MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2004 Regular Session

To: Agriculture

By: Representative Eaton

House Bill 1143

AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE CREATION AND ORGANIZATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI BEEF PROMOTION AND RESEARCH PROGRAMAS A SELF-FINANCED, SELF-GOVERNED PROGRAM TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI BEEF COUNCIL IN THE EVENT THAT THE NATIONAL BEEF PROMOTIONS AND RESEARCH PROGRAM SHOULD CEASE TO EXIST; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

†††† SECTION 1.† It is the goal of this act to promote the growth and development of the cattle industry in Mississippi through research, advertisement, promotions, education and market development in the absence of any federal programs.

†††† SECTION 2.† For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

††††††††† (a)† "Producer" means any person who owns or acquires ownership of cattle, except that a person shall not be considered to be a producer if that personís only share in the proceeds of a sale of cattle or beef is a sales commission, handling fee or other service fee.

††††††††† (b)† "Collecting person" means any person or entity who makes payment to a producer for cattle purchased in Mississippi; or any producer marketing to consumers cattle in the form of beef or beef products of that producerís own production; or any firm or marketing agency representing the seller in the delivery of cattle for cattle delivered on futures contracts; or any producer selling cattle to be used in a custom slaughter operation.

††††††††† (c)† "Council" means the "Mississippi Beef Council."

††††††††† (d)† "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce for the State of Mississippi.

†††† SECTION 3.(1)† Within ninety (90) days after the last levy day of the national beef promotion and research program established by the "Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985," the commissioner is authorized to call a referendum to be held, allowing producers to vote as to whether an assessment of One Dollar ($1.00) per head on all cattle sold in the state shall be levied for the purpose of promotion and development of the Mississippi cattle industry.

††††††††† (a)† Each cattle producer who owned or produced cattle in the year immediately preceding the referendum shall be entitled to cast one (1) vote.

††††††††† (b)† The council shall bear all expenses incurred in conducting a referendum.

††††††††† (c)† Should a majority of the producers vote in favor of the assessment, then a sum of One Dollar ($1.00) per head shall be levied on all cattle sold in the state.† This assessment shall be applicable to all sales made on or after a date specified by the commissioner but shall not exceedninety (90) days after certification of the results of the election.

††††††††† (d)† The assessment shall be a continuing levy until either terminated by the council or repealed by a majority vote in a subsequent referendum.

†††† (2)† Subsequent referendums:

††††††††† (a)† The commissioner shall call for a subsequent referendum to allow producers to vote on the assessment.† The referendum shall be specified by the commissioner but shall be heldno less than one (1) year or no more than five (5) years from the beginning of the assessment.

††††††††† (b)† If any referendum conducted should fail to receive a majority affirmative votes, then the commissioner shall be authorized to call another referendum in the next succeeding year; provided, that no such referendum shall be held within a period of twelve (12) months from the date on which the last referendum was held.

†††† (3)† If this program is terminated as a result of referendum vote or for any other reason, the provisions of this act shall expire.† Collections received before the last day of the program as designated by the commissioner, shall be expended within ninety (90) days in the manner in which the program was operated.

†††† (4)† The commissioner, with the approval of the council, may promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.

†††† SECTION 4.Each collecting person shall collect and remit the assessments levied by this act in accordance with Section 3 of this act.

†††† SECTION 5.Each collecting person shall remit all assessments to the council with the report no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of the period.

††††††††† (a)† Assessments collected by the council are not state funds and shall not be required to be deposited in the State Treasury.

††††††††† (b)† Each calendar month shall be a reporting period.† The reporting period shall end at the close of business on the last day of the month.

††††††††† (c)† Required report information and forms shall be determined and provided by the council.

†††† SECTION 6.† The council may accept monetary gifts, donations and grants from public as well as private sources.

†††† SECTION 7. †By July 31 of each year, the council shall submit to the commissioner a complete report of all revenues and expenditures that were generated by the administration ofthis program in a format that has been approved by the commissioner.

†††† SECTION 8.† (1)† Any producer may request and receive a refund of assessments levied on the sale of his/her cattle.

††††††††† (a)† The request may be made only by the producer.

††††††††† (b)† The request must be made to the council in writing within forty-five (45) days from the date of sale.

††††††††† (c)† The request must include the name and address of the sale market or purchaser, date of sale, number of head sold to which the assessment was levied and proof that the assessment was deducted.

†††† (2)† The council shall mail payment to the requesting producer assessment refunds within thirty (30) days of receiving the request.

†††† SECTION 9.† (1)† Any collecting person, who fails to file a report or pay any assessment within the time requiredby the commissioner, shall remitto the council a penalty of five percent (5%) of the assessment determined to be due, plus one percent (1%) for each month of delay, or fraction thereof, beginning the first month after the report was required to be filed or the assessment became due.

†††† (2) †Any person who makes a false claim shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) payable to the council.

†††† (3)† Any person required to pay an assessment as provided by this act, who refuses to allow full inspection of their records by the councilrelating to the liability of the person for the assessment imposed by this act or who shall hinder or in any way delay or prevent the inspection of their records shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

†††† SECTION 10.† This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.