2005 Regular Session
To: Banking and Financial Services; Appropriations
By: Representative Fleming
AN ACT TO CREATE A TASK FORCE TO STUDY THE EFFECTS OF THE MISSISSIPPI PAWNSHOP ACT; TO PROVIDE FOR THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE TASK FORCE; TO AUTHORIZE PER DIEM AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR MILEAGE AND EXPENSES; TO REQUIRE A REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE; TO AMEND SECTION 75-67-321, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO IMPOSE A ONE-YEAR MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF PAWNBROKER LICENSES; TO ALLOW MUNICIPALITIES TO DENY PERMITS IN CERTAIN CENSUS TRACT AREAS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created a task force to study the effects of the Mississippi Pawnshop Act, Section 75-67-301, et seq. The task force shall consist of the following members:
(a) The Attorney General;
(b) One (1) member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker;
(c) One (1) member of the Mississippi State Senate, appointed by the Lt. Governor;
(d) Two (2) members who are law enforcement officers, appointed by the Governor; and
(e) Two (2) pawnbrokers appointed by the Mississippi Pawnbrokers Association.
(2) The task force shall meet and conduct business monthly and all meetings shall be open to the public with opportunities for public comment provided on a regular basis. Notice of all meetings shall be given as provided in the Open Meetings Act.
(3) Members of the task force shall be compensated at the per diem rate authorized by Section 25-3-69 and shall be reimbursed in accordance with Section 25-3-41 for mileage and actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Members may be paid from any funds made available to the task force for that purpose.
(4) The task force shall report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2006.
SECTION 2. Section 75-67-321, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-67-321. (1) A person may not engage in business as a pawnbroker or otherwise portray himself as a pawnbroker unless the person has a valid license authorizing engagement in the business. A separate license is required for each place of business under this article. The commissioner may issue more than one (1) license to a person if that person complies with this article for each license. A new license or application to transfer an existing license is required upon a change, directly or beneficially, in the ownership of any licensed pawnshop and an application shall be made to the commissioner in accordance with this article.
(2) When a licensee wishes to move a pawnshop to another location, the licensee shall give thirty (30) days prior written notice to the commissioner who shall amend the license accordingly.
(3) Each license shall remain in full force and effect until relinquished, suspended, revoked or expired. With each initial application for a license, the applicant shall pay the commissioner a license fee, which includes premiums for examinations, of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), and on or before December 1 of each year thereafter, an annual renewal fee, which includes premiums for examinations, of Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00). However, when more than one (1) license to an applicant is issued, the commissioner, for each subsequent license, may only impose a fee, which includes premiums for examinations, of Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00) at the time of application, and an annual renewal fee, which includes premiums for examinations, of Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00) on or before December 1 of each year thereafter. If the annual fee remains unpaid thirty (30) days after December 1, the license shall thereupon expire, but not before December 31 of any year for which the annual fee has been paid. If any person engages in business as provided for in this article without paying the license fee provided for in this article commencing business or before the expiration of the person's current license, as the case may be, then the person shall be liable for the full amount of the license fee, plus a penalty in an amount not to exceed Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each day that the person has engaged in such business without a license or after the expiration of a license. All licensing fees and penalties authorized in this section shall be paid into the Consumer Finance Fund of the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance.
(4) Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, the commissioner may issue a temporary license authorizing the operator of a pawnshop on the receipt of an application to transfer a license from one person to another or on the receipt of an application for a license involving principals and owners that are substantially identical to those of an existing licensed pawnshop. The temporary license is effective until the permanent license is issued or denied.
(5) Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, neither a new license nor an application to transfer an existing license shall be required upon any change, directly or beneficially, in the ownership of any licensed pawnshop incorporated under the laws of this state or any other state so long as the licensee continues to operate as a corporation doing a pawnshop business under the license. The commissioner may, however, require the licensee to provide such information as he deems reasonable and appropriate concerning the officer and directors of the corporation and persons owning in excess of twenty-five percent (25%) of the outstanding shares of the corporation.
(6) There is hereby imposed a one-year moratorium on the issuance of licenses under this chapter. The moratorium shall begin on July 1, 2005, and end on July 1, 2006. During the moratorium period municipalities are authorized to deny permits to open pawn shops in census tract areas that exceed fifty-five percent (55%) African-American population. This subsection shall stand repealed on July 1, 2006.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.