The Clarion Ledger is preparing a complaint for the Mississippi Ethics Commission, led by director Tom Hood, the attorney general's brother. The American Civil Liberties Union also said, "Closing these meetings violates the principle of open government and established law of the state's Open Meetings Act."The Mississippi Justice Institute released a statement saying, "Multiple attorney general advisory opinions dating back to 1981 make it clear that task forces that only make recommendations are still subject to the Open Meetings Act.
Joy Hogge, director of Families as Allies and a task force member, opposed closing the meetings, saying, "I think the meeting should be open to anyone, including the press."Morgan has provided the Clarion Ledger the contact information for at least three other members who said they'd be willing to talk to reporters. Chris De Back, said his involvement on the task force focuses mainly with coordinating efforts between mental health professionals and law enforcement to identify folks in crisis and provide "the necessary services they need before it ends up in a law enforcement capacity."In general, De Back said the task force is good for bringing folks of all disciplines together from across the state to learn how each person plays a role — something advocates have pleaded for over the years."There are all kinds of services out there.
The problem is the services aren't working together or they don't know about each other," De Back said.
Hood, a likely candidate for governor in 2019, asked task force members to decide whether other members of the public or press should be allowed to attend.
A majority of respondents said they preferred the meetings be closed, making it impossible for outside review to determine the group's productivity.
"By becoming a team, bringing everything together, we can be more efficient and, in the long run, more effective."Sen.