1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee
Senate Bill 2651
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 21-8-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ESTABLISH A METHOD TO CHANGE FROM THE MUNICIPAL MAYOR-COUNCIL FORM OF GOVERNMENT TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE CHARTER FORM OF GOVERNMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 21-8-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-8-3. (1) The manner of effecting the change in the government of any such municipality from the form of government under which it is operating to the mayor-council form of government shall be as follows:
One (1) or more petitions, similar in form and substance, addressed to the mayor, praying that an election be held to determine whether or not such city shall abandon its existing form of government and become organized under the mayor-council form of government, signed by at least ten percent (10%) of the qualified electors of such municipality, provided, however, that any municipality with population of less than forty thousand (40,000) shall be required to be signed by twenty percent (20%), shall be filed with the municipal clerk who shall, within ten (10) days thereafter, check the signatures thereto with the registration books of the municipality and attach thereto his certificate showing the total number of qualified electors in said municipality and the total number of signatures to said petitions and deliver the same to the mayor. Such petition or petitions shall specify the number of councilmen to be on the council and the number of councilmen to be elected from wards and the number at large, if any.
If on the delivery of such petition to the mayor it shall appear that such petition or petitions have not been signed by the required number of qualified electors of such municipality the mayor shall at once certify such fact and immediately return such petition or petitions to the person or persons presenting the same, who may thereafter procure additional signers thereto and again file such petition or petitions with the municipality clerk, as above provided, as an original petition.
If it shall at any time appear from the certificate of the municipality clerk that said petition or petitions have been signed by the required number of qualified electors of said municipality, the mayor shall immediately refer the same to the municipality council or board and, if it shall appear that said petition or petitions are in proper form and have been sufficiently signed by the qualified electors of such municipality, the council or board shall within ten (10) days order and provide for the holding of a special election in such municipality not less than twenty (20) days nor more than sixty (60) days from the date of making such order, notice of which shall be given, and the same shall be held and conducted as other elections in such municipality. At such special election the propositions to be voted for shall be: (a) "For the present form of government" and (b) "For the mayor-council form of government".
No petition requesting that an election be held pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be presented to the municipality clerk within two (2) years after the date of the last election held pursuant to provisions of this chapter, provided that there is no waiting period for the presentation of a petition for a form of government other than the mayor-council form except that it shall not be presented to the municipality clerk until after the date of an election held pursuant to a previously filed petition.
(2) Any municipality which shall have operated for more than two (2) years under the mayor-council form of government may abandon such form of government and return to the code charter form of government by substantially the same procedure through petitions and elections as provided in this chapter for a change to the mayor-council form of government. The terms of the initial mayor and aldermen shall commence at the expiration of the terms of office of the elected officials of the municipality serving at the time of adoption of the return to the code charter form of government. The council existing at the time of the adoption of the code charter form of government shall by ordinance designate the geographical boundaries of the wards for the aldermen within one hundred twenty (120) days after the election in which the code charter form of government is selected, and this ordinance cannot be vetoed by the mayor. In designating the geographical boundaries of the wards, each ward shall contain, as nearly as possible, the population factor obtained by dividing the municipality's population, as shown by the most recent federal census, by the number of wards into which the municipality is to be divided. The initial aldermen chosen shall be elected one (1) from each ward and one (1) at large.
SECTION 2. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is hereby directed to 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 3. 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.