2005 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Dawkins
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 33-15-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNOR TO DECLARE A STATE OF ALERT; TO ENACT A DEFINITION OF "TERRORISM"; TO AMEND SECTION 13-1-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PERMIT DISCLOSURE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY DECLARATION BY THE GOVERNOR; TO AMEND SECTION 13-1-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW DECLARATION OF PRESUMPTION OF DEATH IN SITUATIONS OF MASS CASUALTIES; TO AMEND SECTION 41-23-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXPAND THE CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES, CONDITIONS OR THREATS WHICH ARE REPORTABLE, TO REQUIRE VETERINARIANS AND OTHER PERSONS WORKING IN THE ANIMAL HEALTH FIELD TO REPORT, AND TO REQUIRE PHARMACIST REPORTING OF UNUSUAL PRESCRIPTIONS OR RATES OF PRESCRIPTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 41-23-2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE PENALTY FOR ANY PERSON VIOLATING A LAWFUL ORDER OF THE COUNTY, DISTRICT OR STATE HEALTH OFFICER; TO AMEND SECTION 41-23-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH; TO AMEND SECTION 41-3-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO INSPECT ANY PLACE RATHER THAN ONLY A PUBLIC PLACE; TO CREATE NEW SECTION 41-39-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY MEASURES TO HANDLE LARGE NUMBERS OF CORPSES OR HUMAN REMAINS; TO AMEND SECTION 41-29-133, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE A CENTRAL REPORTING BUREAU FOR PHARMACISTS TO REPORT CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING UNUSUAL PRESCRIPTIONS OR RATES OF PRESCRIPTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 11-46-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY FOR RESPONSE TO A TERRORISTIC THREAT OR ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 33-15-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
33-15-11. (a) The Governor shall have general direction and control of the activities of the Emergency Management Agency and Council and shall be responsible for the carrying out of the provisions of this article, and in the event of a man-made, technological or natural disaster or emergency beyond local control, may assume direct operational control over all or any part of the emergency management functions within this state.
(b) In performing his duties under this article, the Governor is further authorized and empowered:
(1) To make, amend and rescind the necessary orders, rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this article with due consideration of the plans of the federal government, and to enter into disaster assistance grants and agreements with the federal government under the terms as may be required by federal law.
(2) To work with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency in preparing a comprehensive plan and program for the emergency management of this state, such plan and program to be integrated into and coordinated with the emergency management plans of the federal government and of other states to the fullest possible extent, and to coordinate the preparation of plans and programs for emergency management by the political subdivisions of this state, such local plans to be integrated into and coordinated with the emergency management plan and program of this state to the fullest possible extent.
(3) In accordance with such plan and program for emergency management of this state, to ascertain the requirements of the state or the political subdivisions thereof for food or clothing or other necessities of life in the event of attack or natural or man-made or technological disasters and to plan for and procure supplies, medicines, materials and equipment, and to use and employ from time to time any of the property, services and resources within the state, for the purposes set forth in this article; to make surveys of the industries, resources and facilities within the state as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this article; to institute training programs and public information programs, and to take all other preparatory steps, including the partial or full mobilization of emergency management organizations in advance of actual disaster, to insure the furnishing of adequately trained and equipped forces of emergency management personnel in time of need.
(4) To cooperate with the President and the heads of the Armed Forces, and the Emergency Management Agency of the United States, and with the officers and agencies of other states in matters pertaining to the emergency management of the state and nation and the incidents thereof; and in connection therewith, to take any measures which he may deem proper to carry into effect any request of the President and the appropriate federal officers and agencies, for any action looking to emergency management, including the direction or control of (a) blackouts and practice blackouts, air raid drills, mobilization of emergency management forces, and other tests and exercises, (b) warnings and signals for drills or attacks and the mechanical devices to be used in connection therewith, (c) the effective screening or extinguishing of all lights and lighting devices and appliances, (d) shutting off water mains, gas mains, electric power connections and the suspension of all other utility services, (e) the conduct of civilians and the movement and cessation of movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic during, prior and subsequent to drills or attack, (f) public meetings or gatherings under emergency conditions, and (g) the evacuation and reception of the civilian population.
(5) To take such action and give such directions to state and local law enforcement officers and agencies as may be reasonable and necessary for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this article and with the orders, rules and regulations made pursuant thereto.
