The Clarion-Ledger, 10/28/8

Mississippi ranked in the bottom fourth in the Better Government Association’s integrity index of states, released Monday.

The Magnolia State is listed 39th out of 50 states in the study, which ranked states based on government transparency, accountability, whistleblower protections and campaign finance laws.

“The BGA feels that these laws go to the core of responsive and ethical government. Just as the 50 states compete to see which one is the most business-friendly or has the biggest population, they should also compete to see who has the strictest laws in regard to governmental integrity,” said BGA Executive Director Jay Stewart in a statement. “Mississippi managed to beat out 11 other states, however there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. If you look at the percentage score, Mississippi received 46 percent, the equivalent of a F letter grade, hardly a cause for celebration.”

Mississippi’s lowest scores came on campaign finance laws – in particular, the state’s lack of limits on donations – and open meetings laws. The state scored higher for its whistleblower protection laws and laws governing conflicts of interest.