During their short time in leadership, House Republicans have been a lot of things, transparent is not one of them. The long awaited "Sunshine Act" is being forced through the process under the veil of darkness and will be placed in front of members of the House Judiciary B Committee in all of its glory at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. The bill was not available for review at close of business today but magically appeared online sometime this evening.
House Bill 122 is notable in that it delivers no "sunshine" or added accountability to the current pro-Mississippi litigation process. A cursory review of the Act reveals that it is little more than a bare knuckled attempt to strip the Attorney General's Office of its Constitutional authority to manage litigation on behalf of the state and hold wrongdoers accountable. It attempts to give state agencies, boards and commissions the unfettered ability to retain lawyers on a no-limit contingency fee basis and essentially subverts citizens' right to elect their own attorney.
If this bill were law, there would be no health care trust fund because then Governor Fordice and the Division of Medicaid could have stopped then Attorney General Mike Moore from filing the suit which resulted in a $4 billion settlement for Mississippi. Further, had this proposed law been in effect, Mississippi would have been forced to settle the MCI Worldcom case for $3.5 million instead of the $100 million it ultimately received.
No Republican can say with a straight face that the current system doesn't work. Over the last 7 years, the Attorney General has recovered over $500 million for the taxpayers of Mississippi without costing taxpayers a dime.
This is a politically motivated solution in search of a problem and proof that Republican "sunshine" is no more than a cynical ruse.