2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Baker (74th)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 65-1-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ELECTED IN THE NOVEMBER 2007 GENERAL ELECTION SHALL SERVE A TERM ENDING ON JULY 1, 2009; TO PROVIDE THAT FROM AND AFTER JULY 1, 2009, THE MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION SHALL CONSIST OF FIVE MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE, WITH ONE MEMBER APPOINTED FROM EACH OF THE FOUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS AND ONE MEMBER APPOINTED FROM THE STATE AT LARGE; TO PRESCRIBE THE TERMS OF OFFICE FOR SUCH MEMBERS; TO AMEND SECTION 65-1-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION SHALL APPOINT FROM AMONG ITS MEMBERSHIP A VICE CHAIRMAN AS WELL AS A CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTION 65-1-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE MANNER AND PROCEDURE FOR THE APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-193, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 65-1-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-1-3. (1) There shall be a Mississippi Transportation Commission which, until the commission is reconstituted as provided under subsection (2) of this section, shall consist of three (3) members, one (1) from each of the three (3) Supreme Court districts of the state. Only qualified electors who are citizens of the Supreme Court district in which he or she offers for election shall be eligible for such office.
On Tuesday after the first Monday in November of the year 2007, transportation commissioners shall be elected at the same time and in the same manner as the Governor is chosen; and the laws governing primary elections and the holding of general elections in this state shall apply to and govern the nomination and election of such commissioners. The transportation commissioners so elected shall enter upon the discharge of the duties of their respective offices on the first Monday of January in the year 2008, and * * * shall serve * * * until their successors are appointed and qualified as provided under subsection (2) of this section.
(2) From and after July 1, 2009, the Mississippi Transportation Commission shall consist of five (5) members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, one from each of the four (4) congressional districts of the state, as constituted on January 1, 2009, and one (1) from the state at large. Only qualified electors who are citizens of the state shall be eligible for such office. The initial appointees shall serve for terms of two (2), four (4), six (6), eight (8) and ten (10) years respectively, the terms of the persons so appointed to be determined by lot. Upon expiration of office of an initial appointee, his successor shall be appointed for a term of ten (10) years, shall be appointed in the same manner and shall have the same qualifications as his predecessor in office.
(3) If any one or more of the transportation commissioners elected or appointed under the provisions of this chapter shall die, resign or be removed from office, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the unexpired term * * *.
Each transportation commissioner, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe the oath of office required of other state officials and shall execute bond in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), with some surety company authorized to do business in this state as surety, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of his office and for the faithful and true accounting of all funds or monies or property coming into his hands by virtue of his office, and conditioned further that all such funds, monies and property will be expended and used by him only for purposes authorized by law, said bond to be approved by the Governor or Attorney General and to be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State. The premium on such bonds shall be paid out of the funds of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
(5) From and after July 1, 1992, the State Highway Commission shall be the Mississippi Transportation Commission and the members thereof shall be the Mississippi Transportation Commissioners.
SECTION 2. Section 65-1-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-1-5. When the transportation commissioners enter upon the duties of their office, the Transportation Commission shall meet and organize by the election of one (1) of its members to serve as chairman and another as vice chairman of the commission for the terms for which such commissioners shall have been elected. The vice chairman shall have all the powers of the chairman in the event of the chairman's absence or disability or of a vacancy in the office. The commission, a majority of which shall constitute a quorum, shall meet in regular session on the second Tuesday of each month at the office of the commission in Jackson, Mississippi; however, the commission may meet in regular session not more than three (3) times each year at such other location as may be set by the commission. At such regular sessions the commission may hear, continue and determine any and all matters coming before it. The commission may hold special sessions at the call of the executive director or the chairman at such times and places in this state as either of them may deem necessary. At such special sessions it may hear, continue, consider and determine any and all matters coming before it, provided that at least five (5) days' notice of such meetings shall be given to all the members of the commission beforehand. A special session may be called at any time without the foregoing notice, or any notice, if by and with the unanimous consent of all the members of the commission, but such unanimous consent shall be spread at large on the minutes of the commission. If any session is held at a location other than at the commission's office in Jackson, Mississippi, the commission shall make provisions to allow public participation in the meeting by appearing at the Jackson office.
The Mississippi Transportation Commission shall act as a legal entity, and shall only speak through its minutes, and in all matters shall act as a unit. Any action on the part of any member of the commission separately shall not bind the commission as a unit, but such individual member only shall be liable personally on his official bond.
The Mississippi Transportation Commission shall be a body corporate and as such may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, in any court of justice having jurisdiction of the subject matter of any such suit. In any suit against the Mississippi Transportation Commission service of process shall be had by serving the secretary of the commission with such process; and a copy of the declaration, petition or bill of complaint, or other initial pleading shall be handed the secretary along with the process.
SECTION 3. Section 65-1-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-1-9. The commission shall appoint an Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation * * *. The person serving as executive director of the * * * department on June 30, 2009, shall * * * be eligible for reappointment to the position * * *. The executive director may be removed by a majority vote of the commission * * *. The commission shall fix the compensation of the executive director, subject to approval by the State Personnel Board. The executive director shall be eligible for reappointment. The executive director shall have the following qualifications:
(a) Possess a wide knowledge of the transportation system and needs of Mississippi;
(b) Possess a wide knowledge of the principles of transportation organization and administration; and
(c) Possess selected training or expertise in the field of transportation.
No person who is a member of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, or who has been a member of the transportation commission or of its predecessor, the State Highway Commission, within two (2) years next preceding his appointment, shall be eligible to be chosen as executive director of the department. The executive director shall be the executive officer of the commission and shall be subject to its orders and directions. The executive director shall give his entire time to the duties of his office. Before entering upon the duties of his office, the executive director shall give bond to the State of Mississippi in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned upon the faithful discharge and performance of his official duty. The principal and surety on such bond shall be liable thereunder to the state for double the amount of value of any money or property which the state may lose, if any, by reason of any wrongful or criminal act of the executive director. Such bond, when approved by the commission, shall be filed with the Secretary of State, and the premium thereon shall be paid from any funds available to the commission.
SECTION 4. Section 23-15-193, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-193. (1) At the election in 1995, and every four (4) years thereafter, there shall be elected a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer, Attorney General, three (3) public service commissioners, * * * Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Senators and members of the House of Representatives in the Legislature, district attorneys for the several districts, clerks of the circuit and chancery courts of the several counties, as well as sheriffs, coroners, assessors, surveyors and members of the boards of supervisors, justice court judges and constables, and all other officers to be elected by the people at the general state election. All such officers shall hold their offices for a term of four (4) years, and until their successors are elected and qualified. * * *
(2) At the election in 2007, there shall be elected three (3) Mississippi Transportation Commissioners who shall hold their office until their successors are appointed and qualified as provided under Section 65-1-3(2).
(3) The state officers described in subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall be elected in the manner prescribed in Section 140 of the Constitution.
SECTION 5. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.