(6) To employ such measures and give such directions to the state or local boards of health as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this article or with the findings or recommendations of such boards of health by reason of conditions arising from enemy attack or the threat of enemy attack or natural, man-made or technological disaster.
(7) To utilize the services and facilities of existing officers and agencies of the state and of the political subdivisions thereof; and all such officers and agencies shall cooperate with and extend their services and facilities to the Governor as he may request.
(8) To establish agencies and offices and to appoint executive, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this article including, with due consideration to the recommendation of the local authorities, part-time or full-time state and regional area directors.
(9) To delegate any authority vested in him under this article, and to provide for the subdelegation of any such authority.
(10) On behalf of this state to enter into reciprocal aid agreements or compacts with other states and the federal government, either on a statewide basis or local political subdivision basis or with a neighboring state or province of a foreign country. Such mutual aid arrangements shall be limited to the furnishings or exchange of food, clothing, medicine and other supplies; engineering services; emergency housing; police services; national or state guards while under the control of the state; health, medical and related services; fire fighting, rescue, transportation and construction services and equipment; personnel necessary to provide or conduct these services; and such other supplies, equipment, facilities, personnel and services as may be needed; the reimbursement of costs and expenses for equipment, supplies, personnel and similar items for mobile support units, fire fighting and police units and health units; and on such terms and conditions as are deemed necessary.
(11) To sponsor and develop mutual aid plans and agreements between the political subdivisions of the state, similar to the mutual aid arrangements with other states referred to above.
(12) To collect information and data for assessment of vulnerabilities and capabilities within the borders of Mississippi as it pertains to the nation and state's security and homeland defense. This information shall be exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act, Section 25-61-1 et seq.
(13) Authorize any agency or arm of the state to create a special emergency management revolving fund, accept donations, contributions, fees, grants, including federal funds, as may be necessary for such agency or arm of the state to administer its functions of this article as set forth in the Executive Order of the Governor.
(14) To authorize the Commissioner of Public Safety to select, train, organize and equip a ready reserve of auxiliary highway patrolmen.
(15) To suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and combustibles.
(16) To control, restrict and regulate by rationing, freezing, use of quotas, prohibitions on shipments, price fixing, allocation or other means, the use, sale or distribution of food, feed, fuel, clothing and other commodities, materials, goods or services.
(17) To proclaim a state of emergency or state of alert in an area affected or likely to be affected thereby when he finds that the conditions described in Section 33-15-5(g) exist, or when he is requested to do so by the mayor of a municipality or by the president of the board of supervisors of a county, or when he finds that a local authority is unable to cope with the emergency. Such proclamation shall be in writing and shall take effect immediately upon its execution by the Governor. As soon thereafter as possible, such proclamation shall be filed with the Secretary of State and be given widespread notice and publicity. The Governor, upon advice of the director, shall review the need for continuing the state of emergency at least every thirty (30) days until the emergency is terminated and shall proclaim the termination of the state of emergency at the earliest possible date that conditions warrant.
(c) In addition to the powers conferred upon the Governor in this section, the Legislature hereby expressly delegates to the Governor the following powers and duties in the event of an impending enemy attack, an enemy attack, or a man-made, technological or natural disaster where such disaster is beyond local control:
(1) To suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules or regulations of any state agency, if strict compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, rule or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster or emergency.
(2) To transfer the direction, personnel or functions of state agencies, boards, commissions or units thereof for the purpose of performing or facilitating disaster or emergency services.
(3) To commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with a disaster or emergency, provided that such private property so commandeered or utilized shall be paid for under terms and conditions agreed upon by the participating parties. The owner of said property shall immediately be given a receipt for the said private property and said receipt shall serve as a valid claim against the Treasury of the State of Mississippi for the agreed upon market value of said property.
(4) To perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as may be necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population in coping with a disaster or emergency.
SECTION 2. The term "terrorism" means activities that involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are intended to and do put another person in fear of serious bodily harm under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to affect the conduct of government through the activities.
