Forbes, 2/6/8

Mississippi legislators this session will debate ways to strengthen ethics and open-government laws, including a plan that could give citizens a quicker and cheaper route for challenging public meetings they believe are improperly closed.

Under the state’s sunshine laws, people frequently have to file lawsuits to challenge a closed meeting or to seek public records that have been withheld. A $100 fine can be set if a board is found to have improperly closed a meeting.

Bills being filed this year would authorize the state Ethics Commission to mediate Open Meetings or Public Records disputes. People would still have the option to sue.