Openness in Government Is Key to Freedom

Freedoms seemingly basic to us have been fought for and do not exist in Russia or Crimea today. We take for granted our open access to our government. March 16 was “Freedom of Information Day,” and we are reminded that the fourth U.S. President, James Madison, was responsible for the introduction of the Bill of Rights.

All court proceedings are open to the public. Most records are available to the public. Meetings of public boards are open to the public, with certain logical exceptions. This freedom to access our government was fought for at the beginning and is a continuing battle.

I, personally, was involved in 1979 in the drafting of the Mississippi Open Records and Open Meetings Laws. We take these laws for granted today, but the Legislators who passed these bills had to have the forward-thinking and the will to fight for these freedoms. What we take for granted today was a battle in 1979. All credit goes to State Senator Carroll Ingram and Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Gandy. America marches on as the leader of freedom and must remember it is a continuing battle.

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