SECTION 3. Section 13-1-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-1-21. (1) All communications made to a physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor by a patient under his charge or by one seeking professional advice are hereby declared to be privileged, and such party shall not be required to disclose the same in any legal proceeding except at the instance of the patient or, in case of the death of the patient, at the instance of his personal representative or legal heirs in case there be no personal representative, or except, if the validity of the will of the decedent is in question, at the instance of the personal representative or any of the legal heirs or any contestant or proponent of the will.
(2) There shall be waiver of the medical privilege of patients regarding the release of medical information to health care personnel, the State Board of Health or local health departments, made to comply with Sections 41-3-15, 41-23-1 and 41-23-2 and related rules * * *. The medical privilege likewise shall be waived to allow any physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor to report to the State Department of Health necessary information regarding any person afflicted with any communicable disease or infected with the causative agent thereof who neglects or refuses to comply with accepted protective measures to prevent the transmission of the communicable disease or in cases of actual, threatened or reasonably suspected chemical or biological terrorism.
(3) Willful violations of the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punishable as provided for by law. Any physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist, or chiropractor shall be civilly liable for damages for any willful or reckless and wanton acts or omissions constituting such violations.
(4) In any action commenced or claim made after July 1, 1983, against a physician, hospital, hospital employee, osteopath, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor for professional services rendered or which should have been rendered, the delivery of written notice of such claim or the filing of such an action shall constitute a waiver of the medical privilege and any medical information relevant to the allegation upon which the cause of action or claim is based shall be disclosed upon the request of the defendant, or his or her counsel.
(5) In any disciplinary action commencing on or after July 1, 1987, against a medical physician, an osteopathic physician or a podiatrist pursuant to the provisions of Sections 73-25-1 through 73-25-39, 73-25-51 through 73-25-67, 73-25-81 through 73-25-95 and 73-27-1 through 73-27-19, waiver of the medical privilege of a patient to the extent of any information other than that which would identify the patient shall be implied.
SECTION 4. Section 41-23-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-23-1. (1) The State Board of Health shall adopt rules and regulations (a) defining and classifying communicable diseases and other diseases, conditions and threats that are a danger to health based upon the characteristics of the disease, condition or threat; and (b) establishing reporting, monitoring, examination, treatment and preventive procedures for those diseases, conditions or threats.
(2) Upon the death of any person who has been diagnosed as having Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) or any Class 1 disease as designated by the State Board of Health, in a hospital or other health care facility, in all other cases where there is an attending physician, and in cases in which the medical examiner, as defined in Section 41-61-53(f), investigates and certifies the cause of death, the attending physician, the person in charge of the hospital or health care facility, or the medical examiner, as the case may be, shall report as soon as practicable to the Executive Officer of the State Board of Health or to other authorities the cause or contributing cause of death as required by the State Board of Health. Such reporting shall be according to procedures as required by the State Board of Health.
(3) Upon the death of any person who has been diagnosed as having Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), where there is not an attending physician, any family member or other person making disposition of the body who knows that such decedent had been diagnosed as having HIV/AIDS shall report this fact to the medical examiner as defined in Section 41-61-53(f), who shall report as soon as practicable to the Executive Officer of the State Board of Health or to other authorities the cause or contributing cause of death as required by the State Board of Health. Such reporting shall be according to procedures as required by the State Board of Health.
(4) Every practicing or licensed physician, or person in charge of a hospital, health care facility, insurance company which causes to be performed blood tests for underwriting purposes or laboratory, shall report immediately to the Executive Officer of the State Board of Health or to other authorities as required by the State Board of Health every case of such diseases and conditions as shall be required to be reported by the State Board of Health. Such reporting shall be according to procedures, and shall include such information about the case, as shall be required by the State Board of Health. Insurance companies having such blood test results shall report immediately to the Executive Officer of the State Board of Health or to other authorities as required by the State Board of Health every case of such diseases and conditions as shall be required to be reported by the State Board of Health. The insurance company shall notify the individual on whom the blood test was performed in writing by certified mail of an adverse underwriting decision based upon the results of such individual's blood test but shall not disclose the specific results of such blood tests to the individual. The insurance company shall also inform the individual on whom the blood test was performed that the results of the blood test will be sent to the physician designated by the individual at the time of application and that such physician should be contacted for information regarding the blood test results. If a physician was not designated at the time of application, the insurance company shall request that the individual name a physician to whom a copy of the blood test can be sent.
