2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Stringer
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-11-121, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS ON THE TYPES OF BONDS AND FOREIGN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES IN WHICH THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM MAY INVEST; TO EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC RECORDS ACT OF 1983, DOCUMENTARY MATERIAL OR DATA MADE OR RECEIVED BY THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM THAT CONSISTS OF TRADE SECRETS OR COMMERCIAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION THAT RELATES TO THE INVESTMENTS OF THE SYSTEM IF THE DISCLOSURE OF THE MATERIAL OR DATA IS LIKELY TO IMPAIR THE SYSTEM'S ABILITY TO OBTAIN THAT INFORMATION IN THE FUTURE, OR IS LIKELY TO CAUSE SUBSTANTIAL HARM TO THE COMPETITIVE POSITION OF THE PERSON OR ENTITY FROM WHOM THE INFORMATION WAS OBTAINED; TO AMEND SECTION 25-41-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM TO HOLD EXECUTIVE SESSIONS WHEN DISCUSSING INFORMATION THAT IS EXEMPT FROM THE MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC RECORDS ACT OF 1983 UNDER SECTION 25-11-121, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-11-121, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-11-121. (1) The board shall, from time to time, determine the current requirements for benefit payments and administrative expense which shall be maintained as a cash working balance, except that such cash working balance shall not exceed at any time an amount necessary to meet the current obligations of the system for a period of ninety (90) days. Any amounts in excess of such cash working balance shall be invested, as follows, at such periodic intervals as the board may determine; however, all purchases shall be made from competitive offerings except short-term obligations referred to in Section 25-11-121(d):
(a) Bonds, notes, certificates and other valid general obligations of the State of Mississippi, or of any county, or of any city, or of any supervisors district of any county of the State of Mississippi, or of any school district bonds of the State of Mississippi; notes or certificates of indebtedness issued by the Veterans' Home Purchase Board of Mississippi, provided such notes or certificates of indebtedness are secured by the pledge of collateral equal to two hundred percent (200%) of the amount of the loan, which collateral is also guaranteed at least for fifty percent (50%) of the face value by the United States government, and provided that not more than five percent (5%) of the total investment holdings of the system shall be in Veterans' Home Purchase Board notes or certificates at any time; real estate mortgage loans one hundred percent (100%) insured by the Federal Housing Administration on single family homes located in the State of Mississippi, where monthly collections and all servicing matters are handled by Federal Housing Administration approved mortgagees authorized to make such loans in the State of Mississippi;
(b) State of Mississippi highway bonds;
(c) Funds may be deposited in any institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that maintains a facility that takes deposits in the State of Mississippi or a custodial bank;
(d) Corporate bonds and taxable municipal bonds * * * rated by Standard and Poor's or by Moody's Investment Service; or corporate short-term obligations of corporations or of wholly-owned subsidiaries of corporations, whose short-term obligations are rated A-3 or better by Standard and Poor's or rated P-3 or better by Moody's Investment Service;
(e) Bonds of the Tennessee Valley Authority;
(f) Bonds, notes, certificates and other valid obligations of the United States, and other valid obligations of any federal instrumentality that issues securities under authority of an act of Congress and are exempt from registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission;
(g) Bonds, notes, debentures and other securities issued by any federal instrumentality and fully guaranteed by the United States;
(h) Interest-bearing bonds or notes which are general obligations of any other state in the United States or of any city or county therein, provided such city or county had a population as shown by the federal census next preceding such investment of not less than twenty-five thousand (25,000) inhabitants and provided that such state, city or county has not defaulted for a period longer than thirty (30) days in the payment of principal or interest on any of its general obligation indebtedness during a period of ten (10) calendar years immediately preceding such investment;
(i) Shares of stocks, common and/or preferred, of corporations created by or existing under the laws of the United States or any state, district or territory thereof; provided:
(i) The maximum investments in stocks shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the book value of the total investment fund of the system;
(ii) The stock of such corporation shall:
A. Be listed on a national stock exchange; or
B. Be traded in the over-the-counter market, provided price quotations for such over-the-counter stocks are quoted by the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ);
(iii) The outstanding shares of such corporation shall have a total market value of not less than Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.00);
(iv) The amount of investment in any one (1) corporation shall not exceed three percent (3%) of the book value of the assets of the system; and
(v) The shares of any one (1) corporation owned by the system shall not exceed five percent (5%) of that corporation's outstanding stock;
