2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A; County Affairs
By: Senator(s) Ross
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 9-11-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE COUNTIES TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE SECURITY IN JUSTICE COURT COURTROOMS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 9-11-9 AND 99-33-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE JURISDICTION OF JUSTICE COURTS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 9-11-3 AND 9-11-4, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR JUSTICE COURT JUDGES; TO AMEND SECTION 11-9-143, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE TRIAL BY JURY IN JUSTICE COURTS; TO AMEND SECTION 97-37-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE JUSTICE COURT JUDGES TO CARRY A CONCEALED WEAPON ON THE SAME BASIS AS JUDGES OF OTHER COURTS; TO AMEND SECTION 11-9-107, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE SERVICE OF PROCESS IN JUSTICE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 25-3-36, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE SALARIES OF JUSTICE COURT JUDGES; TO AMEND SECTION 25-7-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE THE FILING FEE IN CIRCUIT AND COUNTY COURTS TO OFFSET THE LOSS OF INCOME FROM THE INCREASE IN CIVIL JURISDICTION IN JUSTICE COURT; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 11-9-143, 11-9-145 AND 11-9-147, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, DEALING WITH JURIES IN JUSTICE COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 9-11-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-11-5. (1) The justice court judges shall be provided courtrooms by the county and all trials shall be held therein. Such courtrooms shall be in the county courthouse, county office building or any other building within the county deemed appropriate by the board of supervisors.
(2) The county shall provide office space and furnish each justice court office, provide necessary office supplies and furnish adequate security.
(3) The board of supervisors of each county may secure insurance coverage to protect the office of the justice court clerk against losses due to theft or robbery.
SECTION 2. Section 9-11-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-11-9. (1) (a) Justice court judges shall have jurisdiction of all actions for the recovery of debts or damages or personal property, where the principal of the debt, the amount of the demand, or the value of the property sought to be recovered shall not exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
(b) The justice court judges shall have no pecuniary interest in the outcome of any action once suit has been filed.
(2) The criminal jurisdiction of the justice court shall be as provided in Section 99-33-1.
SECTION 3. Section 99-33-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-33-1. (1) [Repealed]
(3) Upon the election of any county to employ a clerk for the justice court of such county in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3) of Section 9-11-27 prior to January 1, 1984, the venue of criminal actions in such county shall be as provided in subsection (5) of this section. Actions filed prior to such time shall be concluded pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section.
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 1984; provided, however, that criminal actions brought prior to January 1, 1984, shall be concluded pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
(5) From and after January 1, 1984, justice court judges shall have jurisdiction concurrent with the circuit court of the county over all crimes occurring in the county whereof the punishment prescribed does not extend beyond a fine and imprisonment in the county jail; provided, that if a defendant invokes the right of a trial by jury under Section 31 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, jurisdiction shall be in the circuit court.
SECTION 4. Section 9-11-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-11-3. (1) Except as otherwise provided herein, no justice court judge elected for a full term of office commencing on or after January 1, 1992, shall exercise the judicial functions of his office or be eligible to take the oath of office unless he has filed in the office of the chancery clerk a certificate of completion of a course of training and education conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center within six (6) months of the beginning of the term for which such justice is elected. A justice court judge who has completed the course of training and education and has satisfied his annual continuing education course requirements, and who is then elected for a succeeding term of office subsequent to the initial term for which he completed the training course, shall not be required to repeat the training and education course upon reelection.
(2) In addition to meeting the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, after taking office, each justice court judge shall be required to attend twenty-seven (27) hours of continuing education as set forth in Section 9-11-4 and file annually in the office of the chancery clerk a certificate of completion of twenty-seven (27) hours of continuing education conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College.
(3) The requirements for obtaining each of the certificates in subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall be as provided in Section 9-11-4.
(4) Upon the failure of any justice court judge to complete the training and file with the chancery clerk the certificates of completion as provided in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, such justice court judge shall, in addition to any other fine or punishment provided by law for such conduct, not be entitled to compensation for the period of time during which such certificates remain unfiled.
