Page 7 - MS811 2023 issue 1
P. 7

 Latest Legislative Update
The MDPC worked tirelessly in 2022 and traveled the state to obtain feedback from industry stakeholders in an effort to develop the next steps necessary to strengthen the state’s dig law. Out of those discussions three (3) proposals made the final cut for legislative consideration. Those proposals are briefly summarized below.
Emergency Excavations
These amendments would do the following:
(1) Add an enforceable offense for notifying Mississippi 811 of “false emergencies”
(2) Add an option for “impending emergencies” that are not quite as time- sensitive as emergency excavations. Impending Emergencies would require advance notification of the proposed excavation to Mississippi 811 at least twelve hours prior to excavation, and operators would be required to positively respond to the notification prior to the proposed excavation time. The existing “emergency excavation” would still be available.
Extend Notification Period and Reduce Four Day Rule
These amendments would do the following:
(1) Extend the pre-excavation advance notification period from two working days to three working days
(2) Under current Mississippi law, when an excavator who has provided proper advance notice to Mississippi 811 goes to the site after the advance notice period has expired and sees evidence of unmarked underground utility facilities, that excavator must immediately contact Mississippi 811, Inc which notifies the subject utility operator. That utility operator notified by Mississippi 811 must contact the excavator within four hours and inform the excavator of any of the operator’s known underground facilities, active or abandoned,
at the site of the excavation. The amendments would reduce the operator’s contact timeframe from four hours to two hours.
White Lining
These amendments would do the following:
(1) Require excavators to mark the proposed excavation area with white paint/and or flags prior to providing advance notification of the proposed excavation to Mississippi 811
(2) Proposed excavation areas marked with a single white stake or marker will be considered to extend no further than fifty feet in any direction from the white stake or marker
(3) White lining would not apply to design information requests.
The legislation developed and drafted by the MDPC was presented and discussed with both the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and the Chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee. Both chairmen agreed to sponsor the legislation in their respective chambers. Senate Energy Chairman Carter filed the bill as it was presented to him (see SB2102). House Public Utilities Chairman Bounds opted to split the legislation into two bills – one that includes emergency excavations and extending the advance notification period (see HB1226), and one that includes white-lining (see HB1044). Chairman Bounds has received some concerns regarding white-lining as presented by the MDPC and determined that he wanted further discussion of and stakeholder input into white-lining. The bills were referred to the Senate Energy Committee and the House Public Utilities Committee, and at this time, it appears that both chairmen intend to bring the bills up in committee for discussion, possible amendment, and hopefully approval by the committees. The deadline for committees to adopt bills originating in their own chamber is January 31.
Further updates will follow as the process evolves.
2023, Issue 1 Mississippi 811 • 5

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