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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Police reports bill moves in Mississippi

A bill that would make police incident reports available to the public cleared a Senate committee with little discussion this morning.

House Bill 474 now heads to the floor of the chamber for a vote before it can advance to Gov. Haley Barbour.

If enacted, basic law enforcement documents that give general information, such as the names of suspects and the date of their arrest, about a case would be considered an open record. Investigation reports that contain more detailed information would still be exempt.

Sen. Gray Tollison, D-Oxford, has said he is in favor of the legislation, provided it does not harm ongoing investigations. Tollison chairs the Senate Judiciary B Committee, which passed the bill this morning.

Open government and media advocates have lobbied lawmakers to pass the legislation for years.

A companion, Senate Bill 2728 passed out of a House committee Tuesday, but it was amended.

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