SECTION 5. Section 9-11-4, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-11-4. (1) The Mississippi Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center shall prepare and conduct courses of training for basic and continuing education for justice court judges of this state. The basic course of training shall be known as the "Justice Court Judge Training Course" and shall consist of at least thirty-two (32) hours of training. The continuing education course shall be known as the "Continuing Education Course for Justice Court Judges," and shall consist of at least twenty-seven (27) hours of training. The content of the basic and continuing education courses and when and where such courses are to be conducted shall be determined by the Judicial College. The Judicial College shall issue certificates of completion to those justice court judges who complete such courses.
(2) All costs and expenses for preparing and conducting the basic and continuing education courses provided for in subsection (1) of this section shall be paid out of any funds which are made available to the Judicial College upon authorization and appropriation by the Legislature.
SECTION 6. Section 11-9-143, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-9-143. * * * There shall be no trial by jury, civil or criminal, in justice court.
SECTION 7. Section 97-37-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-37-7. (1) (a) It shall not be a violation of Section 97-37-1 or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by duly constituted bank guards, company guards, watchmen, railroad special agents or duly authorized representatives who are not sworn law enforcement officers, agents or employees of a patrol service, guard service, or a company engaged in the business of transporting money, securities or other valuables, while actually engaged in the performance of their duties as such, provided that such persons have made a written application and paid a nonrefundable permit fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) to the Department of Public Safety.
(b) No permit shall be issued to any person who has ever been convicted of a felony under the laws of this or any other state or of the United States. To determine an applicant's eligibility for a permit, the person shall be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. The department shall charge a fee which includes the amounts required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the department for the national and state criminal history record checks and any necessary costs incurred by the department for the handling and administration of the criminal history background checks. In the event a legible set of fingerprints, as determined by the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cannot be obtained after a minimum of three (3) attempts, the Department of Public Safety shall determine eligibility based upon a name check by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and a Federal Bureau of Investigation name check conducted by the Mississippi Safety Patrol at the request of the Department of Public Safety.
(c) A person may obtain a duplicate of a lost or destroyed permit upon payment of a Fifteen Dollar ($15.00) replacement fee to the Department of Public Safety, if he furnishes a notarized statement to the department that the permit has been lost or destroyed.
(d) (i) No less than ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date of a permit, the Department of Public Safety shall mail to the permit holder written notice of expiration together with the renewal form prescribed by the department. The permit holder shall renew the permit on or before the expiration date by filing with the department the renewal form, a notarized affidavit stating that the permit holder remains qualified, and the renewal fee of Fifty Dollars ($50.00); provided, however, that honorably retired law enforcement officers shall be exempt from payment of the renewal fee. A permit holder who fails to file a renewal application on or before its expiration date shall pay a late fee of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00).
(ii) Renewal of the permit shall be required every four (4) years. The permit of a qualified renewal applicant shall be renewed upon receipt of the completed renewal application and appropriate payment of fees.
(iii) A permit cannot be renewed six (6) months or more after its expiration date, and such permit shall be deemed to be permanently expired; the holder may reapply for an original permit as provided in this section.
(2) It shall not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks law enforcement officers, railroad special agents who are sworn law enforcement officers, investigators employed by the Attorney General, district attorneys, legal assistants to district attorneys, criminal investigators employed by the district attorneys, investigators or probation officers employed by the Department of Corrections, employees of the State Auditor who are authorized by the State Auditor to perform investigative functions, or any deputy fire marshal or investigator employed by the State Fire Marshal, while engaged in the performance of their duties as such, or by fraud investigators with the Department of Human Services, or by judges of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit, chancery, county, justice and municipal courts. Before any person shall be authorized under this subsection to carry a weapon, he shall complete a weapons training course approved by the Board of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training. Before any criminal investigator employed by a district attorney shall be authorized under this section to carry a pistol, firearm or other weapon, he shall have complied with Section 45-6-11 or any training program required for employment as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A law enforcement officer, as defined in Section 45-6-3, shall be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses in performance of his official duties. This section shall in no way interfere with the right of a trial judge to restrict the carrying of firearms in the courtroom.
