2006 Regular Session
To: Fees, Salaries and Administration
By: Senator(s) Tollison
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-3-41, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING TO EXPEND FUNDS FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES UPON APPROVAL BY THE PRESIDENT OR HEAD OF THE INSTITUTION, INSTEAD OF APPROVAL BY THE GOVERNOR AND THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-3-41. (1) When any officer or employee of the State of Mississippi, or any department, agency or institution thereof, after first being duly authorized, is required to travel in the performance of his official duties, the officer or employee shall receive as expenses for each mile actually and necessarily traveled, when the travel is done by a privately owned automobile or other privately owned motor vehicle, the mileage reimbursement rate allowable to federal employees for the use of a privately owned vehicle while on official travel.
(2) When any officer or employee of any county or municipality, or of any agency, board or commission thereof, after first being duly authorized, is required to travel in the performance of his official duties, the officer or employee shall receive as expenses Twenty Cents (20¢) for each mile actually and necessarily traveled, when the travel is done by a privately owned motor vehicle; provided, however, that the governing authorities of a county or municipality may, in their discretion, authorize an increase in the mileage reimbursement of officers and employees of the county or municipality, or of any agency, board or commission thereof, in an amount not to exceed the mileage reimbursement rate authorized for officers and employees of the State of Mississippi in subsection (1) of this section.
(3) Where two (2) or more officers or employees travel in one (1) privately owned motor vehicle, only one (1) travel expense allowance at the authorized rate per mile shall be allowed for any one (1) trip. When the travel is done by means of a public carrier or other means not involving a privately owned motor vehicle, then the officer or employee shall receive as travel expense the actual fare or other expenses incurred in such travel.
(4) In addition to the foregoing, a public officer or employee shall be reimbursed for other actual expenses such as meals, lodging and other necessary expenses incurred in the course of the travel, subject to limitations placed on meals for intrastate and interstate official travel by the Department of Finance and Administration, provided, that the Legislative Budget Office shall place any limitations for expenditures made on matters under the jurisdiction of the Legislature. The Department of Finance and Administration shall set a maximum daily expenditure annually for such meals and shall notify officers and employees of changes to these allowances immediately upon approval of the changes. Travel by airline shall be at the tourist rate unless that space was unavailable. The officer or employee shall certify that tourist accommodations were not available if travel is performed in first class airline accommodations. Itemized expense accounts shall be submitted by those officers or employees in such number as the department, agency or institution may require; but in any case one (1) copy shall be furnished by state departments, agencies or institutions to the Department of Finance and Administration for preaudit or postaudit. The Department of Finance and Administration shall promulgate and adopt reasonable rules and regulations which it deems necessary and requisite to effectuate economies for all expenses authorized and paid pursuant to this section. Requisitions shall be made on the State Fiscal Officer who shall issue his warrant on the State Treasurer. Provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not include agencies financed entirely by federal funds and audited by federal auditors.
(5) Any officer or employee of a county or municipality, or any department, board or commission thereof, who is required to travel in the performance of his official duties, may receive funds before the travel, in the discretion of the administrative head of the county or municipal department, board or commission involved, for the purpose of paying necessary expenses incurred during the travel. Upon return from the travel, the officer or employee shall provide receipts of transportation, lodging, meals, fees and any other expenses incurred during the travel. Any portion of the funds advanced which is not expended during the travel shall be returned by the officer or employee. The Department of Audit shall adopt rules and regulations regarding advance payment of travel expenses and submission of receipts to ensure proper control and strict accountability for those payments and expenses.
(6) No state or federal funds received from any source by any arm or agency of the state shall be expended in traveling outside of the continental limits of the United States until the governing body or head of the agency makes a finding and determination that the travel would be extremely beneficial to the state agency and obtains a written concurrence thereof from the Governor, or his designee, and the Department of Finance and Administration. However, employees of state institutions of higher learning may expend funds for travel outside of the continental limits of the United States upon a written finding by the president or head of the institution that the travel would be extremely beneficial to the institution.
(7) Where any officer or employee of the State of Mississippi, or any department, agency or institution thereof, or of any county or municipality, or of any agency, board or commission thereof, is authorized to receive travel reimbursement under any other provision of law, the reimbursement may be paid under the provisions of this section or the other section, but not under both.
(8) When the Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints a person to a board, commission or other position that requires confirmation by the Senate, the person may receive reimbursement for mileage and other actual expenses incurred in the performance of official duties before the appointment is confirmed by the Senate, as reimbursement for those expenses is authorized under this section.
(9) (a) The Department of Finance and Administration may contract with one or more commercial travel agencies, after receiving competitive bids or proposals therefor, for that travel agency or agencies to provide necessary travel services for state officers and employees. Municipal and county officers and municipal and county employees may also participate in the state travel agency contract and utilize these travel services for official municipal or county travel. However, the administrative head of each state institution of higher learning may, in his discretion, contract with a commercial travel agency to provide necessary travel services for all academic officials and staff of the university in lieu of participation in the state travel agency contract. Any such decision by a university to contract with a separate travel agency shall be approved by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning andthe Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration.
(b) Before executing a contract with one or more travel agencies, the Department of Finance and Administration shall advertise for competitive bids or proposals once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a regular newspaper having a general circulation throughout the State of Mississippi. If the department determines that it should not contract with any of the bidders initially submitting proposals, the department may reject all those bids, advertise as provided in this paragraph and receive new proposals before executing the contract or contracts. The contract or contracts may be for a period not greater than three (3) years, with an option for the travel agency or agencies to renew the contract or contracts on a one-year basis on the same terms as the original contract or contracts, for a maximum of two (2) renewals. After the travel agency or agencies have renewed the contract twice or have declined to renew the contract for the maximum number of times, the Department of Finance and Administration shall advertise for bids in the manner required by this paragraph and execute a new contract or contracts.
(c) Whenever any state officer or employee travels in the performance of his official duties by airline or other public carrier, he may have his travel arrangements handled by that travel agency or agencies. The amount paid for airline transportation for any state officer or employee, whether the travel was arranged by that travel agency or agencies or was arranged otherwise, shall not exceed the amount specified in the state contract established by the Department of Finance and Administration, Office of Purchasing and Travel, unless prior approval is obtained from the office.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.