(j) Bonds * * *, stocks and convertible securities of established non-United States companies, which companies are listed on only primary national stock exchanges of foreign nations; and in foreign government securities rated * * * by a recognized rating agency; provided that the total book value of investments under this paragraph shall at no time exceed thirty percent (30%) of the total book value of all investments of the system. The board may take requisite action to effectuate or hedge such transactions through foreign banks, including the purchase and sale, transfer, exchange, or otherwise disposal of, and generally deal in foreign exchange through the use of foreign currency, interbank forward contracts, futures contracts, options contracts, swaps and other related derivative instruments, notwithstanding any other provisions of this article to the contrary;
(k) Covered call and put options on securities traded on one or more of the regulated exchanges;
(l) Pooled or commingled funds managed by a corporate trustee or by a Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment advisory firm retained as an investment manager by the board of trustees, and shares of investment companies and unit investment trusts registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, where such pooled or commingled funds or shares are comprised of common or preferred stocks, bonds, money market instruments or other investments authorized under this section. Such investment in commingled funds or shares shall be held in trust; provided that the total book value of investments under this paragraph shall at no time exceed five percent (5%) of the total book value of all investments of the system. Any investment manager approved by the board of trustees shall invest such commingled funds or shares as a fiduciary;
(m) Pooled or commingled real estate funds or real estate securities managed by a corporate trustee or by a Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment advisory firm retained as an investment manager by the board of trustees. Such investment in commingled funds or shares shall be held in trust; provided that the total book value of investments under this paragraph shall at no time exceed ten percent (10%) of the total book value of all investments of the system. Any investment manager approved by the board of trustees shall invest such commingled funds or shares as a fiduciary. The ten percent (10%) limitation in this subsection shall not be subject to the five percent (5%) limitation in paragraph (l) of this subsection;
(n) Types of investments not specifically authorized by this subsection if the investments are in the form of a separate account managed by a Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment advisory firm retained as an investment manager by the board; or a limited partnership or commingled fund approved by the board; provided that the total book value of investments under this paragraph shall at no time exceed ten percent (10%) of the total book value of all investments of the system.
(2) All investments shall be acquired by the board at prices not exceeding the prevailing market values for such securities.
(3) Any limitations herein set forth shall be applicable only at the time of purchase and shall not require the liquidation of any investment at any time. All investments shall be clearly marked to indicate ownership by the system and to the extent possible shall be registered in the name of the system.
(4) Subject to the above terms, conditions, limitations and restrictions, the board shall have power to sell, assign, transfer and dispose of any of the securities and investments of the system, provided that said sale, assignment or transfer has the majority approval of the entire board. The board may employ or contract with investment managers, evaluation services or other such services as determined by the board to be necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the system.
(5) Except as otherwise provided herein, no trustee and no employee of the board shall have any direct or indirect interest in the income, gains or profits of any investment made by the board, nor shall any such person receive any pay or emolument for his services in connection with any investment made by the board. No trustee or employee of the board shall become an endorser or surety, or in any manner an obligor for money loaned by or borrowed from the system.
(6) All interest derived from investments and any gains from the sale or exchange of investments shall be credited by the board to the account of the system.
(7) The board of trustees annually shall credit regular interest on the mean amount for the preceding year in each of the reserves maintained by the board, with the exception of the expense account. This credit shall be made annually from interest and other earnings on the invested assets of the system. Any additional amount required to meet the regular interest on the funds of the system shall be charged to the employer's accumulation account, and any excess of earnings over such regular interest required shall be credited to the employer's accumulation account. Regular interest shall mean such per centum rate to be compounded annually as shall be determined by the board of trustees on the basis of the interest earnings of the system for the preceding year.
(8) The board of trustees shall be the custodian of the funds of the system. All expense vouchers and retirement allowance payrolls shall be certified by the executive secretary who shall furnish the board a surety bond in a company authorized to do business in Mississippi in such an amount as shall be required by the board, the premium to be paid by the board from the expense account.
(9) For the purpose of meeting disbursements for retirement allowances, annuities and other payments, cash may be kept available, not exceeding the requirements of the system for a period of ninety (90) days, on deposit in one or more banks or trust companies organized under the laws of the State of Mississippi or the laws of the United States, provided that the sum on deposit in any one (1) bank or trust company shall not exceed thirty-five percent (35%) of the paid-up capital and regular surplus of such bank or trust company.