(3) It shall not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons, to be carried by any out-of-state, full-time commissioned law enforcement officer who holds a valid commission card from the appropriate out-of-state law enforcement agency and a photo identification. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply if the state where the out-of-state officer is employed has entered into a reciprocity agreement with the state that allows full-time commissioned law enforcement officers in Mississippi to lawfully carry or possess a weapon in such other states. The Commissioner of Public Safety is authorized to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to carry out the provisions of this subsection.
SECTION 8. Section 11-9-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-9-107. When any criminal process has not been returned by a constable within ten (10) working days after issuance by the clerk of the justice court, the clerk shall direct the sheriff of his county and his deputies to execute any such process of the justice court; and the sheriff and his deputies shall execute any process so directed to him by any clerk of the justice court. Service of process in a civil suit shall be made and returned according to the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
SECTION 9. Section 25-3-36, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-3-36. (1) Every justice court judge shall receive as full compensation for his or her services and in lieu of any and all other fees, costs or compensation heretofore authorized for such justice court judge, an annual salary based upon the population of his or her county according to the latest federal decennial census; however, no justice court judge shall be paid less than the salary authorized under this section to be paid the justice court judge based upon the population of the county according to the 1980 federal decennial census. The amount of which salary shall be determined as follows:
(a) In counties with a population of more than two hundred thousand (200,000), a salary of Fifty-five Thousand Five Hundred Fifty-nine Dollars ($55,559.00).
(b) In counties with a population of more than one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) but not more than two hundred thousand (200,000), a salary of Fifty-one Thousand Five Dollars ($51,005.00).
(c) In counties with a population of more than seventy-five thousand (75,000) but not more than one hundred fifty thousand (150,000), a salary of Forty-six Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-one Dollars ($46,451.00).
(d) In counties with a population of more than forty-nine thousand (49,000) but not more than seventy-five thousand (75,000), a salary of Forty Thousand Seventy-five Dollars ($40,075.00).
(e) In counties with a population of more than thirty-four thousand (34,000) but not more than forty-nine thousand (49,000), a salary of Thirty-four Thousand Six Hundred Ten Dollars ($34,610.00).
(f) In counties with a population of more than twenty-four thousand five hundred (24,500) but not more than thirty-four thousand (34,000), a salary of Thirty-two Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty-nine Dollars ($32,789.00).
(g) In counties with a population of more than twenty-one thousand (21,000) but not more than twenty-four thousand five hundred (24,500), a salary of Twenty-nine Thousand One Hundred Forty-six Dollars ($29,146.00).
(h) In counties with a population of more than sixteen thousand five hundred (16,500) but not more than twenty-one thousand (21,000), a salary of Twenty-five Thousand Five Hundred Two Dollars ($25,502.00).
(i) In counties with a population of more than twelve thousand (12,000) but not more than sixteen thousand five hundred (16,500), a salary of Twenty-one Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty-nine Dollars ($21,859.00).
(j) In counties with a population of more than eight thousand (8,000) but not more than twelve thousand (12,000), a salary of Eighteen Thousand Dollars ($18,000.00).
(k) In counties with a population of eight thousand (8,000) or less, a salary of Fourteen Thousand Four Hundred Dollars ($14,400.00).
The board of supervisors of any county having two (2) judicial districts and two (2) justice court judges for the county shall pay each justice court judge an amount equal to that provided in this subsection for judges in the next higher population category per year, if the justice court judge maintains regular office hours and is personally present in the office they maintain for at least thirty (30) hours per week.
In any county having a population greater than eight thousand (8,000) but less than eight thousand five hundred (8,500) according to the 1990 federal decennial census and in which U.S. Highway 61 and Mississippi Highway 4 intersect, the board of supervisors, in its discretion, may pay such justice court judges an additional amount not to exceed the sum of Eleven Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Dollars ($11,550.00) per year, payable beginning April 1, 1997.
In any county having a population greater than ten thousand (10,000) but less than ten thousand five hundred (10,500) according to the 1990 federal decennial census and in which Mississippi Highway 3 and Mississippi Highway 6 intersect, the board of supervisors, in its discretion, may pay such justice court judges an additional amount not to exceed One Thousand Four Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,450.00) per year, payable beginning April 1, 1997.
