The state House passed a bill aimed at improving oversight of the DMR Tuesday night, sending it to Gov. Phil Bryant.
The bill exempts the agency from the oversight of the State Personnel Board for six months.
The final version of the bill also would:
- Require all the accounts of DMR, including the artificial reef account, to be part of an annual audit performed at DMR’s expense.
- Order a copy of the annual audit sent to the chairmen of the Senate and House Marine Resources Committee along with a copy going to the state auditor and the Legislative Budget Office.
- Set qualifications for the positions of chief financial officer, chief scientific officer and chief marine patrol officer.
- Divide the agency into five offices: the Office of Coastal Resources Management, the Office of Finance and Administration, the Office of Marine Fisheries, the Office of Marine Patrol and Office of Coastal Restoration and Resiliency.
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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Ernie Zimmerman to serve the remainder of former Commission on Marine Resources member Vernon Asper's term, which ends June 30. It also confirmed him to serve a four-year term starting July 1.