(10) Except as otherwise provided, the monies or properties of the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi deposited in any bank or banks of the United States shall, where possible, be safeguarded and guaranteed by the posting as security by the depository of bonds, notes and other securities purchasable by the system, as provided elsewhere in this section. The bonds, notes and other securities offered as security shall be posted to the credit of the system by the depository with the board or with an unaffiliated bank or trust company domiciled within the United States or the State of Mississippi acceptable to both the board and to the fiscal agent bank. In the event the board and the fiscal agent bank cannot reach an agreement, the bonds, notes and other securities shall be deposited in a bank or trust company designated by the State Commissioner of Banking and Consumer Finance. Provided, however, that bonds or notes of the United States government owned by the system may be deposited for safekeeping in any federal reserve bank.
(11) The board of trustees shall determine the degree of collateralization necessary for both foreign and domestic demand deposit accounts in addition to that which is guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or such other federal insurance program as may be in effect.
(12) The board, the executive secretary and employees shall discharge their duties with respect to the investments of the system solely for the interest of the system with the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent investor acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims, including diversifying the investments of the system so as to minimize the risk of large losses, unless under the circumstances it is clearly prudent not to do so.
(13) Documentary material or data made or received by the system that consists of trade secrets or commercial or financial information that relates to the investments of the system shall be exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983 if the disclosure of the material or data is likely to impair the system's ability to obtain that information in the future, or is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person or entity from whom the information was obtained.
SECTION 2. Section 25-41-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-41-7. (1) Any public body may enter into executive session for the transaction of public business; * * * however, all meetings of any such public body shall begin as an open meeting, and an affirmative vote of three-fifths (3/5) of all members present shall be required to declare an executive session.
(2) The procedure to be followed by any public body in declaring an executive session shall be as follows: Any member shall have the right to request by motion a closed determination upon the issue of whether or not to declare an executive session. Such motion, by majority vote, shall require the meeting to be closed for a preliminary determination of the necessity for executive session. No other business shall be transacted until the discussion of the nature of the matter requiring executive session has been completed and a vote, as required in subsection (1) of this section, has been taken on the issue.
(3) An executive session shall be limited to matters allowed to be exempted from open meetings by subsection (4) of this section. The reason for holding such an executive session shall be stated in an open meeting, and the reason so stated shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that any meeting be closed to the public, nor shall any executive session be used to circumvent or to defeat the purposes of this chapter.
(4) A public body may hold an executive session under this section for one or more of the following reasons:
(a) Transaction of business and discussion of personnel matters relating to the job performance, character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person holding a specific position.
(b) Strategy sessions or negotiations with respect to prospective litigation, litigation or issuance of an appealable order when an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the public body.
(c) Transaction of business and discussion regarding the report, development or course of action regarding security personnel, plans or devices.
(d) Investigative proceedings by any public body regarding allegations of misconduct or violation of law.
(e) Any body of the Legislature that is meeting on matters within the jurisdiction of such body.
(f) Cases of extraordinary emergency that would pose immediate or irrevocable harm or damage to persons and/or property within the jurisdiction of such public body.
(g) Transaction of business and discussion regarding the prospective purchase, sale or leasing of lands.
(h) Discussions between a school board and individual students who attend a school within the jurisdiction of such school board or the parents or teachers of such students regarding problems of such students or their parents or teachers.
(i) Transaction of business and discussion concerning the preparation of tests for admission to practice in recognized professions.
(j) Transaction of business and discussions or negotiations regarding the location, relocation or expansion of a business or an industry.
(k) Transaction of business and discussions regarding employment or job performance of a person in a specific position or termination of an employee holding a specific position. The exemption provided by this paragraph includes the right to enter into executive session concerning a line item in a budget that might affect the termination of an employee or employees. All other budget items shall be considered in open meetings and final budgetary adoption shall not be taken in executive session.
(l) Discussions regarding material or data that is exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983 under Section 25-11-121.
(5) The total vote on the question of entering into an executive session shall be recorded and spread upon the minutes of such public body.
(6) Any such vote whereby an executive session is declared shall be applicable only to that particular meeting on that particular day.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.