Ethics director says Open Meetings bill weakened

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Ethics Commission director Tom Hood says an Open Meetings bill has been watered down by a House committee.

Judiciary A Committee Chairman Ed Blackmon says his committee made the bill stronger.

The bill originally would’ve required elected officials use their own money to pay fines for illegally closing meetings. Under current law, fines are paid by tax dollars – not by the individual violators.

The committee voted to increase the fines, but taxpayers would still pick up the tab.

The committee also removed a provision that said any decision made in an illegally closed meeting could be nullified by a chancery judge or the Ethics Commission.