2005 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Hyde-Smith
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 INDUSTRY COUNCIL IN THE EVENT THAT THE NATIONAL BEEF PROMOTIONS AND RESEARCH PROGRAM SHOULD CEASE TO EXIST; TO REQUIRE A REFERENDUM ON ASSESSMENTS; TO PROVIDE A PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this act shall be 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 person's 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 livestock dealer licensed under the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, as amended, who makes payment to a producer for cattle purchased in Mississippi.
(c) "Council" means the "Mississippi Beef Industry Council."
(d) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce for the State of Mississippi.
SECTION 3. (1) The Mississippi Beef Industry Council is created and shall be composed of eighteen (18) members as follows:
(a) Seven (7) members appointed by the Mississippi Cattlemen's Association, of whom one (1) shall be a meat scientist or a meat packer;
(b) One (1) member appointed by the Mississippi Cattlewomen's Association;
(c) Five (5) members appointed by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, of whom one (1) shall be a dairy farmer and one (1) shall be a beef retailer;
(d) Five (5) members appointed by the Mississippi Livestock Marketing Association.
(2) Within thirty (30) days after the levy of the national beef promotion and research program established by the "Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985" is finally adjudicated unconstitutional, each organization shall select its members to serve on the council. The members of the council shall meet and organize after their appointment and shall select a chairman, vice chairman and secretary-treasurer from the membership of the council. The council may establish rules and regulations for the administration of the duties of the council. The minutes of the council shall reflect the votes taken by the council concerning any contracts for projects of research, education, advertisement or promotion of the beef industry.
(3) The chairman, vice chairman and secretary-treasurer shall be bonded in an amount not less than Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00). The cost of the bonds shall be paid from the funds received under this act.
SECTION 4. (1) Within ninety (90) days after the levy of the national beef promotion and research program established by the "Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985" is finally adjudicated unconstitutional, the commissioner is authorized to call a referendum 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) A 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) If a majority of the producers voting in the referendum 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 no later thanninety (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) Upon petition by ten percent (10%) of the producers, the commissioner shall call for a subsequent referendum to allow producers to vote on the assessment.
(b) If a referendum fails to receive a majority of affirmative votes, then the commissioner shall be authorized to call another referendum in the next succeeding year. 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, collections received prior to the last day of the program as designated by the commissioner, will 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 this act.
SECTION 5. (1) Each collecting person shall collect and remit the assessments levied by this act in accordance with Section 4 of this act.
(2) Each collecting person shall remit all assessments to the council with the required report no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of the reporting period.
(a) Assessments collected by the council are not state funds and will 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. (1) The council may accept monetary gifts, donations and grants from public as well as private sources.
(2) 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.
(3) Of the monies collected under this program, an amount not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the total revenues per year shall be expended on the administrative costs of the program.
SECTION 7. (1) Any producer may request and receive a refund of assessments levied on the sale of the producer's 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 and assessed, and proof that the assessment was deducted.
(2) The council shall mail payment of assessment refunds to the requesting producer within thirty (30) days of receiving the request.
SECTION 8. (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 collecting 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 collecting person required to pay an assessment as provided by this act, who refuses to allow full inspection of their records by the council, or who shall hinder or in any way delay or prevent the inspection of their records is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.