2007 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges
By: Representative Martinson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-101-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING TO PHASE OUT REMEDIAL COURSES IN READING AND READING COMPREHENSION FOR CERTAIN STUDENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-101-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-101-15. (a) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall succeed to and continue to exercise control of all records, books, papers, equipment, and supplies, and all lands, buildings, and other real and personal property belonging to or assigned to the use and benefit of the board of trustees formerly supervising and controlling the institutions of higher learning named in Section 37-101-1. The board shall have and exercise control of the use, distribution and disbursement of all funds, appropriations and taxes, now and hereafter in possession, levied and collected, received, or appropriated for the use, benefit, support, and maintenance or capital outlay expenditures of the institutions of higher learning, including the authorization of employees to sign vouchers for the disbursement of funds for the various institutions, except where otherwise specifically provided by law.
(b) The board shall have general supervision of the affairs of all the institutions of higher learning, including the departments and the schools thereof. The board shall have the power, in its discretion, to determine who shall be privileged to enter, to remain in, or to graduate therefrom. The board shall have general supervision of the conduct of libraries and laboratories; the care of dormitories, buildings, and grounds; the business methods and arrangement of accounts and records; the organization of the administrative plan of each institution; and all other matters incident to the proper functioning of the institutions. The board shall have the authority to establish minimum standards of achievement as a prerequisite for entrance into any of the institutions under its jurisdiction, which standards need not be uniform between the various institutions and which may be based upon such criteria as the board may establish. Beginning in the 2007-2008 school year, the board shall require each institution to begin to phase out remedial courses in reading and reading comprehension for students under twenty (20) years of age who hold a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) so that before the 2009-2010 school year, all remedial courses in reading and reading comprehension for such students will have been eliminated.
(c) The board shall exercise all the powers and prerogatives conferred upon it under the laws establishing and providing for the operation of the several institutions herein specified. The board shall adopt such bylaws and regulations from time to time as it deems expedient for the proper supervision and control of the several institutions of higher learning, insofar as such bylaws and regulations are not repugnant to the Constitution and laws, and not inconsistent with the object for which these institutions were established. The board shall have power and authority to prescribe rules and regulations for policing the campuses and all buildings of the respective institutions, to authorize the arrest of all persons violating on any campus any criminal law of the state, and to have such law violators turned over to the civil authorities.
(d) For all institutions specified herein, the board shall provide a uniform system of recording and of accounting approved by the State Department of Audit. The board shall annually prepare, or cause to be prepared, a budget for each institution of higher learning for the succeeding year which must be prepared and in readiness for at least thirty (30) days before the convening of the regular session of the Legislature. All relationships and negotiations between the State Legislature and its various committees and the institutions named herein shall be carried on through the board of trustees. No official, employee or agent representing any of the separate institutions shall appear before the Legislature or any committee thereof except upon the written order of the board or upon the request of the Legislature or a committee thereof.
(e) For all institutions specified herein, the board shall prepare an annual report to the Legislature setting forth the disbursements of all monies appropriated to the respective institutions. Each report to the Legislature shall show how the money appropriated to the several institutions has been expended, beginning and ending with the fiscal years of the institutions, showing the name of each teacher, officer, and employee, and the salary paid each, and an itemized statement of each and every item of receipts and expenditures. Each report must be balanced, and must begin with the former balance. If any property belonging to the state or the institution is used for profit, the reports shall show the expense incurred in managing the property and the amount received therefrom. The reports shall also show a summary of the gross receipts and gross disbursements for each year and shall show the money on hand at the beginning of the fiscal period of the institution next preceding each session of the Legislature and the necessary amount of expense to be incurred from that date to January 1 following. The board shall keep the annual expenditures of each institution herein mentioned within the income derived from legislative appropriations and other sources, but in case of emergency arising from acts of providence, epidemics, fire or storm, with the written approval of the Governor and by written consent of a majority of the senators and of the representatives, it may exceed the income. The board shall require a surety bond in a surety company authorized to do business in this state, of every employee who is the custodian of funds belonging to one or more of the institutions mentioned herein, which bond shall be in a sum to be fixed by the board in an amount that will properly safeguard the * * * funds, the premium for which shall be paid out of the funds appropriated for the institutions.
(f) The board shall have the power and authority to elect the heads of the various institutions of higher learning and to contract with all deans, professors, and other members of the teaching staff, and all administrative employees of the institutions for a term of not exceeding four (4) years. The board shall have the power and authority to terminate any such contract at any time for malfeasance, inefficiency, or contumacious conduct, but never for political reasons. It shall be the policy of the board to permit the executive head of each institution to nominate for election by the board all subordinate employees of the institution over which he presides. It shall be the policy of the board to elect all officials for a definite tenure of service and to reelect during the period of satisfactory service. The board shall have the power to make any adjustments it thinks necessary between the various departments and schools of any institution or between the different institutions.
(g) The board shall keep complete minutes and records of all proceedings, which shall be open for inspection by any citizen of the state.
(h) The board shall have the power to contract, on a shared-savings, lease or lease-purchase basis, for energy efficiency services and/or equipment as prescribed in Section 31-7-14, not to exceed ten (10) years.
(i) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, for and on behalf of Jackson State University, is * * * authorized to convey, by donation or otherwise, easements across portions of certain real estate located in the City of Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, for any right-of-way required for the Metro Parkway Project.
(j) In connection with any international contract between the board or one of the state's institutions of higher learning and any party outside of the United States, the board or institution that is the party to the international contract is * * * authorized and empowered to include in the contract a provision for the resolution by arbitration of any controversy between the parties to the contract relating to such contract or the failure or refusal to perform any part of the contract. Such provision shall be valid, enforceable and irrevocable without regard to the justiciable character of the controversy. * * * However, if either party to such contract initiates litigation against the other with respect to the contract, the arbitration provision shall be deemed waived unless asserted as a defense on or before the responding party is required to answer such litigation.
(k) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning * * *, on behalf of any institution under its jurisdiction, shall purchase and maintain business property insurance and business personal property insurance on all university-owned buildings and/or contents as required by federal law and regulations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as is necessary for receiving public assistance or reimbursement for repair, reconstruction, replacement or other damage to those buildings and/or contents caused by the Hurricane Katrina Disaster of 2005 or subsequent disasters. The board is authorized to expend funds from any available source for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining that property insurance. The board is authorized to enter into agreements with the Department of Finance and Administration, local school districts, community/junior college districts, community hospitals and/or other state agencies to pool their liabilities to participate in a group business property and/or business personal property insurance program, subject to uniform rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Department of Finance and Administration.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.