No sooner had the ink dried on federal indictments in the state prison contracts bribery scandal than calls went out from state leaders and lawmakers for transparency. Transparency and “ree-form.”
There’s a passel of legislation, pending and forthcoming, aimed at making government spending and records more open to the public and reforming state contracts and spending oversight. Many of these measures are not new, but in the past were smacked down so hard they bounced by the state government-industrial complex and special interests.
Reps. Jerry Turner and Tommy Taylor were pushing for prison and other contract reform before it was cool. Sen. Nancy Collins pushed for public hospitals to have open board meetings even before the Singing River Health Systems pension scandal. It took a historic beat-down from the hospital lobby. Sen. Will Longwitz, Rep. David Baria, State Auditor Stacey Pickering and others have pushed reforms in the past, usually with very limited success.