Article XI, Mississippi Constitution

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Mississippi Constitution
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Article 11 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled Levees. It has 13 sections.

Section 227

Text of Section 227:

Maintenance of Levee System

A levee system shall be maintained in the state as provided in this article.[1]

Section 228

Text of Section 228:

Levee Districts

The division heretofore made by the legislature of the alluvial land of the state into two levee districts-viz., the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District and the Mississippi Levee District, as shown by the laws creating the same, and the amendments thereto-is hereby recognized, and said districts shall so remain until changed by law; but the legislature may hereafter add to either of said districts any other alluvial land in the state.[1]

Section 229

Text of Section 229:

Board of Levee Commissioners

There shall be a board of levee commissioners for the Yazoo-Mississippi delta levee district which shall consist of two members from each of the counties of Coahoma and Tunica, and one member from each of the remaining counties, or parts of counties now or hereafter embraced within the limits of said district.

And there shall also be a board of levee commissioners for the Mississippi levee district which shall consist of two members from each of the counties of Bolivar and Washington and one from each of the counties of Issaquena, Sharkey, and from that part of Humphreys county now embraced within the limits of said district. In the event of the formation of a new county, or counties out of the territory embraced in either or both of said levee districts, each new county shall each be entitled to representation and membership in the proper board or boards.

And in the counties having two judicial districts and from which said counties two levee commissioners are to be elected, at least one of the commissioners shall reside in the judicial districts through which the line of levee runs.[1]

NOTE: Section 1 of Laws 1982, ch. 310, effective March 1, 1982, provides as follows:

“The Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners is hereby authorized to join the Lower Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association and pay dues annually. The board is also authorized to join any association or make contributions to any organization which, in its opinion, can contribute to the completion of flood control projects on the rivers in its district.”

Section 230

Text of Section 230:

Commissioner Qualifications and Bond

All of said commissioners shall be qualified electors of the respective counties or parts of counties from which they may be chosen, except the one selected for the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway Company; and the legislature shall provide that they shall each give bond for the faithful performance of his duties, and shall fix the penalty thereof; but the penalty of such bond in no instance shall be fixed at less than ten thousand dollars, and the sureties thereon shall be freeholders of the district.[1]

Section 231

Text of Section 231:

Election of Commissioners

The levee commissioners shall be elected by the qualified electors of the respective counties, or parts of counties, from which they may be chosen, said election to be held in the manner and at the time as may be prescribed by law.

The term of office of said commissioners shall be four years.[1]

NOTE: Section 1 of Laws 1983, ch. 317, effective from and after April 15, 1983 (the date the United States Attorney General interposed no objection under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965), provides as follows:

“Section 2, Laws 1930, ch. 85, as amended by Section 1, Laws of 1968, ch. 574, is amended as follows:”

“SECTION 2. (a) Except as may be herein otherwise provided, the general laws for the election of county officers shall apply to govern the election of the commissioners of said levee district from their respective counties and parts of counties.

(b) The County Election Commissioners shall have printed on the ballot for any election provided for hereunder the name of any candidate who shall have been requested to be a candidate for the office of commissioner from his county by a petition filed not less than thirty (30) days previous to the date of the election and signed by not less than fifty (50) qualified electors of the county and of the levee district wherein the candidates resides.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, if ten (10) days prior to the date of the election, only one (1) person shall have qualified as a candidate for the office of levee commissioner, the County Election Commissioners shall certify to the Board of Levee Commissioners that there is but one (1) candidate. Thereupon, the County Election Commissioners shall dispense with the election and appoint that one (1) candidate in lieu of an election. The clerk of the board shall certify to the Secretary of State the fact of such appointment in lieu of an election, and the person so appointed shall be commissioned by the Governor.”

