Organizations and journalists across the country celebrate “Sunshine Week” this week. We’re not talking about daylight savings time. This is a time when citizens and reporters herald our rights and our responsibility to keep government accountable.
Our Founders designed our government to work for the people, with our consent. In order for “We the People” to grant or withhold consent, we need to know what our government is doing! As James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, said, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or Tragedy; or perhaps both.”All documents and records belong to the people, and absent a few exceptions, we should have access to those documents. When the government meets to make decisions, we should be allowed to be present.
The Mississippi Justice Institute knows government transparency is critical to preventing corruption and cronyism.
Our fight for sunshine isn’t just for one week, but all year long.
- When the Mississippi Department of Revenue made a secret agreement with Amazon to collect taxes from Mississippians and remit those to the state, we asked for that information. They refused! We’ve filed a complaint at the Mississippi Ethics Commission so you will know the details of this arrangement, which your government agreed to on your behalf! (Read More)
After the City of Columbus violated the Open Meetings Act
, denying a reporter access to meetings among public officials, we joined with The Commercial Dispatch
to fight against government secrecy. The city claims it didn’t violate the law, but only “circumvented” it. The Mississippi Ethics Commission determined the city did indeed violate the law. The city appealed that decision to the chancery court – and lost again. Now, the city has appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which gives MJI the opportunity to clarify that the public has a right to attend public meetings! (Read More
- The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors also attempted to circumvent the Open Meetings Act. The Mississippi Ethics Commission rejected their arguments. And MJI is representing a citizen concerned about his local government in this issue before the chancery court. (Read More)
We will continue our fight for open government and sunshine. But we need your help. Make a secure online contribution today.
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Mississippi Justice Institute