TITLE 25. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; PUBLIC RECORDS
CHAPTER 61. PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS
Miss. Code Ann. § 25-61-13 (2017)
25-61-13. Mississippi Ethics Commission to enforce chapter; procedure upon complaint by any person denied right to inspect public records; petition to chancery court to enforce or appeal order
The Mississippi Ethics Commission shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter upon a complaint filed by any person denied the right granted under Section 25-61-5 to inspect or copy public records. Upon receiving a complaint, the commission shall forward a copy of the complaint to the head of the public body involved. The public body shall have fourteen (14) days from receipt of the complaint to file a response with the commission. After receiving the response to the complaint or, if no response is received after fourteen (14) days, the commission, in its discretion, may dismiss the complaint or proceed by setting a hearing in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission may order the public body and any individual employees or officials of the public body to produce records or take other reasonable measures necessary, if any, to comply with this chapter. The Ethics Commission may also impose penalties as authorized in this chapter. The Ethics Commission may order a public body to produce records for private review by the commission, its staff or designee. The Ethics Commission shall complete its private review of the records within thirty (30) days after receipt of the records from the public body. Records produced to the commission for private review shall remain exempt from disclosure under this chapter while in the custody of the commission.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the Ethics Commission from mediating or otherwise resolving disputes arising under this chapter, from issuing an order based on a complaint and response where no facts are in dispute, or from entering orders agreed to by the parties. In carrying out its responsibilities under this section, the Ethics Commission shall have all the powers and authority granted to it in Title 25, Chapter 4, Mississippi Code of 1972, including the authority to promulgate rules and regulations in furtherance of this chapter.
Any party may petition the chancery court of the county in which the public body is located to enforce or appeal any order of the Ethics Commission issued pursuant to this chapter. In any such appeal the chancery court shall conduct a de novo review. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any party from filing a complaint in any chancery court having jurisdiction, nor shall a party be obligated to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a complaint. However, any party filing such a complaint in chancery court shall serve written notice upon the Ethics Commission at the time of filing the complaint. The written notice is for information only and does not make the Ethics Commission a party to the case.
SOURCES: Laws, 1983, ch. 424, § 7; Laws, 2008, ch. 562, § 18; Laws, 2014, ch. 482, § 1, eff from and after July 1, 2014.