Page 8 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 3
P. 8

MDPC Update
Since 2007 the Mississippi Damage Prevention Committee (MDPC) has been committed
to building consensus for a stronger and more effective damage prevention program and one that includes accountability for our actions. An effort was made to bring all identifiable stakeholders to the table in the best interest of public safety and damage prevention.
The early efforts of the group led by John McDill, Atmos and Jay Street, Kinder Morgan, recognized that stronger and more effective damage prevention is not a one-time trip to the Capitol. So, the Committee developed a series of legislative steps that would ultimately lead to the passage of a bill that created an enforcement board charged with enforcing the state’s dig law. The bill was passed in 2016 and went into effect January 1, 2017.
As the result of hundreds of Alleged Violation Reports (AVR), the enforcement board recognized that while great strides have been made, there are some elements of the dig law that needs clarified and, in some cases, amendments added to current law that establishes a level playing field for all stakeholders.
It is not the role of the enforcement board to lobby for specific law changes.
Consequently, stakeholders have reenergized the MDPC to do what it was created to do way back in 2007. This time the Co-chairs of the MDPC are Marty Stuart, C Spire; Cole Fesmire, Olive Branch; and Shelton Cooley, Taylor Construction.
The first step was to identify stakeholder groups and invite them to participate in the conversation by sharing their perspectives and experiences.
Second, create a list of potential concerns with the current dig law to see if that list could be prioritized by consensus. The meetings have been well attended. Additionally, some great suggestions have been made. Passionate conversations outlining the challenges faced in the field every day and proposals on how they may be addressed through legislation have been recorded. Some of the recommendations that have been discussed are as follows: mandatory white striping, creation of a large project ticket, removing the four-hour no response ticket, start calculating the two working-days’ notice on
the morning following the original submission, define and establish standards for directional boring, clarification of mechanical excavation within tolerance zones, implement
a uniform locate marking code and
finally, how to enforce false emergency violations.
Third, schedule regional meetings across the state to raise awareness
of the necessity of strengthening the dig law without creating an undue burden on any stakeholder group. The first meeting was held in the central part of the state, the second meeting
in Gulfport and the third meeting is scheduled for August 9, in the northern region.
Based on feedback from these regional meetings and from the field, the MDPC will make recommendations as to how to proceed legislatively. All agree that in addition to pursuing legislation, it
is critical to continue to build strong partnerships.
The MDPC plans to continue the regional meetings in the following months with a goal of having potential legislative solutions ready for open discussion at the Mississippi Damage Prevention Summit scheduled back
at the IP, November 2 – 4, 2022. Be sure to register for this year’s exciting event by going to www.mississippi.
The MDPC remains committed
to partnering with all industry stakeholders to find those creative and effective damage prevention solutions needed to keep Mississippi a safer place to live and work.
6 • Mississippi 811 2022, Issue 3

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