Section 232

Text of Section 232:

Duties and Powers of Commissioners

The commissioners of said levee districts shall have supervision of the erection, repair, and maintenance of the levees in their respective districts, and shall have power to cede all their rights of way and levees and the maintenance, management and control thereof to the government of the United States.[1]

Section 233

Text of Section 233:

Appropriation of Private Property

The levee boards shall have, and are hereby granted, authority and full power to appropriate private property in their respective districts for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and repairing levees therein; and when any owner of land, or any other person interested therein, shall object to the location or building of the levee thereon, or shall claim compensation for any land that may be taken, or for any damages he may sustain in consequence thereof, the president, or other proper officer or agent of such levee board, or owner of such land, or other person interested therein, may forthwith apply for an assessment of the damages to which said person claiming the same may be entitled; whereupon the proceedings as now provided by law shall be taken, viz.: In the Mississippi levee district, in accordance with the terms and provisions of section three of an act entitled "An act to amend an act to incorporate the board of levee commissioners for Bolivar, Washington, and Issaquena counties, and for other purposes, approved November 27, A. D. 1865, and to revise acts amendatory thereof," approved March 13, A. D. 1884; and in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District, in accordance with the terms and provisions of section three of an act entitled "An act to incorporate the board of levee commissioners for the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, and for other purposes," approved February 28, A. D. 1884, and the amendments thereto; but the legislature shall have full power to alter and amend said several acts, and to provide different manners of procedure.[1]

Section 234

Text of Section 234:

Bills Changing District Boundaries or Taxes

No bill changing the boundaries of the district, or affecting the taxation or revenue of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District, or the Mississippi levee district, shall be considered by the legislature unless said bill shall have been published in some newspaper in the county in which is situated the domicile of the board of levee commissioners of the levee district to be affected thereby, for four weeks prior to the introduction thereof into the legislature; and no such bill shall be considered for final passage by either the senate or house of representatives, unless the same shall have been referred to, and reported on, by an appropriate committee of each house in which the same may be pending; and no such committee shall consider or report on any such bill unless publication thereof shall have been made as aforesaid.[1]

Section 235

Text of Section 235:

Report by Levee Board

Each levee board shall make, at the end of each fiscal year, to the governor of this state, a report showing the condition of the levees and recommending such additional legislation on the subject of the system as shall be thought necessary, and showing the receipts and expenditures of the board, so that each item, the amount and consideration therefore, shall distinctly appear, together with such other matters as it shall be thought proper to call to the attention of the legislature.[1]

Section 236

Text of Section 236:

Levee Taxes

The legislature shall impose for levee purposes, in addition to the levee taxes heretofore levied or authorized by law, a uniform tax of not less than two nor more than five cents an acre per annum upon every acre of land now or hereafter embraced within the limits of either or both of said levee districts. The taxes so derived shall be paid into the treasury of the levee board of the district in which the land charged with the same is situated; and the legislature, by the act imposing said tax, shall authorize said levee boards to fix the annual rate of taxation per acre within the limits aforesaid, and thereby require said levee boards, whenever a reduction is made by them in their other taxes, to make a proportionate reduction in the acreage tax hereinbefore mentioned; but said acreage tax shall not be reduced below two cents an acre per annum; and all reductions in such taxation shall be uniform in each of said districts; but the rate of taxation need not be the same in both of them; and such specific taxes shall be assessed on the same assessment roll, and collected under the same penalties, as ad valorem taxes for levee purposes, and shall be paid at the same time with the latter. And no levee board shall ever be permitted to buy lands when sold for taxes; but the state shall have a prior lien for taxes due thereto. The legislature may provide for the discontinuance of the tax on cotton, but not in such manner as to affect outstanding bonds based on it, and on the discontinuance of the tax on cotton, shall impose another tax in lieu thereof; but the legislature may repeal the acreage tax required to be levied hereby after the first day of January, A. D. 1895.[1]

Section 237

Text of Section 237:

System of Levee Taxation

The legislature shall have full power to provide such system of taxation for said levee districts as it shall, from time to time, deem wise and proper.[1]

Section 238

Text of Section 238:

Property Exempt from Levee Taxation

No property situated between the levee and the Mississippi river shall be taxed for levee purposes, nor shall damage be paid to any owner of land so situated because of its being left outside a levee.[1]

Section 239

Text of Section 239:

Publication of Itemized Account

The legislature shall require the levee boards to publish at each of their sessions an itemized account embracing their respective receipts since the prior session, and such appropriations as have been made or ordered by them respectively, in some newspaper or newspapers of the district.[1]

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