In any county having a population greater than twenty-four thousand seven hundred (24,700) and less than twenty-four thousand nine hundred (24,900), according to the 1990 federal census, wherein Mississippi Highways 15 and 16 intersect, the board of supervisors shall pay such justice court judge an additional amount equal to Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) per year.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, in the event that the number of justice court judges authorized pursuant to Section 9-11-2(1) is exceeded pursuant to the provisions of Section 9-11-2(4), the aggregate of the salaries paid to the justice court judges of such a county shall not exceed the amount sufficient to pay the number of justice court judges authorized pursuant to Section 9-11-2(1), and such amount shall be equally divided among those justice court judges continuing to hold office under the provisions of Section 9-11-2(4).
(3) From and after January 1, 1984, all fees, costs, fines and penalties charged and collected in the justice court shall be paid to the clerk of the justice court for deposit, along with monies from cash bonds and other monies which have been forfeited in criminal cases, into the general fund of the county as provided in Section 9-11-19; and the clerk of the board of supervisors shall be authorized and empowered, upon approval by the board of supervisors, to make disbursements and withdrawals from the general fund of the county in order to pay any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in complying with this section, including payment of the salaries of justice court judges as provided by subsection (1) of this section. The provisions of this subsection shall not, except as to cash bonds and other monies which have been forfeited in criminal cases, apply to monies required to be deposited in the justice court clerk clearing account as provided in Section 9-11-18, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(4) The salaries provided for in this section shall be payable monthly by warrant drawn by the clerk of the board of supervisors on the general fund of the county; however, the board of supervisors, by resolution duly adopted and entered on its minutes, may provide that such salaries shall be paid semimonthly on the first and fifteenth day of each month. If a pay date falls on a weekend or legal holiday, salary payments shall be made on the workday immediately preceding the weekend or legal holiday.
(5) Provided, that the salary of any justice court judge shall not be reduced during his term of office as a result of a population change following a federal decennial census.
(6) Any justice court judge who is unable to attend and hold court by reason of being under suspension by the Commission on Judicial Performance or the Mississippi Supreme Court shall not receive a salary while under such suspension.
(7) In addition to the salary provided in subsection (1) of this section, the board of supervisors of any county, in its discretion, may pay an annual supplement, whether monthly or otherwise, to the justice court judges of the county in an amount not to exceed ten percent (10%) of the salary provided in subsection (1). The amount of the supplement shall be spread upon the minutes of the board and shall be equal for all justice court judges.
SECTION 10. Section 25-7-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-7-13. (1) The clerks of the circuit court shall charge the following fees:
(a) Docketing, filing, marking and registering each complaint, petition and indictment....................... $80.00
The fee set forth in this paragraph shall be the total fee for all services performed by the clerk up to and including entry of judgment with respect to each complaint, petition or indictment, including all answers, claims, orders, continuances and other papers filed therein, issuing each writ, summons, subpoena or other such instruments, swearing witnesses, taking and recording bonds and pleas, and recording judgments, orders, fiats and certificates; the fee shall be payable upon filing and shall accrue to the clerk at the time of collection. The clerk or his successor in office shall perform all duties set forth above without additional compensation or fee.
