2005 Regular Session
To: Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
By: Senator(s) Jackson (32nd)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 49-5-13 AND 55-3-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO LIMIT CERTAIN BOAT LAUNCH FEES ON STATE LAKES; TO PROVIDE THAT NO FEE SHALL BE CHARGED TO FISH FROM THE BANK OF A STATE LAKE IF THE PERSON HAS A FISHING LICENSE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-5-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-5-13. (1) The commission may adopt rules and regulations regulating public hunting and fishing in any wildlife conservation management projects or wildlife conservation hunting and fishing refuges constructed under this chapter, and may prescribe and collect fees for the privilege of hunting and fishing in such projects and shall have general authority to operate such wildlife conservation management areas or refuges. The daily boat launching fee shall not exceed Two Dollars ($2.00). The annual boat launching fee shall not exceed Twenty-Five Dollars ($25.00). There shall be no fishing fee for fishing from the bank if the person has a fishing license.
(2) The commission may adopt such rules and regulations that may be necessary for the management and control of such wildlife conservation management areas or refuges.
(3) The Department of Finance and Administration may lease any lands other than woodlands owned by the state within wildlife conservation management areas as long as such lands are not within the boundaries of the used portions of such areas and so long as such lands are leased as provided for in subsections (4) and (5) of this section. The rental from any such lease is to be paid to the commission and expended as hereinafter provided.
(4) The commission shall recommend to the Department of Finance and Administration the number of acres of land within wildlife conservation management areas which should be leased to private entities. The Department of Finance and Administration shall have the authority to lease for agricultural purposes that land so recommended for not less than one (1) nor more than five (5) years. The Department of Finance and Administration shall lease the lands for cash rent only. The Department of Finance and Administration shall reserve and exclude from any such lands the hunting rights on the lands at all times after the crops are harvested and until the lands are again planted.
(5) It shall be the duty of the Department of Finance and Administration to lease such lands at public contract upon the submission of two (2) or more sealed bids to the Department of Finance and Administration after having advertised such land for rent in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county in which the land is located, or if no newspaper be published in said county, then in a newspaper having a general circulation therein, for a period of not less than two (2) successive weeks. The first publication shall be made not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of such public contract, and the last publication shall be made not more than seven (7) days prior to such date. The Department of Finance and Administration shall have the authority to reject any and all bids. If all bids on a tract or parcel of land are rejected, the Department of Finance and Administration may then advertise for new bids on that tract or parcel of land. Successful bidders shall take possession of their leaseholds at such time authorized by the Department of Finance and Administration. Provided, however, rent shall be due no later than the day upon which the lessee shall assume possession of the leasehold, and shall be due on the anniversary date for each following year of the lease. The Department of Finance and Administration shall have the rights and remedies for the security and collection of such rents given by law to landlords. Upon the execution of the leases as authorized by this section, the leased land shall be liable to be taxed as other lands are taxed during the continuance of the lease, but in case of sale thereon for taxes, only the title of the leaseholder or his heirs or assigns shall pass by the sale.
SECTION 2. Section 55-3-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
55-3-33. (1) The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall have the power and authority, and it shall be its duty to:
(a) Take charge and have full jurisdiction and control over all state parks, which parks shall be operated for the purpose of providing outdoor recreational activities and enjoyment for the citizens of the State of Mississippi and for the purpose of attracting visitors to the state.
(b) Set up a uniform accounting procedure for the state parks and prescribe the manner in which books, records and accounts shall be kept, which procedure shall account for all moneys taken in and expended by the various parks and shall provide for periodic audits of such books.
(c) Accept gifts, bequests of money or other property, real or personal, to be used for the purpose of advancing the recreation and conservation interests in state parks. The department is authorized, subject to approval by the State Legislature, to purchase property, real or personal, to be used for state park purposes.
(d) Contract with the State Transportation Commission, any municipality or board of supervisors of the state for locating, constructing and maintaining roads and other improvements in state parks and for payment of a part of the costs thereof; however, no county or municipality more than twenty-five (25) miles distant from a state park may contract for, or do, or pay for any such work for a state park other than the International Gardens of Mississippi. Any county or municipality authorized to assist financially under the provisions of Sections 55-3-31 through 55-3-51 is authorized, in the discretion of its respective governing authority, to set aside, appropriate and expend moneys from the General Fund for the purpose of defraying such expense after a mandatory election is held on the question within the county or municipality.
(e) Designate employees as peace officers with power to make arrests for infraction of the rules and regulations of the department. Such officers are authorized to carry weapons and to enforce the laws of the State of Mississippi within the confines of a state park.
(f) Enforce and delegate the responsibility to enforce all reasonable rules and regulations governing the occupancy and use of lands and waters in state parks under its jurisdiction, supply recreational and conservation facilities and charge fees for the use of same; review all rates and charges for facilities and accommodations furnished at the various state parks annually, making such charges as are justified; and establish fees for entrance to state parks. The daily boat launching fee shall not exceed Two Dollars ($2.00). The annual boat launching fee shall not exceed Twenty-Five Dollars ($25.00). There shall be no fishing fee for fishing from the bank if the person has a fishing license.
Each park shall retain from revenues generated therein, a sum sufficient to pay necessary expenses of operation, but in no event to be less than seventy-five percent (75%) of such revenues.
(2) The department shall have the authority to lease to any entity, sell and convey or otherwise transfer to any county or municipality, or close any state park or historical site within its jurisdiction which received a General Fund subsidy in Fiscal Year 1985 in excess of Two Dollars ($2.00) per visitor to such state park or historical site; provided, however, that this authority shall not include the authority to sell, lease or convey any park that was not in operation under the jurisdiction of the department for a full fiscal year prior to fiscal year 1986.
(3) The department may execute agreements with rails-to-trails and recreational districts by which the department will assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of trails developed under Sections 55-25-1 through 55-25-15.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.