Sunday, December 31, 2023

Bill Crawford: Government Transparency Will be an Issue in 2024

It’s pretty wordy but read this 1975 “legislative declaration” for the Mississippi Open Meetings Act:

“It being essential to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government and to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner, and that citizens be advised of and be aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the State of Mississippi that the formation and determination of public policy is public business and shall be conducted at open meetings except as otherwise provided herein.” So states the legislative declaration of the Mississippi Open Meetings Act adopted in 1975.

In 1983 the Mississippi Supreme Court more succinctly opined: "However inconvenient openness may be to some, it is the legislatively decreed public policy of this state."

In 2012, Gov. Phil Bryant simplified it to eight words: “Transparency in government is critical to its integrity.” In 2020, Gov. Tate Reeves added, “Transparency is more important now than ever.”

Given the above support, why is government transparency still an issue facing the 2024 Legislature?

The Supreme Court has ruled that gatherings of public body officials constituting a quorum must be open. The Republican caucus, which includes more than a quorum of House members, met regularly in closed sessions where major policy issues were debated and largely decided. After a reporter was barred from a meeting, a ruling was sought from the state Ethics Commission. In late 2022, the Commission illogically ruled that the House of Representatives is not a “public body” subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Despite Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s commitment to transparency, his chairman of the Senate Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee, Sen. John A. Polk, killed a bill to close this loophole last January. In September, the Mississippi Free Press filed a lawsuit seeking a court opinion on the issue.

Notably, incoming Speaker Jason White who will be saddled with the issue, was selected as the GOP’s choice for speaker at a closed caucus session last month.

There are other issues with the Open Meetings Act. Saying it’s “kind of crazy” that decisions made in secret meetings still stand, State Auditor Shad White wants the law strengthened to invalidate such decisions. “You should have to go back in public and you should have to have the debate and vote out in the open,” White told WDAM.

Notably, his recommendation does not address secret meetings by a quorum of legislators.

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” – John 3:20.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

GOP doing GOP things and then gaslighting us about it.

Mississippi is too stupid as a whole to not vote for them, so we get what we get.

Anonymous said...

January 1, 2024 at 1:20 PM said: “Mississippi is too stupid as a whole to not vote for them (the GOP), so we get what we get.”

“Too stupid” not to vote for the GOP huh 1:20? So you and all of your really, really smart leftist Democrat supporting friends being so smart and all are surely willing to live in the heart of Democrat controlled cities like Jackson, MS, right? Because the really smart people will certainly put their money where their loud mouths are and live in “one of the deadliest US cities” (CNN) and “the child-killing capital” (WLBT3), right? Because voting for chaos and high crime and children dying from stray bullets is the correct math for intellectuals, right?

If you aren’t willing to live in the heart of cities like leftist Democrat Jackson, MS, please don’t tell us you’re one of these rich white Democrats that live behind gates or worse yet, in areas controlled by the GOP party elected by people “too stupid as a whole to not vote for them.” Because, well, that would be worse than being stupid.

Anonymous said...

It’s not “leftist Democrat Jackson, MS,” @7:07 PM, that makes Jackson so problematic, so calm down.

Anonymous said...

8:28 it’s really easy to say “calm down” when it’s not your children being murdered or dying from stray bullets, which is typical of rich white Democrats that sit by while their party destroys cities like Jackson with purposeful chaos and high crime in order to keep voters out that are not dumbed down enough to keep voting leftist Democrat.

But quoting scripture makes up for being one of the deadliest US cities and the child killing capital, right 8:28?

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS