2007 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice; Appropriations
By: Representative Flaggs, Wells-Smith, Johnson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-801, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ABOLISH THE YOUTH COURT INCARCERATION ALTERNATIVES FUND; TO ESTABLISH THE YOUTH COURT SUPPORT FUND; TO INCLUDE COUNTY COURT JUDGES AMONG THOSE FOR WHOM AN OFFICE ALLOWANCE IS APPROPRIATED; TO PROVIDE THE PURPOSE OF SUCH FUND; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-803, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT TWO MILLION DOLLARS BE APPROPRIATED TO THE TONY GOBAR JUVENILE JUSTICE ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS GRANT FUND DURING THE 2007 LEGISLATIVE SESSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-21-801, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-801. (1) There is established the Youth Court Support Fund. The purpose of the fund shall be to ensure that all youth courts not served by a county court have sufficient support funds to carry on the business of the youth court and the Administrative Office of Courts shall establish a formula for providing state support payable from the General Fund for the support of the youth courts. Youth court support funds shall be available to each regular youth court referee and municipal youth court referee so long as the senior chancellor does not elect to employ a youth court administrator as set forth in subsection (2), and each regular youth court referee shall have the individual discretion to appropriate those funds as expense monies to assist in hiring secretarial staff and acquiring materials incidental to carrying on the business of the court within the referee's private practice of law, or may direct the use of those funds through the county budget for court support supplies or services. The regular youth court referee and municipal youth court referee shall be accountable for assuring through private or county employees the proper preparation and filing of all necessary tracking and other documentation attendant to the administration of the youth court. The formula developed by the Administrative Office of Courts for providing youth court support funds shall be reviewed by the Administrative Office of Courts every two (2) years to ensure that the youth court support funds provided herein are proportional to each youth court's caseload. Approval of the use of any of the youth court support funds made under this subsection shall be made by the Administrative Office of Courts in accordance with procedures established by the Administrative Office of Courts.
(2) In lieu of accepting any referee support funds as provided in this section, when permitted by the Administrative Office of Courts, the senior chancellors of Chancery Districts One, Two, Three, Four, Six, Seven, Nine, Ten, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen and Eighteen may appoint a youth court administrator for the district whose responsibility will be to perform all reporting, tracking and other duties of a court administrator for all youth courts in the district which are under the chancery court system. The Administrative Office of Courts shall allocate to each chancellor so electing a sum not to exceed Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) per year to cover the salary, fringe benefits and equipment of such administrator, and an additional sum not to exceed One Thousand Nine Hundred Dollars ($1,900.00) to cover travel expenses of the administrator.
(3) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Youth Court Support Fund," which shall consist of funds derived from the formula established by the Administrative Office of Courts for providing state support payable from the General Fund for the support of youth courts as provided in this section. Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any investment earnings or interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund. Monies in the fund shall be distributed to the youth courts by the Administrative Office of Courts for the purposes described in this section.
(4) Each county court judge who desires to employ support staff after the effective date of this act shall make application to the Administrative Office of Courts by submitting to the Administrative Office of Courts a proposed personnel plan setting forth what support staff is deemed necessary. Such plan may be submitted by a single judge or by any combination of judges desiring to share support staff. In the process of the preparation of the plan, the judges, at their request, may receive advice, suggestions, recommendations and other assistance from the Administrative Office of Courts. The Administrative Office of Courts must approve the positions, job descriptions and salaries before the positions may be filled. The Administrative Office of Courts shall not approve any plan which does not first require the expenditure of the funds in the support staff fund for compensation of any of the support staff before expenditure is authorized of county funds for that purpose. Upon approval by the Administrative Office of Courts, the judge or judges may appoint the employees to the position or positions, and each employee so appointed will work at the will and pleasure of the judge or judges who appointed him but will be employees of the Administrative Office of Courts. Upon approval by the Administrative Office of Courts, the appointment of any support staff shall be evidenced by the entry of an order on the minutes of the court. When support staff is appointed jointly by two (2) or more judges, the order setting forth any appointment shall be entered on the minutes of each participating court.
(5) The Administrative Office of Courts shall develop and promulgate minimum qualifications for the certification of court administrators. Any court administrator appointed on or after the effective date of this act, shall be required to be certified by the Administrative Office of Courts.
(6) Support staff shall receive compensation pursuant to personnel policies established by the Administrative Office of Courts; however, from and after the effective date of this act, the Administrative Office of Courts shall allocate from the support staff fund an amount of Sixty Thousand Dollars ($60,000.00) per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) per judge for whom support staff is approved for the funding of support staff assigned to a judge or judges. Any employment pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of Section 25-1-53.
The Administrative Office of Courts may approve expenditure from the fund for additional equipment for support staff appointed pursuant to this section in any year in which the allocation per judge is sufficient to meet the equipment expense after provision for the compensation of the support staff.
(7) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Support staff" means court administrators, law clerks, legal research assistants or secretaries, resource administrator and/or case managers appointed by a youth court judge, or any combination thereof, but shall not mean school attendance officers; and
(b) "Compensation" means the gross salary plus all amounts paid for benefits or otherwise as a result of employment or as required by employment; provided, however, that only salary earned for services rendered shall be reported and credited for Public Employees' Retirement System purposes. Amounts paid for benefits or otherwise, including reimbursement for travel expenses, shall not be reported or credited for retirement purposes.
(8) Title to all tangible property, excepting stamps, stationery and minor expendable office supplies, procured with funds authorized by this section, shall be and forever remain in the State of Mississippi to be used by the judgeduring the term of his office and thereafter by his successors.
SECTION 2. Section 43-21-803, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-803. (1) There is established the Tony Gobar Juvenile Justice Alternative Sanction Grant Program for the purpose of providing grants to faith-based organizations and nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organizations that develop and operate community-based alternatives to the training schools and detention centers. In order to be eligible for a grant under this section, a faith-based or nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in cooperation with a youth court must develop and operate a juvenile justice alternative sanction designed for delinquent youths. The program must be designed to decrease reliance on commitment in juvenile detention facilities and training schools. Programs must not duplicate existing programs or services and must incorporate evidence-based practices and positive behavioral intervention including two (2) or more of the following elements: academic tutoring/literacy, dropout prevention, mentoring, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, family counseling and anger management, and faith-based programming. Programs may include, but shall not be limited to, after school and weekend programming, job readiness programs, home detention programs, restitution, conflict resolution programs, and community service.
(2) A faith-based or nonprofit 501(c)(3) must submit an application to the Department of Public Safety. The application must include a description of the purpose for which assistance is requested, the amount of assistance requested and any other information required by the Department of Public Safety in consultation with the Department of Human Services.
(3) The Department of Public Safety shall have all powers necessary to implement and administer the program established under this section, and the department shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law, necessary for the implementation of this section.
(4) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Tony Gobar Juvenile Justice Alternative Sanctions Grant Fund," which shall consist of funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Legislature in any manner and funds from any other source designated for deposit into such fund. Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any investment earnings or interest earned on amounts in the fund
shall be deposited to the credit of the fund. Monies in the fund shall be used by the Department of Public Safety for the purposes described in this section.
(5) During the regular legislative session held in calendar year 2007 the Legislature shall appropriate Two Million Dollars ($2,000.000.00) to the Tony Gobar Juvenile Justice Alternative Sanctions Grant Fund.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.