State Rep. Ulysses Jones must have been frightened by sunshine while he was in his crib.
Only a childhood trauma could have given him such an obsession in eroding the transparency and openness of government with his amendments to weaken Tennessee’s open meetings (Sunshine Law) and public records laws.
Every Tennessean should be up in arms. This isn’t about journalists having a harder time to report on the inner workings of government. More to the point, it’s about erecting obstacles to the public’s right to know.
With the state’s urban schools in turmoil, health care in chaos and economic growth flat-lining, we’re pleased that Rep. Jones can keep his eyes on what’s really important – making it as hard as possible to get public information.
It’s not just “public” information because it’s held by a public agency, but because it’s the public that pays for it.
In a state version of Beltway Fever, Rep. Jones seems to forget on a regular basis that he works for us, not the other way around. Hopefully, there will be a time when the public rises up to oppose the cult of secrecy that is taking hold in both our federal and state governments.
In the end, there’s a better course of action for Rep. Jones if he’s discomforted by public records and public meetings requirements – don’t run for office.