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Secrecy: Senate backslides on openness

Secrecy: Senate backslides on openness

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 13, 2009

The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 2/13/9

The Mississippi Senate had shown promise of new openness last session under Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, but apparently has slipped back into its old habits of government secrecy.

Wednesday was a bad day for openness and ethics in the Senate.

Senators voted 26-23 to recommit a bill that would have made government records more available to the public. Then it followed up that shortsighted action by killing an ethics reform bill to limit lobbying activities on the taxpayer’s dime.

The public records bill authored by Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, would have shortened the time period required for officials to provide records to citizens from 14 days to 7 days. Even 7 days is ridiculously long; most states provide for only a 3-day wait, or less. With modern technology, even a 3-day period is long.

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