1997 Regular Session
To: Ways and Means
By: Representative Dedeaux
House Bill 965
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-51-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF "MOTOR VEHICLE" TO EXCLUDE CAMPERS AND TRAVEL TRAILERS IN ORDER TO LOWER THE COST OF LICENSE TAGS FOR CAMPERS AND TRAVEL TRAILERS; TO AMEND SECTION 55-3-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND PARKS TO IMPOSE A CERTAIN FINE ON RESIDENTS CAMPING IN STATE PARKS WHO DO NOT HAVE LICENSE TAGS ON THEIR CAMPERS OR TRAVEL TRAILERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this act is to provide incentives for persons to purchase license tags for their campers and travel trailers by lowering the cost of such tags and by authorizing the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to impose fines on residents camping in state parks who do not have such license tags.
SECTION 2. Section 27-51-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-51-5. The subject words and terms of this section, for the purpose of this chapter, shall have meanings as follows:
(a) "Motor vehicle" shall mean any device and attachments supported by one or more wheels which is propelled or drawn by any power other than muscular power over the highways, streets or alleys of this state. Provided, however, that mobile homes which are detached from any self-propelled vehicles and parked on land in the state are hereby expressly exempt from the motor vehicle ad valorem taxes, but house trailers which are actually in transit and which are not parked for more than an overnight stop are not exempted. Campers and travel trailers are excluded from the definition of "motor vehicle." Excluding campers and travel trailers from the definition of "motor vehicle" reduces the assessment ratio and the ad valorem tax due on campers and travel trailers.
(b) "Public highway" shall mean and include every way or place of whatever nature, including public roads, streets and alleys of this state generally open to the use of the public or to be opened or reopened to the use of the public for the purpose of vehicular travel, notwithstanding that the same may be temporarily closed for the purpose of construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair.
(c) "Administrator of the road and bridge privilege tax law" shall mean the official authorized by law to administer the road and bridge privilege tax law of this state.
SECTION 3. Section 55-3-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
55-3-33. (1) The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall have the power and authority, and it shall be its duty to:
(a) Take charge and have full jurisdiction and control over all state parks, which parks shall be operated for the purpose of providing outdoor recreational activities and enjoyment for the citizens of the State of Mississippi and for the purpose of attracting visitors to the state.
(b) Set up a uniform accounting procedure for the state parks and prescribe the manner in which books, records and accounts shall be kept, which procedure shall account for all moneys taken in and expended by the various parks and shall provide for periodic audits of such books.
(c) Accept gifts, bequests of money or other property, real or personal, to be used for the purpose of advancing the recreation and conservation interests in state parks. The department is authorized, subject to approval by the State Legislature, to purchase property, real or personal, to be used for state park purposes.
(d) Contract with the State Transportation Commission, any municipality or board of supervisors of the state for locating, constructing and maintaining roads and other improvements in state parks and for payment of a part of the costs thereof; however, no county or municipality more than twenty-five (25) miles distant from a state park may contract for, or do, or pay for any such work for a state park other than the International Gardens of Mississippi. Any county or municipality authorized to assist financially under the provisions of Sections 55-3-31 through 55-3-51 is authorized, in the discretion of its respective governing authority, to set aside, appropriate and expend moneys from the General Fund for the purpose of defraying such expense after a mandatory election is held on the question within the county or municipality.
(e) Designate employees as peace officers with power to make arrests for infraction of the rules and regulations of the department. Such officers are authorized to carry weapons and to enforce the laws of the State of Mississippi within the confines of a state park.
(f) Enforce and delegate the responsibility to enforce all reasonable rules and regulations governing the occupancy and use of lands and waters in state parks under its jurisdiction, supply recreational and conservation facilities and charge fees for the use of same; review all rates and charges for facilities and accommodations furnished at the various state parks annually, making such charges as are justified; and establish fees for entrance to state parks; and impose a fine of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00) per day, for a maximum of three (3) days per each stay, on any resident camping in the park who does not have current license tags on his camper or travel trailer.
Each park shall retain from revenues generated therein, a sum sufficient to pay necessary expenses of operation, but in no event to be less than seventy-five percent (75%) of such revenues.
(2) The department shall have the authority to lease to any entity, sell and convey or otherwise transfer to any county or municipality, or close any state park or historical site within its jurisdiction which received a General Fund subsidy in Fiscal Year 1985 in excess of Two Dollars ($2.00) per visitor to such state park or historical site; provided, however, that this authority shall not include the authority to sell, lease or convey any park that was not in operation under the jurisdiction of the department for a full fiscal year prior to Fiscal Year 1986.
(3) The department may execute agreements with rails-to-trails and recreational districts by which the department will assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of trails developed under Sections 55-25-1 through 55-25-15.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.