(5) Any practicing or licensed physician, or person in charge of a hospital or health care facility, who knows that a patient has a medical condition specified by the Department of Health as requiring special precautions by health care providers, shall report this fact and the need for appropriate precautions to any other institution or provider of health care services to whom such patient is transferred or referred, according to regulations established by the State Board of Health.
(6) Any practicing or licensed physician or person in charge of a hospital, health care facility or laboratory who fails to make the reports required under this section regarding Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) or any Class 1 disease or condition as designated by the State Board of Health shall be reported to the Board of Medical Licensure, in the case of a physician, or to the applicable licensing agency in the case of institutions, and such failure shall be grounds for suspension of license.
(7) Every veterinarian, livestock owner, veterinary diagnostic laboratory director or other person having the care of animals shall report animals having or suspected of having any disease that may be caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or novel and highly fatal infectious agents or biological or other toxins that might pose a substantial risk of a significant number of human or animal fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability.
(8) Any person other than a practicing or licensed physician, or person in charge of a hospital or health care facility, willfully failing to make the reports required under this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by confinement in the county jail for not more than thirty (30) days, or both.
(9) The provisions of this section are cumulative and supplemental to any other provision of law, and a conviction or penalty imposed under this section shall not preclude any other action at law, proceedings for professional discipline or other criminal proceedings.
(10) Notwithstanding any law of this state to the contrary, the State Board of Health is authorized to establish the rules by which exceptions may be made to the confidentiality provisions of the laws of this state for the notification of third parties of an individual's infection with any Class 1 or Class 2 disease, as designated by the State Board of Health, when exposure is indicated or there exists a threat to the public health and welfare. All notifications authorized by this section shall be within the rules established according to this subsection. All persons who receive notification of the infectious condition of an individual under this subsection and the rules established under this subsection shall hold such information in the strictest of confidence and privilege, shall not reveal the information to others, and shall take only those actions necessary to protect the health of the infected person or other persons where there is a foreseeable, real or probable risk of transmission of the disease.
(11) Each public or private correctional facility housing state offenders, federal offenders or offenders from any other jurisdiction shall require all offenders in the facility to be tested for tuberculosis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in conjunction with the rules and regulations of the State Department of Health. The reporting shall be according to procedures and shall include any information about the case that is required by the State Board of Health. In order to carry out the provisions of this section, the following shall apply:
(a) Any such public or private correctional facility may contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the Mississippi State Department of Health, or other such appropriate state, federal or local entity for the inspection, monitoring or provision of any assistance necessary or desirable to maintain appropriate facilities for the purpose of identification, prevention, and treatment of communicable diseases and other conditions considered prejudicial to public health; and
(b) Any such public or private correctional facility shall grant representatives of the State Department of Health, in the discharge of its duties, access to all areas of the facility and to the offenders and staff at all times. The facility shall reimburse the State Department of Health for all costs incurred for the control of communicable diseases or other conditions prejudicial to public health in the facility and for the costs incurred for the control of communicable diseases or other conditions prejudicial to public health spreading from the facility, staff or inmates to other individuals or property in the county or state.
SECTION 5. Section 41-23-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-23-2. Any person who shall knowingly and willfully violate the lawful order of the county, district or State Health Officer where that person is afflicted with a life-threatening communicable disease or condition or the causative agent thereof, or who shall knowingly and willfully violate the lawful order of the county, district or State Health Officer subsequent to the issuance by the Governor of an order declaring a state of alert or emergency due to the health threat where such order is intended to prevent the spread of a disease, condition or threat which poses a clear and present danger to the public health, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or by imprisonment in the Penitentiary for not more than five (5) years, or by both.
SECTION 6. Section 41-23-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-23-5. (1) The State Department of Health shall have the authority to investigate and control the causes of epidemic, infectious and other disease, condition or threat affecting the public health, including the authority to establish, maintain and enforce isolation and quarantine and decontaminate buildings, and in pursuance thereof, to exercise such physical control over property and individuals as the department may find necessary for the protection of the public health.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, following a declaration of emergency or war emergency by the Governor, the State Health Officer may exercise such authority as he deems proper and necessary to protect the public health, including investigation and certification as to the cause of death, and may appoint private physicians to conduct said investigations into and certifications of the cause of death.
