The Hattiesburg American Editorial, 2/12/9

Many Mississippi lawmakers talk a good game when it comes to open government and making government more responsive. They had an opportunity to show they are serious, but on Wednesday failed a key test.

Two bills in the Legislature would have forced agencies to handle requests from the public in a more timely manner and ensure that agencies don’t require those who seek public records or documents to pay prohibitively high costs.

The first measure is Senate Bill 2921 introduced by Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson. The bill would have given public agencies three working days to produce documents requested by an individual or organization.

Currently, the law gives those agencies 14 days to turn over the records or provide a response on why the records cannot be submitted.

The second bill involves the cost of producing requested public records.