2007 Regular Session

To: Conservation and Water Resources

By: Representative Warren

House Bill 767

(As Sent to Governor)



     SECTION 1.  Section 51-3-101, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     51-3-101.  There is created the Mississippi Water Resources Advisory Council, hereinafter referred to as "council," for the purpose of making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on management of the state's water and water-related land resources.

     SECTION 2.  Section 51-3-103, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     51-3-103.  (1)  (a)  The council shall consist of the following members:

     The executive directors of the following agencies, or their designees:  the Department of Environmental Quality; the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; the State Department of Health; the State Forestry Commission; the Soil and Water Conservation Commission; the Mississippi Development Authority; the Department of Marine Resources; the President of the Mississippi Water Resources Association, or his designee; the Director of the Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists, or his designee; and the Director of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, or his designee.  In addition, the Governor shall appoint one (1) representative of each of the following organizations:  the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, the Mississippi Engineering Society, the Mississippi Geological Society, the Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the Mississippi Municipal Association, the Delta Council, a regional water management district, an environmental organization with statewide membership and one (1) individual from each of the state's congressional districts.

     Members of the council not appointed by the Governor as provided above shall serve a term concurrent with their term of office in their respective position.  Nonappointed members may designate another member of their respective board, council or commission to serve as an alternate.

     Members of the council appointed by the Governor shall serve staggered four-year terms.  The initial terms of appointed members shall be as follows:  Four (4) members shall be appointed for terms of two (2) years; five (5) members shall be appointed for a term of three (3) years; and five (5) members shall be appointed for terms of four (4) years.  Thereafter, all terms of the appointed members of the council shall be for four (4) years.  The terms of members shall begin and end on July 1, of the appropriate year, regardless of the date of appointment.

          (b)  In addition to the voting members of the council, as described above, the council may invite, as participating but nonvoting members, representatives of any other state and federal organizations, or individuals possessing expertise in the field of water resources management or who have a viable interest in the wise management of the water resources of the state.

          (c)  Original appointments to the council shall be made no later than October 1, 1995.  The Governor shall require adequate disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by members of the council.  Vacancies on the council shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as the original appointments.

          (d)  The Governor shall appoint from the membership of the council a chairperson to preside over meetings and vice chairperson to preside in the absence of the chairperson or when the chairperson shall be excused.  The council shall adopt procedures governing the manner of conducting its business.  A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum to do business.

          (e)  Members of the council shall serve without compensation.  At the direction of the chairman of the council and contingent upon the availability of sufficient funds, each member may receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses, including travel expenses in accordance with rates established pursuant to Section 25-3-41, incurred in attending meetings of the council.

     (2)  The council shall convene by November 15, 1995.

     (3)  The Department of Environmental Quality shall provide any technical, clerical and other support services and personnel as the council may require in the performance of its functions.  The department shall administer any funds made available to the council for its use and may at the request and on behalf of the council, contract for services using any funds available to the council.  The department may provide supplies and office space as required for the council's routine operations.  The council shall not employ any permanent staff, rent or occupy independent office space or otherwise establish a full-time office.

     (4)  In conducting its activities under Sections 51-3-101 through 51-3-107, the council may elicit the support of and participation by any state agency as may be necessary or appropriate.  All state agencies shall provide support or participation as requested.

     (5)  The council may exercise those duties and powers necessary to carry out the purposes of Sections 51-3-101 through 51-3-105, including, but not limited to, the following functions:

          (a)  Conduct, or cause to be conducted any studies, analyses or evaluations related to the state water management plan.

          (b)  Apply and contract for and accept any grants, public or private funds, gifts or proceeds in furtherance of the activities of the council.

          (c)  Authorize the Executive Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to enter into all contracts or execute all instruments, on behalf of the council, and do all acts necessary, desirable or convenient to carry out any power expressly granted to the council in this chapter.

          (d)  Expend or distribute any funds or assets in its custody or under its control appropriate in carrying out the purposes of Sections 51-3-101 through 51-3-105.

     SECTION 3.  Section 51-3-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     51-3-105.  (1)  The council shall meet at least semiannually for the purpose of reviewing the implementation of the state water management plan and shall:

          (a)  Recommend any amendments necessary to update the plan; or

          (b)  Recommend that no amendments are necessary and the reasons supporting the determination.

     The review shall be conducted as the council determines appropriate, and shall include the participation of the Department of Environmental Quality; Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; Mississippi Development Authority; Department of Marine Resources; Department of Agriculture and Commerce; Soil and Water Conservation Commission; the State Department of Health; and the Forestry Commission.  Any joint water management district or other regional organization that provides the duties of a joint water management district shall be notified and may participate in this review.  Any interested person may, upon written application to the council, seek an amendment to the state water management plan.  The first review of the state water management plan shall be completed by January 1, 1999.

     (2)  (a)  Before January 1 of each year, the council shall submit to the Governor, the Commission on Environmental Quality, the Senate Environmental Protection, Conservation and Water Resources Committee and the House Conservation and Water Resources Committee, a report on the status of the state's water resources.          (b)  The report may contain recommendations regarding the functions and programs of each of the agencies with water-related programs, including, but not limited to:

              (i)  Operations of each of these programs;

              (ii)  Duplications or omissions in the programs and/or missions of the agencies;

              (iii)  Changes in the organizational concepts, institutions, laws and management resources necessary to properly regulate and manage the state's water resources;

              (iv)  Methods to better coordinate activities of the various local, state and federal agencies;

              (v)  Activities that do not conform with the state water management plan;

              (vi)  Methods or ways to increase the efficiency of the state's management of its water resources; and

              (vii)  Other actions that should be considered to ensure the continued availability and quality of abundant surface water and groundwater necessary for the future growth and environmental enhancement of the state.  

     SECTION 4.  Section 51-3-106, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     51-3-106.  Sections 51-3-101 through 51-3-105 shall stand repealed after July 1, 2009.

     SECTION 5.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.