2007 Regular Session

To: Marine Resources; Appropriations

By: Representative Frierson

House Bill 1468

(As Passed the House)



     SECTION 1.  Section 57-15-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     57-15-5.  (1)  It is hereby declared to be the intent of the Legislature by this chapter that the policy of the council hereby created shall be conducted according to the following guidelines: the council shall have the general purpose and policy of studying and developing plans, proposals, reports and recommendations for the development and utilization of the coastal and offshore lands, waters and marine resources of this state in order to insure that all future plans and/or programs of the State of Mississippi involving the field of marine resources and sciences, oceanographic research, and related studies, will be coordinated with comparable functions and programs of agencies of the United States government.  The council shall further have the purpose and policy to help coordinate, as hereinabove provided, all plans of other agencies of this state engaged in similar activities and of the various states of the United States of America, and also with all private agencies whose purpose is marine science and resource development.  The council is further authorized to enter into contract with any state or federal agency as may be necessary and requisite to carry out the purposes of this chapter.  The council shall have the responsibility for the general management of the state's wetlands.

     (2)  The council is authorized and empowered to solicit and accept financial support from sources other than the state, including private or public sources or foundations.  All funds received by or appropriated to the council shall be deposited upon receipt thereof into a special fund in the State Treasury to be known and designated as the "Mississippi Marine Resources Fund."  Expenditures from said fund shall be made in the following manner:  expenditures by and for the council for the purpose of carrying out its functions as provided by law shall be made with the approval of the council at any meeting upon requisitions presented to the State Auditor in the manner provided by law, and paid by the State Treasurer.  Full and complete accounting shall be kept and made by the council for all funds received and expended by it.  Representatives of the office of the State Auditor of Public Accounts annually shall audit the expenditure of funds received by the council from all sources and the said auditor shall make a complete and detailed report of such audit to the Legislature.  It is further provided that all state appropriated funds expended shall conform to all requirements of law as provided for expenditures.

     (3)  The council may solicit, receive and expend contributions, matching funds, gifts, bequests and devises from any source, whether federal, state, public or private, as authorized by annual appropriations therefor.

     (4)  The council may enter into agreements with federal, state, public or private agencies, departments, institutions, firms, corporations or persons to carry out its policies as provided for in this chapter.  To accomplish these goals, the council may expend any such sums from any source as herein provided.

     The agreements provided for in this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions:

          (a)  The duration of the agreement;

          (b)  The purpose of the agreement;

          (c)  A description of the procedures to be used in carrying out the purpose of the agreement; and

          (d)  Provisions for termination of the agreement.

     Any entity entering into such an agreement shall comply with the provisions therein.

     (5)  The council is authorized and empowered to accept financial support from any federal outer continental shelf revenue sharing programs.  All funds received from such programs shall be deposited upon receipt thereof into a special trust fund in the State Treasury to be known and designated as the "Outer Continental Shelf Trust Fund."  Expenditures from said fund shall be made for the benefit of any project affecting any county in the State of Mississippi which borders on the Gulf of Mexico with the approval of the Legislature.

     (6)  The council may contract with other governmental agencies and third parties for the acquisition and management of lands and properties for inclusion in the "Coastal Preserve System."  For purposes of these contracts with other governmental agencies or third parties and the expenditure of funds pursuant to the contracts, the "Coastal Preserve System" as defined by the council shall be deemed to be a part of the ecosystems of the Public Trust Tidelands.  Contracts authorized under this section may provide funds for the management of properties included in the "Coastal Preserve System."

     (7)  There is established a special account to be known as the "Coastal Preserve System Timber Account" within the "Mississippi Marine Resources Fund."  Any funds received from the salvage or harvesting of timber or sale of other forest products from lands included in, or managed as part of the Coastal Preserve System shall be credited to the "Coastal Preserve System Timber Account." 

     Any unexpended funds remaining in the account at the end of the fiscal year shall not lapse into the General Fund, but shall remain in the account.  The account shall be treated as a special trust fund and interest earned on the principal shall be credited to the fund.  Any funds in the account may be expended, subject to the approval of the Legislature, for the management and improvement of the Coastal Preserve System consistent with its purposes or for the acquisition of additional lands for inclusion in the Coastal Preserve System.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.