MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2006 Regular Session

To: Judiciary B

By: Representative Warren

House Bill 539

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-60-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS AND COUNTY PARTICIPATION THEREIN BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS COMMITTEE, AND TO DELETE THE SUNSET PROVISION THEREIN; TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-60-3, 25-60-5, AND 39-5-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE SUNSET PROVISIONS THEREIN; TO AMEND SECTIONS 9-5-171, 19-15-1 AND 19-15-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT RECORDS RETENTION, DUPLICATION AND DESTRUCTION STANDARDS SHALL APPLY TO ALL COUNTIES REGARDLESS OF ELECTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 25-60-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

25-60-1. There is hereby created the Local Government Records Committee. The committee shall be composed of the following members: the Attorney General, or his designee; the Secretary of State, or his designee; the State Auditor of Public Accounts, or his designee; the Chairman of the State Tax Commission, or his designee; the Director of the State Department of Archives and History, or his designee; a representative from each of the following organizations, to be designated by the head of each organization for a term of two (2) years with a limit of not more than two (2) terms: the Family Research Association of Mississippi, Inc., the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, The Mississippi Bar, the Mississippi Chancery Clerks' Association, the Mississippi Circuit Clerks' Association, the Mississippi City Clerks' Association, the Mississippi Historical Society, the Mississippi Municipal Association, the Mississippi Sheriffs' Association, the Mississippi Superintendents of Education Association, the Mississippi Tax Assessors' Association and the Mississippi Tax Collectors' Association; and one (1) resident of this state appointed by the Governor for a term of two (2) years with a limit of not more than two (2) terms. The Director of the Department of Archives and History shall be chairman of the committee. Members of the committee shall receive per diem as provided in Section 25-3-69, and shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses and travel as provided in Section 25-3-41.

It is the duty of the committee to review, approve, disapprove, amend or modify records control schedules submitted by the Local Government Records Office, municipalities, municipal courts and * * * counties for the disposition of records based on administrative, legal, fiscal or historical value. When the Mississippi Supreme Court designates the Department of Archives and History as the records management agency for courts, it is the duty of the committee to review, approve, disapprove, amend or modify records control schedules submitted by justice, county, circuit and chancery courts * * *. Such records control schedules, once approved, shall be authoritative and directive, and shall have the force and effect of law.

It is the duty of municipalities and * * * counties to cooperate with the committee in complying with the provisions of this section. * * *

 * * *

The committee is authorized to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to implement the authority granted to it in this section.

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SECTION 2. Section 25-60-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

25-60-3. Counties and municipalities are hereby authorized to establish regional records centers for the storage, preservation and use of permanently valuable county and municipal records and of inactive county and municipal records which are required to be retained for a prescribed period of time but which are not needed to be kept in the creating office. Such regional records centers may be jointly established and maintained pursuant to agreements executed under the Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1974. Any center established under this section must either be certified by the Department of Archives and History as provided for historical or archival groups or public libraries in Section 25-29-25(2), or be administered by the Department of Archives and History pursuant to a contract between the department and the local government which established the center.

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SECTION 3. Section 25-60-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

25-60-5. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, any county or municipal official or employee who accepts documents for filing as public records shall, in addition to any other fee provided elsewhere by law, collect a fee of One Dollar ($1.00) for each document so filed. In municipalities and * * * counties that collect Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) or more per month from the filing fee, the official or employee collecting the fee shall, on or before the last day of each month, deposit the avails of Fifty Cents (50) of the fee into the general fund of the county or municipality, as appropriate, and remit the remainder to the State Treasurer who shall deposit it to the credit of a statewide local government records management fund which is hereby created in the State Treasury. In municipalities and * * * counties that collect less than Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) per month from the filing fee, the avails of Fifty Cents (50) of the fee shall be remitted to the State Treasurer on a quarterly basis for deposit as provided in the previous sentence. Any monies remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the General Fund of the State Treasury. Counties and municipalities shall expend monies derived from the fee hereinabove imposed solely to support proper management of their official records in accordance with records management standards established by the Department of Archives and History. Monies in the Local Government Records Management Fund shall be expended by the Department of Archives and History, pursuant to legislative appropriation, to support the Local Government Records Office of the department and to support a local records management grant program as funds permit.

(2) The fee provided in subsection (1) of this section shall not be collected in any county until the board of supervisors, by resolution spread upon its minutes, determines that it will collect the fee.

(3) Each municipality and participating county may collect the filing fee provided for in this section on filings in any court subject to their respective jurisdiction.

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SECTION 4. Section 39-5-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

39-5-9. A Local Government Records Office is established within the Department of Archives and History. The office shall begin operation when sufficient funds therefor have accumulated in the Local Government Records Management Fund established in Section 25-60-5. The office shall have the following powers and duties as well as any others which are prescribed by law elsewhere or assigned to the office by the director of the department:

(a) Provide and * * * coordinate education and training for counties and municipalities on records management issues.

(b) Establish records management standards to guide counties and municipalities, such standards to include, but not be limited to, guidelines for microfilm production and storage, electronic records security and migration, records preservation, imaging and records storage.

(c) Prepare records control schedules for adoption or amendment by the Local Government Records Committee established in Section 25-60-1. In the preparation of the schedules and amendments thereto, the office shall seek input from interested citizens and organizations.