SECTION 7. Section 13-1-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-1-23. (1) Any person who shall remain beyond the sea, or absent himself from this state, or conceal himself in this state, for seven (7) years successively without being heard of, shall be presumed to be dead in any case where his death shall come in question, unless proof be made that he was alive within that time. Any property or estate recovered in any such case shall be restored to the person evicted or deprived thereof, if, in a subsequent action, it shall be proved that the person so presumed to be dead is living.
(2) In the event the Governor declares a state of emergency due to terrorism or other disaster resulting in mass casualties, the chancery court may order presumption of death in the absence of recovery of a corpse after a reasonable period of less than seven (7) years should the person be unable to be located with whereabouts unknown, and it reasonably appears to the court that the person died as a result of the event causing the mass casualties.
SECTION 8. Section 41-3-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-3-15. (1) There shall be a State Department of Health which shall be organized into such bureaus and divisions as are considered necessary by the executive officer, and shall be assigned appropriate functions as are required of the State Board of Health by law, subject to the approval of the board.
(2) The State Board of Health shall have the authority to establish an Office of Rural Health within the department. The duties and responsibilities of this office shall include the following:
(a) To collect and evaluate data on rural health conditions and needs;
(b) To engage in policy analysis, policy development and economic impact studies with regard to rural health issues;
(c) To develop and implement plans and provide technical assistance to enable community health systems to respond to various changes in their circumstances;
(d) To plan and assist in professional recruitment and retention of medical professionals and assistants; and
(e) To establish information clearinghouses to improve access to and sharing of rural health care information.
(3) The State Board of Health shall have general supervision of the health interests of the people of the state and to exercise the rights, powers and duties of those acts which it is authorized by law to enforce.
(4) The State Board of Health shall have authority:
(a) To make investigations and inquiries with respect to the causes of disease and death, and to investigate the effect of environment, including conditions of employment and other conditions which may affect health, and to make such other investigations as it may deem necessary for the preservation and improvement of health.
(b) To make such sanitary investigations as it may, from time to time, deem necessary for the protection and improvement of health and to investigate nuisance questions which affect the security of life and health within the state.
(c) To direct and control sanitary and quarantine measures for dealing with all diseases within the state possible to suppress same and prevent their spread.
(d) To obtain, collect and preserve such information relative to mortality, morbidity, disease and health as may be useful in the discharge of its duties or may contribute to the prevention of disease or the promotion of health in this state.
(e) To enter into contracts or agreements with any other state or federal agency, or with any private person, organization or group capable of contracting, if it finds such action to be in the public interest.
(f) To charge and collect reasonable fees for health services, including immunizations, inspections and related activities, and the board shall charge fees for such services; provided, however, if it is determined that a person receiving services is unable to pay the total fee, the board shall collect any amount such person is able to pay.
(g) To accept gifts, trusts, bequests, grants, endowments or transfers of property of any kind.
(h) To receive monies coming to it by way of fees for services or by appropriations.
(i) (i) To establish standards for, issue permits and exercise control over, any cafes, restaurants, food or drink stands, sandwich manufacturing establishments, and all other establishments, other than churches, church-related and private schools, and other nonprofit or charitable organizations, where food or drink is regularly prepared, handled and served for pay; and
(ii) To require that a permit be obtained from the Department of Health before such persons begin operation.
(j) To promulgate rules and regulations and exercise control over the production and sale of milk pursuant to the provisions of Sections 75-31-41 through 75-31-49.
(k) On presentation of proper authority, to enter into or onto and inspect any * * * place or building where the State Health Officer or his representative deems it necessary and proper to enter for the discovery and suppression of disease and for the enforcement of any health or sanitary laws and regulations in the state.
(l) To conduct investigations, inquiries and hearings, and to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and records at any hearing when authorized and required by statute to be conducted by the State Health Officer or the State Board of Health.
(m) To employ, subject to the regulations of the State Personnel Board, qualified professional personnel in the subject matter or fields of each bureau, and such other technical and clerical staff as may be required for the operation of the department. The executive officer shall be the appointing authority for the department, and shall have the power to delegate the authority to appoint or dismiss employees to appropriate subordinates, subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board.
(n) To promulgate rules and regulations, and to collect data and information, on (i) the delivery of services through the practice of telemedicine; and (ii) the use of electronic records for the delivery of telemedicine services.
