WDAM Viewpoint - Open meeting law - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

WDAM Viewpoint - Open meeting law

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February 23, 2011

We would like to applaud the Mississippi Legislature for putting some real teeth into the open meetings law and making the appropriate parties pay the consequences if the law is broken.  Mississippi has had a law in effect for some time that required public entities to be transparent with their meetings.  Only under very special and specific situations could they go behind closed doors and exclude the public.  If they went into executive session inappropriately, or met secretly they could be fined.  The only problem is that  the individual perpetrators didn't have to pay the fine…the public entity did.  That meant that you and I…the tax payers ended up paying the fine.  That has now been changed in the new open meetings law passed by the State Senate and House.  Now the public official or officials who illegally shut out the public will have to pay the $500 fine out of their own pocket.  Better their pocket than mine or yours and that's my Viewpoint.  We'd like to hear yours.