(d) Establish standards for records storage areas of local governmental bodies, such standards to include, but not be limited to, guidelines for the selection of an off-site storage facility for records of enduring * * * or archival value.

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SECTION 5. Section 9-5-171, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

 * * *

9-5-171. (1) The chancery clerk of each of the counties of the State of Mississippi, with the approval of the board of supervisors of such county, after an inventory has been made and checked by the board and an order spread on its minutes listing the reference, is authorized to dispose of records pursuant to a records control schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee as provided in Section 25-60-1.

(2) No records which are in the process of being audited by the State Department of Audit or which are the basis of litigation shall be destroyed until at least twelve (12) months after final completion of the audits and litigation.

(3) Records may be filed and retained by electronic means as provided in Sections 9-1-51 through 9-1-57, whether the record is to be destroyed or not; provided, however, that destruction of  * * * records shall be carried out in accordance with Sections 25-59-21 and 25-59-27.

SECTION 6. Section 19-15-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

 * * *

19-15-1. The Legislature declares that records containing information essential to the operation of government and to the protection of the rights and interests of persons should be protected against the destructive effect of all forms of disaster whether fire, flood, storm, earthquake, explosion or other disaster, and whether such occurrence is caused by an act of nature or man, including an enemy of the United States. It is, therefore, necessary to adopt special provisions for the preservation of essential records of counties, and this section shall be liberally construed to effect its purposes. However, it is the express intention of this section that the provisions herein contained are not mandatory but are permissive only and shall authorize preservation of records as herein contemplated within the discretion of the governing authorities of the counties of the state and in accordance with a records control schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee as provided in Section 25-60-1.

The board of supervisors of any county is hereby authorized and empowered in its discretion to preserve essential records, or any portion thereof, of the county deemed by the board of supervisors to be an essential record necessary to the operation of government in an emergency created by disaster or containing information necessary to protect the rights and interests of persons or to establish and affirm the powers and duties of governments in the resumption of operations after the destruction or damage of the original records.

The board of supervisors of any * * * county is authorized and empowered in its discretion to make and enter into contracts and agreements with any person, firm or corporation to make and prepare * * * copies or duplicates of records, and, subject to the standards established by the Department of Archives and History, to provide for and enter into contracts concerning the safekeeping and preservation of * * * copies or duplicates at points of storage at a location approved by the Local Government Records Committee.

In the event that the original record or records shall have been destroyed, the copy or reproduction shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes and shall be treated as an original record in all courts or administrative agencies for the purpose of its admissibility in evidence. An enlargement or facsimile of a reproduction is likewise admissible in evidence if the original reproduction is in existence and available for inspection under direction of court.

The board of supervisors of any such county is authorized and empowered, in its discretion, to appropriate and expend monies out of the available funds of the county for the purposes of this section.

SECTION 7. Section 19-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

 * * *

19-15-3. Whenever any county records, documents, files or papers whatsoever are required by law to be preserved and retained, or which are necessary or desirable to be preserved or retained, the board of supervisors of the county shall have the power and authority, in its discretion, to destroy or dispose of any * * * records, documents, files or papers after having reproductions made thereof as hereinafter provided and in accordance with a records control schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee as provided in Section 25-60-1.

Whenever the board of supervisors of any * * * county shall desire to destroy or dispose of any * * * records, documents, files or papers, the board shall first cause the same to be reproduced under standards established by the Department of Archives and History using microfilm, microfiche, data processing, computers, magnetic tape, optical discs or other medium. If the county where * * * records and the like are to be destroyed or disposed of does not have or own the necessary equipment to reproduce same, the board of supervisors shall be authorized and empowered to enter into a contract for the reproduction thereof, which contract may be for a period of not more than twelve (12) months from the date thereof. The contract shall be awarded to the lowest and best bidder after the board of supervisors shall have advertised its intentions of awarding such contract by publication of a notice thereof once each week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in some newspaper published or having a general circulation in such county.

After * * * reproduction of the records and the like shall have been made, the board of supervisors shall have the power and authority to destroy and dispose of the originals thereof after spreading upon its minutes certification that the reproductions are true and correct copies and disposal is in accordance with a records control schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee as provided in Section 25-60-1; the reproductions shall thereafter be preserved, retained and stored by the board of supervisors as a record of the county, and provision shall be made for preserving, examining and using them. Any * * * reproductions or copy of any original record or other documents shall be deemed to be the original record for all purposes and shall be admissible as evidence in all courts or administrative agencies. A facsimile, exemplification or certified copy thereof shall, for all purposes set forth herein, be deemed to be a transcript, exemplification or certified copy of the original record.

The board of supervisors of any county is hereby authorized to pay all expenses incurred in reproducing * * * records and the like and in making provision for the preservation, retention and storage of the reproductions from the general fund of the county.

When any of the records and the like of which reproductions are made under the provisions of this section are declared by law or are by their nature confidential and privileged records, then the reproduction thereof shall likewise be deemed to be confidential and privileged to the same extent as the original records and the like.

Nothing herein shall be construed to require the keeping and preservation of any records and documents which are not required by law or a records control schedule to be kept and preserved, or which it is not desirable or necessary to keep and preserve, and in all cases where records and the like are authorized by law to be destroyed or disposed of, they may be disposed of as authorized by a records control schedule approved by the Local Government Records Committee as provided in Section 25-60-1.

SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.