(o) To enforce and regulate domestic and imported fish as authorized under Section 69-7-601 et seq.
(5) (a) The State Board of Health shall have the authority, in its discretion, to establish programs to promote the public health, to be administered by the State Department of Health. Specifically, such programs may include, but shall not be limited to, programs in the following areas:
(i) Maternal and child health;
(ii) Family planning;
(iii) Pediatric services;
(iv) Services to crippled and disabled children;
(v) Control of communicable and noncommunicable disease;
(vi) Child care licensure;
(vii) Radiological health;
(viii) Dental health;
(ix) Milk sanitation;
(x) Occupational safety and health;
(xi) Food, vector control and general sanitation;
(xii) Protection of drinking water;
(xiii) Sanitation in food handling establishments open to the public;
(xiv) Registration of births and deaths and other vital events;
(xv) Such public health programs and services as may be assigned to the State Board of Health by the Legislature or by executive order; and
(xvi) Regulation of domestic and imported fish for human consumption.
(b) The State Board of Health and State Department of Health shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, alienate or otherwise dispose of any of the home health agencies owned and operated by the department on January 1, 1995, and shall not be authorized to sell, transfer, assign, alienate or otherwise dispose of the license of any of those home health agencies, except upon the specific authorization of the Legislature by an amendment to this section. However, this paragraph (b) shall not prevent the board or the department from closing or terminating the operation of any home health agency owned and operated by the department, or closing or terminating any office, branch office or clinic of any such home health agency, or otherwise discontinuing the providing of home health services through any such home health agency, office, branch office or clinic, if the board first demonstrates that there are other providers of home health services in the area being served by the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic that will be able to provide adequate home health services to the residents of the area if the department's home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is closed or otherwise discontinues the providing of home health services. This demonstration by the board that there are other providers of adequate home health services in the area shall be spread at length upon the minutes of the board at a regular or special meeting of the board at least thirty (30) days before a home health agency, office, branch office or clinic is proposed to be closed or otherwise discontinue the providing of home health services.
(c) The State Department of Health may undertake such technical programs and activities as may be required for the support and operation of such programs, including maintaining physical, chemical, bacteriological and radiological laboratories, and may make such diagnostic tests for diseases and tests for the evaluation of health hazards as may be deemed necessary for the protection of the people of the state.
(6) (a) The State Board of Health shall administer the local governments and rural water systems improvements loan program in accordance with the provisions of Section 41-3-16.
(b) The State Board of Health shall have authority:
(i) To enter into capitalization grant agreements with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or any successor agency thereto;
(ii) To accept capitalization grant awards made under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended;
(iii) To provide annual reports and audits to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as may be required by federal capitalization grant agreements; and
(iv) To establish and collect fees to defray the reasonable costs of administering the revolving fund or emergency fund if the State Board of Health determines that such costs will exceed the limitations established in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended. The administration fees may be included in loan amounts to loan recipients for the purpose of facilitating payment to the board; however, such fees may not exceed five percent (5%) of the loan amount.
SECTION 9. The following shall be codified as Section 41-39-55, Mississippi Code of 1972:
41-39-55. The Mississippi State Board of Health may exercise, for such period as a state of emergency or public health emergency exists, the following powers regarding the safe disposal of corpses:
(a) Adopt and enforce measures to provide for the safe disposal of corpses as may be reasonably necessary for emergency response. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, the embalming, burial, cremation, interment, disinterment, transportation and disposal of corpses.
(b) Take possession of or control of any corpse or other remains.
(c) Dispose of or order the disposal of any corpse or other remains of a person who has died of an infectious disease, communicable disease or other condition or threat to the public health, through burial or cremation within a period of time to be determined by the State Health Officer.
(d) Compel any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport or dispose of corpses to accept any corpse or provide the use of its business or facility if such actions are reasonable and necessary for emergency response. The use of the business or facility may include transferring the management and supervision of such business or facility to the State Health Officer for a limited or unlimited period of time, but shall not exceed the termination of the state of emergency or public health emergency.
(e) To procure, by condemnation or otherwise, any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport and dispose of corpses as may be reasonable and necessary for emergency response, with the right to take immediate possession thereof.