(b) Docketing and filing each motion to renew judgment, suggestion for a writ of garnishment, suggestion for a writ of execution and judgment debtor actions and issuing all process, filing and recording orders or other papers and swearing
(c) For every civil case filed, an additional fee to be deposited to the credit of the Comprehensive Electronic Court Systems Fund established in Section 9-21-14...................... $10.00
(2) Except as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the clerks of the circuit court shall charge the following fees:
(a) Filing and marking each order or other paper and recording and indexing same.............................. $ 2.00
(b) Issuing each writ, summons, subpoena, citation, capias and other such instruments............................... $ 1.00
(c) Administering an oath and taking bond..... $ 2.00
(d) Certifying copies of filed documents, for each complete document................................................. $ 1.00
(e) Recording orders, fiats, licenses, certificates, oaths and bonds:
First page................................ $ 2.00
Each additional page...................... $ 1.00
(f) Furnishing copies of any papers of record or on file and entering marginal notations on documents of record:
If performed by the clerk or his employee,
per page................................................. $ 1.00
If performed by any other person, per page$ .25
(g) Judgment roll entry....................... $ 5.00
(h) Taxing cost and certificate............... $ 1.00
(i) For taking and recording application for marriage license, for filing and recording consent of parents when required by law, for filing and recording medical certificate, filing and recording proof of age, recording and issuing license, recording and filing returns........................................... $20.00
The clerk shall deposit Fourteen Dollars ($14.00) of each fee collected for a marriage license in the Victims of Domestic Violence Fund established in Section 93-21-117, on a monthly basis.
(j) For certified copy of marriage license and search of record, the same fee charged by the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State Board of Health.
(k) For public service not particularly provided for, the circuit court may allow the clerk, per annum, to be paid by the county on presentation of the circuit court's order, the following amount...................................................... $5,000.00
However, in the counties having two (2) judicial districts, such above allowance shall be made for each judicial district.
(l) For drawing jurors and issuing venire, to be paid by the county............................................... $ 5.00
(m) For each day's attendance upon the circuit court term, for himself and necessary deputies allowed by the court, each to be paid by the county....................................... $50.00
(n) Summons, each juror to be paid by the county upon the allowance of the court................................... $ 1.00
(o) For issuing each grand jury subpoena, to be paid by the county on allowance by the court, not to exceed Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) in any one (1) term of court.................... $ 1.00
(p) For each civil filing, to be deposited into the Civil Legal Assistance Fund.................................... $ 5.00
(3) On order of the court, clerks and deputies may be allowed five (5) extra days for attendance upon the court to get up records.
(4) The clerk's fees in state cases where the state fails in the prosecution, or in cases of felony where the defendant is convicted and the cost cannot be made out of his estate, in an amount not to exceed Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00) in one (1) year, shall be paid out of the county treasury on approval of the circuit court, and the allowance thereof by the board of supervisors of the county. In counties having two (2) judicial districts, such allowance shall be made in each judicial district; however, the maximum thereof shall not exceed Eight Hundred Dollars ($800.00). Clerks in the circuit court, in cases where appeals are taken in criminal cases and no appeal bond is filed, shall be allowed by the board of supervisors of the county after approval of their accounts by the circuit court, in addition to the above fees, for making such transcript the rate of Two Dollars ($2.00) per page.
(5) The clerk of the circuit court may retain as his commission on all money coming into his hands, by law or order of the court, a sum to be fixed by the court not exceeding one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) on all such sums.
(6) For making final records required by law, including, but not limited to, circuit and county court minutes, and furnishing transcripts of records, the circuit clerk shall charge Two Dollars ($2.00) per page. The same fees shall be allowed to all officers for making and certifying copies of records or papers which they are authorized to copy and certify.
(7) The circuit clerk shall prepare an itemized statement of fees for services performed, cost incurred, or for furnishing copies of any papers of record or on file, and shall submit the statement to the parties or, if represented, to their attorneys within sixty (60) days. A bill for same shall accompany the statement.
SECTION 11. (1) The Mississippi Justice Court Judge Compensation Study Committee is hereby created. It shall consist of fifteen (15) voting and two (2) nonvoting members who are to be selected as follows:
(a) Four (4) justice court judges elected by the Conference of Justice Court Judges, only one (1) of whom is also an attorney.
(b) One (1) chancellor elected by the Conference of Chancery Judges.
(c) One (1) circuit judge elected by the Conference of Circuit Judges.
(d) One (1) county court judge elected by the Conference of County Court Judges.
(e) The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Division A, and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary A Committee, or their designees, shall serve as legislative liaisons and nonvoting members.
(f) The Lieutenant Governor shall appoint two (2) members, neither of whom is an attorney nor a member of the Legislature.
(g) The Speaker of the House shall appoint two (2) members, neither of whom is an attorney nor a member of the Legislature.
