JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi has some of the weakest public records regulations of any state in the country. Accessing public records gives YOU the right to know how politicians are spending YOUR money and what they are doing behind closed doors, through email, phone messages or other communication. You have every right to know what is going on, you’re paying their salary. Sadly, the state legislature thinks they are not responsible to you and you should not know how they operate. It’s interesting that they forget they work for YOU and are only elected because of YOU. You’re their boss.
In less than two weeks we will elect a new Governor. Jim Hood has promised to change the open records rules if he is elected. However, whether it is Hood or Reeves who becomes the next top Mississippi official, they should make sure the legislature is subject to the Public Records Act, like every other elected official and public body, and disclose all their communications and other open records information.
One of the responsibilities we take very seriously at WLBT is our commitment to investigate and hold the powerful accountable. To monitor this, we have many active public records requests submitted – but several of those are simply ignored – which is a clear violation of state law. We keep pushing and if we continue to get stonewalled, we will file a complaint with the Ethics Commission.
The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House and everyone in the state legislature should be supportive of open records. If not, what are they hiding? What do they not want you, their boss, to know? We will continue to push for improved open records rules regardless of who is elected Governor and keep you updated on whether your representative wants to keep their operations secret.