(f) Every corpse prior to disposal shall be clearly labeled with all available information to identify the decedent and the circumstances of death. Any corpse of a deceased person with an infectious disease shall have an external, clearly visible tag indicating that the corpse is infected and, if known, the infectious disease.
(g) Every person in charge of disposing of any corpse shall maintain a written and photographic record of each corpse and all available information to identify the decedent and the circumstances of death and disposal. If a corpse cannot be identified, prior to disposal a qualified person shall, to the extent possible, take fingerprints and one or more photographs of the corpse, and collect a DNA specimen. All information gathered under this paragraph shall be forwarded to the Department of Health.
SECTION 10. Section 41-29-133, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-29-133. (1) Persons registered to manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances under this article shall keep records and maintain inventories in conformance with the record keeping and inventory requirements of federal law and with any additional rules the State Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Medical Licensure, the State Board of Dental Examiners or the Mississippi Board of Nursing may issue.
(2) Persons registered to dispense controlled substances under this article may report any unusual or increased prescription rates, unusual types of prescriptions, or unusual trends in pharmacy visits that may be caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or novel and highly fatal infectious agents or biological or other toxins that might pose a substantial risk of a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability. Prescription-related events that suggest a report include, but are not limited to: an unusual increase in the number of prescriptions to treat fever, respiratory or gastrointestinal complaints; an unusual increase in the number of prescriptions for antibiotics; an unusual increase in the number of requests for information on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to treat fever, respiratory or gastrointestinal complaints; and any prescription that treats a disease that is relatively uncommon and has bioterrorism potential. The report may be transmitted to the State Board of Pharmacy central repository and include as much of the following information as possible:
(a) Recipient's name, when feasible to submit;
(b) Recipient's identification number;
(c) National Drug Code number of the substance dispensed;
(d) Date of the dispensation;
(e) Quantity of the substance dispensed;
(f) Prescriber's United States Drug Enforcement Administration registration number; and
(g) Dispenser's registration number and location.
(3) The information collected at the central repository pursuant to subsection (2) of this section shall be confidential and shall not be open to the public. Access to the information shall be limited to:
(a) Bureau of Narcotics agents and special contract agents of the bureau pursuant to Section 41-29-112;
(b) The United States Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Group Supervisor; and
(c) The executive director or chief investigator as designated by each board, of the State Boards of Dental Examiners, Pharmacy, Medical Licensure, Nursing and Veterinary Medical Examiners, provided, however, that the executive director or chief investigator of each of these boards shall be limited to access to information relevant to licensees of his employing board.
(4) Any unauthorized disclosure of any information collected at the central repository shall be a misdemeanor. Violation of the provisions of this subsection (4) shall be deemed willful neglect of duty and shall be grounds for removal from office.
(5) All access to information in the central repository shall be controlled by and made through the State Board of Pharmacy, which shall develop criteria for the production of exception reports out of the information collected at the central repository in consultation with the State Boards of Dental Examiners, Medical Licensure, and Veterinary Medical Examiners, and Mississippi Dental Association, Mississippi Pharmaceutical Association, Mississippi State Medical Association, Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association and Bureau of Narcotics in developing these criteria.
(6) The State Board of Pharmacy shall promulgate and adopt rules to implement and enforce this section.
