with media representatives for the purpose of dispersing promotional materials.
(2) The commissioner shall promulgate any rules and regulations that he deems to be necessary to implement * * * this act.
SECTION 6. Section 69-45-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-11. Any person who grows, processes, manufactures or sells at retail a Mississippi product may register annually with the department in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the department. The division director shall determine whether or not a person is qualified to register for the benefits available under this chapter, being guided by the standards and criteria set forth herein. The department shall establish the registration fee by regulation. Registration shall entitle the registrant to participate in the program for one (1) year. All registrations shall expire on June 30 of each year. The benefits accruing to registrants include the right to use the logo on their Mississippi products, the right to apply for any loans, grants, or subsidies offered by the department and the right to request any assistance from the department that may be available to market the registrant's products. However, a person who sells a Mississippi product at retail does not have the right to apply for, or receive, a loan, grant or subsidy from the department.
SECTION 7. Section 69-45-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-13. There is created a special fund to be designated as the "Mississippi Agricultural Promotions Fund" within the State Treasury to receive all monies related to the Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program. Monies deposited in the fund shall be expended, upon legislative appropriations, and upon requisition * * * by the Commissioner of Agriculture, for the sole purpose of implementing the Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program. Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund.
SECTION 8. Section 69-45-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-45-15. It is unlawful for any person to use, reproduce or distribute the logo of the Mississippi Agricultural and Commercial Promotions Program without being registered with the department or to otherwise violate * * * this chapter or any rules adopted under this chapter. Any person who violates * * * this chapter or any rule promulgated under this chapter revokes his rights for logo use or any funding hereunder.
SECTION 9. The following section shall be codified as Section 69-45-17, Mississippi Code of 1972:
69-45-17. Any person who violates this chapter or regulation is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
SECTION 10. The following section shall be codified as Section 69-45-19, Mississippi Code of 1972:
69-45-19. If a person violates this chapter, or rules and regulations, administrative proceedings may be brought against the person by filing a written complaint with the department. The matter shall be heard by the division director or his designated representative in an informal meeting between the accused and the division director or his designee. If the division director or his designee finds that the accused did commit a violation, the division director may levy a civil penalty against the accused in an amount as authorized by the regulations of the department, revoke or suspend the registration of the accused, withdraw all benefits that would have otherwise accrued to the accused under this act and require the accused to remove the logo from any goods or products that are in violation of this act before sale. The division director or his designee shall render a written opinion. If either party is aggrieved by the findings of the division director or his designee, he may appeal to the commissioner for a full evidentiary hearing. At the hearing before the commissioner or his designated representative, the matter shall be heard de novo, the commissioner shall have subpoena power, the witnesses shall be placed under oath and the testimony shall be recorded. The commissioner or his designee shall render a written opinion. If either party is aggrieved by the findings of the commissioner, he may appeal to the circuit court of the county of residence of the accused, or, if the accused is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, to the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. If either party is aggrieved by the findings of the circuit court, he may appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court. All fees, costs and penalties collected hereunder from the accused may be retained by the department for its operating expenses. The commissioner may expand and amplify the procedures and other matters mentioned in this section in such rules and regulations that the commissioner deems necessary or desirable to carry out the provisions of this section.
SECTION 11. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2000.