2004 Regular Session
To: Economic Development and Tourism; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Jordan, Horhn, Gordon, Simmons, Thomas, Butler, Dearing, Tollison, Walls, Browning, Jackson (11th), Frazier, Gollott, Lee (47th), Harvey, Hyde-Smith, Posey, Williamson, Burton, Jackson (15th), Doxey, Brown, Michel, Dawkins, Wilemon, Chaney, Clarke, Lee (35th), Chamberlin, Morgan, Kirby, Carmichael, Ross, Robertson, Moffatt, Little, Nunnelee, Mettetal, Huggins, King, Flowers, Jackson (32nd), Turner, Harden, Thames, Hewes
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A MISSISSIPPI BLUES COMMISSION TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO PROMOTE AUTHENTIC MISSISSIPPI "BLUES" MUSIC AND "BLUES CULTURE" FOR PURPOSES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; TO PRESCRIBE THE FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION; TO EMPOWER THE COMMISSION TO ACCEPT AND EXPEND GRANT FUNDS; TO PROVIDE FOR INTERDEPARTMENTAL COOPERATION; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO PURCHASE AND ERECT "MISSISSIPPI BLUES TRAIL" HISTORICAL MARKERS WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is hereby created the Mississippi Blues Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "commission," to be in existence for the period from July 1, 2004, to July 1, 2008. The commission may accept and expend grants and private donations from any source, including federal, state, public and private entities, to assist it to carry out its functions.
(2) For purposes of this act, the term "blues" shall mean African-American roots music and the culture that created it.
(3) The powers, functions and duties of the commission shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) To study, deliberate and report to the Governor and the Legislature on or before January 1, 2005, on the best method to market and foster an appreciation of the blues, to include tourism, academic study and blues archives, blues historical preservation, blues cultural education and the support of performing artists. Such marketing plan shall be designed to attract tourists, conferences, music performances, filmmakers and others for the purpose of economic development of all geographic areas of the state through the promotion of the blues and the heritage and culture that produced the blues, and to analyze the tourism potential of the blues for Mississippi.
(b) To make an inventory of blues "assets" that make up the blues and blues culture that could be developed into a program for domestic and international tourism, and opportunities for investment.
(c) To establish a statewide Mississippi "Blues Trail" infrastructure to offer to tourists and targeted groups a structured tour of Mississippi blues historical sites and performance venues.
(d) Coordination with the Division of Tourism of the Mississippi Development Authority, the Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the Mississippi Educational Television Authority, the State Institutions of Higher Learning, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, the University Center for Economic Development at Mississippi Valley State University, the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, the Delta Blues Museum, the Delta Music Institute, the Mississippi Arts Commission and similar organizations to share resources and information in order to ensure a comprehensive approach to marketing the blues and blues culture in Mississippi.
(e) To make recommendations regarding the establishment of, and budgeting for a permanent Mississippi Office of the Blues as an agency of state government with an executive director and appropriate staff to carry out the marketing plan developed by the commission. To the extent practical, any office shall be located at an existing public or private location which is appropriate to the blues or blues culture in Mississippi, with minimal cost to the state.
(f) Coordination of the blues marketing plan with any existing state historic preservation programs, in order to:
(i) Identify and preserve blues historic properties;
(ii) Determine the eligibility of such properties for listing on the National Register;
(iii) Prepare nominations of such sites for inclusion on the National Register;
(iv) Maintenance of blues historical and archaeological data bases; and
(v) Evaluation of such sites for eligibility for state and federal preservation incentives.
(4) The commission shall be composed of the following members:
(a) The Director of the Division of Tourism of the Mississippi Development Authority;
(b) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, or his designee;
(c) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, or his designee;
(d) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Educational Television Authority, or his designee;
(e) The Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi;
(f) The Director of the University Center for Economic Development at Mississippi Valley State University;
(g) The Director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University;
(h) The State Director of the USDA Rural Development Agency;
(i) Two (2) members of the Mississippi Senate designated by the Lieutenant Governor, who shall serve on a nonvoting basis;
(j) Two (2) members of the Mississippi House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House, who shall serve on a nonvoting basis;
(k) Two (2) members appointed by the Governor, who shall have experience in cultural affairs or tourism development in the Mississippi Delta; and
(l) Four (4) members appointed by the Governor from the state at large, who shall have demonstrated a commitment to the understanding and promotion of the blues.
(5) The Governor shall designate one (1) commission member to serve as chairman for a term concurrent with that of the Governor. The commission shall meet upon the call of the chairman not later than August 1, 2004, and shall organize for business by adopting internal organizational procedures necessary for efficient operation of the commission, including officers, quorum requirements and policies for any commission staff. Each member of the commission shall designate necessary staff of their departments to provide administrative support to assist the commission in performing its duties and responsibilities. The commission shall meet and conduct business at least quarterly. Meetings of the commission shall be open to the public and opportunity for public comment shall be made available.
(6) Members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
(7) The commission shall submit a report, including any proposed legislation, to the Governor and to the Legislature before the convening of the 2005 Regular Session. The report shall include a comprehensive state plan for marketing the blues as specifically provided above.
(8) All departments, boards, agencies, officers and institutions of the state and all subdivisions thereof shall cooperate with the commission in carrying out its purposes under this act.
(9) Any funds or donations received by the commission shall be deposited into a special fund which is hereby created in the State Treasury, and disbursement therefrom shall be made upon warrants by the Department of Finance and Administration after receipt of requisitions submitted by the appropriate person designated by the commission. Monies in the special fund may be used by the commission in carrying out its responsibilities under this act.
SECTION 2. The commission shall designate specific sites for erection of appropriate "Mississippi Blues Trail" markers to offer to tourists and targeted groups a structured tour of Mississippi blues historical sites and performance venues. The commission shall be authorized to purchase appropriate Mississippi Blues Trail markers from any of its available funds. The texts for the Mississippi Blues Trail markers shall be approved by the commission. The Mississippi Department of Transportation shall cooperate with the commission by erecting and maintaining the markers that have been approved by the commission.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.