SECTION 11. Section 11-46-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-46-9. (1) A governmental entity and its employees acting within the course and scope of their employment or duties shall not be liable for any claim:
(a) Arising out of a legislative or judicial action or inaction, or administrative action or inaction of a legislative or judicial nature;
(b) Arising out of any act or omission of an employee of a governmental entity exercising ordinary care in reliance upon, or in the execution or performance of, or in the failure to execute or perform, a statute, ordinance or regulation, whether or not the statute, ordinance or regulation be valid;
(c) Arising out of any act or omission of an employee of a governmental entity engaged in the performance or execution of duties or activities relating to police or fire protection unless the employee acted in reckless disregard of the safety and well-being of any person not engaged in criminal activity at the time of injury;
(d) Based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a governmental entity or employee thereof, whether or not the discretion be abused;
(e) Arising out of an injury caused by adopting or failing to adopt a statute, ordinance or regulation;
(f) Which is limited or barred by the provisions of any other law;
(g) Arising out of the exercise of discretion in determining whether or not to seek or provide the resources necessary for the purchase of equipment, the construction or maintenance of facilities, the hiring of personnel and, in general, the provision of adequate governmental services;
(h) Arising out of the issuance, denial, suspension or revocation of, or the failure or refusal to issue, deny, suspend or revoke any privilege, ticket, pass, permit, license, certificate, approval, order or similar authorization where the governmental entity or its employee is authorized by law to determine whether or not such authorization should be issued, denied, suspended or revoked unless such issuance, denial, suspension or revocation, or failure or refusal thereof, is of a malicious or arbitrary and capricious nature;
(i) Arising out of the assessment or collection of any tax or fee;
(j) Arising out of the detention of any goods or merchandise by any law enforcement officer, unless such detention is of a malicious or arbitrary and capricious nature;
(k) Arising out of the imposition or establishment of a quarantine, whether such quarantine relates to persons or property;
(l) Of any claimant who is an employee of a governmental entity and whose injury is covered by the Workers' Compensation Law of this state by benefits furnished by the governmental entity by which he is employed;
(m) Of any claimant who at the time the claim arises is an inmate of any detention center, jail, workhouse, penal farm, penitentiary or other such institution, regardless of whether such claimant is or is not an inmate of any detention center, jail, workhouse, penal farm, penitentiary or other such institution when the claim is filed;
(n) Arising out of any work performed by a person convicted of a crime when the work is performed pursuant to any sentence or order of any court or pursuant to laws of the State of Mississippi authorizing or requiring such work;
(o) Under circumstances where liability has been or is hereafter assumed by the United States, to the extent of such assumption of liability, including, but not limited to, any claim based on activities of the Mississippi National Guard when such claim is cognizable under the National Guard Tort Claims Act of the United States, 32 USC 715 (32 USCS 715), or when such claim accrues as a result of active federal service or state service at the call of the Governor for quelling riots and civil disturbances;
(p) Arising out of a plan or design for construction or improvements to public property, including, but not limited to, public buildings, highways, roads, streets, bridges, levees, dikes, dams, impoundments, drainage channels, diversion channels, harbors, ports, wharfs or docks, where such plan or design has been approved in advance of the construction or improvement by the legislative body or governing authority of a governmental entity or by some other body or administrative agency, exercising discretion by authority to give such approval, and where such plan or design is in conformity with engineering or design standards in effect at the time of preparation of the plan or design;
(q) Arising out of an injury caused solely by the effect of weather conditions on the use of streets and highways;
(r) Arising out of the lack of adequate personnel or facilities at a state hospital or state corrections facility if reasonable use of available appropriations has been made to provide such personnel or facilities;
(s) Arising out of loss, damage or destruction of property of a patient or inmate of a state institution;
(t) Arising out of any loss of benefits or compensation due under a program of public assistance or public welfare;
(u) Arising out of or resulting from riots, unlawful assemblies, unlawful public demonstrations, mob violence or civil disturbances;
(v) Arising out of an injury caused by a dangerous condition on property of the governmental entity that was not caused by the negligent or other wrongful conduct of an employee of the governmental entity or of which the governmental entity did not have notice, either actual or constructive, and adequate opportunity to protect or warn against; provided, however, that a governmental entity shall not be liable for the failure to warn of a dangerous condition which is obvious to one exercising due care;
(w) Arising out of the absence, condition, malfunction or removal by third parties of any sign, signal, warning device, illumination device, guardrail or median barrier, unless the absence, condition, malfunction or removal is not corrected by the governmental entity responsible for its maintenance within a reasonable time after actual or constructive notice; * * *
(x) Arising out of the administration of corporal punishment or the taking of any action to maintain control and discipline of students, as defined in Section 37-11-57, by a teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal of a public school district in the state unless the teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting a wanton and willful disregard of human rights or safety; or
(y) Arising out of a response to a terroristic threat or act.
(2) A governmental entity shall also not be liable for any claim where the governmental entity:
(a) Is inactive and dormant;
(b) Receives no revenue;
(c) Has no employees; and
(d) Owns no property.
(3) If a governmental entity exempt from liability by subsection (2) becomes active, receives income, hires employees or acquires any property, such governmental entity shall no longer be exempt from liability as provided in subsection (2) and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
SECTION 12. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.