(h) The Presidents of The Mississippi Bar and the Magnolia Bar Association shall each appoint one (1) member, each of whom shall be licensed to practice law in the State of Mississippi.
(i) One (1) prosecutor elected by the Prosecutors' Association.
(j) The Governor shall appoint one (1) Public Defender who works at the trial level.
Members shall be appointed for a two-year term. Appointments and vacancies on the study committee shall be filled by the respective selecting and appointing authorities.
(2) The purpose of the study committee shall be to make recommendations to the Legislature as to the best and most appropriate compensation for justice court judges; conducting research relating to improvement of the administration of justice at the justice court level; and making a comprehensive study of the state justice court system for the purpose of the improvement thereof. In addition, the study committee is charged with the examination of the operational needs, including budget and staffing, of the justice courts.
(3) (a) The Governor shall set and give notice of the time, date and place of the initial meeting, at which time the study committee shall elect a chairperson from its members who shall preside at the meetings of the committee. The chair shall not vote unless necessary to break a tie vote of the committee. The committee shall elect a vice chair who shall preside over meetings in the absence of the chair and any other officers which it considers necessary to carry out the purpose of the committee. The committee may form any committees from its membership in order to assist the committee in accomplishing its purposes as provided in this section.
(b) The committee shall meet quarterly and at such other times as meetings may be called by the chair. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum at any meeting. Any final action taken by the study committee shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the nonlegislative members.
(4) The Administrative Office of Courts shall provide such support of the Mississippi Justice Court Compensation Study Committee as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, research and clerical assistance.
(5) (a) In addition to the other duties specified, the committee shall file reports with the Legislature not later than December 15, 2007, and December 15, 2008, detailing its findings and recommendations.
(b) The committee is authorized and empowered for the accomplishment of its purposes to undertake any studies, reviews, inquiries, hearings, examinations, surveys or analyses as it may deem pertinent, relevant and justified. The committee shall propose and prepare in detailed form for the consideration of the Legislature such amendments to existing law, such statutes, and such constitutional amendments as in the judgment of the committee will promote the administration of justice.
(6) The committee is authorized to call upon any and all existing courts, agencies, departments, divisions, officers, employees, boards, bureaus, commissions and institutions of the State of Mississippi, or any political subdivision thereof, to furnish such information, data and assistance as will enable it to carry out its powers and duties hereunder and all such agencies, departments, divisions, officers, employees, boards, bureaus, commissions and institutions of the State of Mississippi and its political subdivisions are hereby directed to cooperate with the committee and render such information, data, aid and assistance as may be requested by the committee.
(7) The committee shall have the power to enlist the services of any agency, either public or private, or any individual or educational institution, bar association, research organization, foundation or educational or civic organization for assistance in accomplishing the purposes of this act, conducting research studies, gathering information or printing and publishing its reports. The committee is authorized to make and sign any agreements or contracts to do or perform any actions that may be necessary, desirable or proper to carry out the purposes and objectives of this section.
(8) The committee may employ any agents, clerks, researchers, counsel, consultants and other personnel necessary for the performance of the duties of the study committee and fix their respective rates of compensation, all subject to the approval of the State Personnel Board and within the amounts made available by appropriation therefor or received from other sources.
(9) Members of the committee shall receive a per diem as provided in Section 25-3-69 for actual attendance upon meetings of the study committee, together with reimbursement for traveling and subsistence expenses incurred as provided in Section 25-3-41, except that members of the study committee who are members of the Legislature shall not receive per diem for attendance while the Legislature is in session and no member whose regular compensation is payable by the state or any political subdivision of the state shall receive per diem for attendance upon meetings of the study committee.
(10) The committee is authorized and empowered to receive and expend any funds appropriated to it by the Legislature and any funds received by it from any other source in carrying out the objectives and purposes of this act.
(11) The committee shall stand dissolved on December 31, 2008.
SECTION 12. Sections 11-9-143, 11-9-145 and 11-9-147, Mississippi Code of 1972, dealing with juries in justice court, are repealed.
SECTION 13. 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 14. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after October 1, 2007, or the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended, whichever is later.