Whistleblower Reward Bill being considered

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Last week State Auditor Shad White announced his legislative priorities for the 2024 session. 

“In my time as Auditor, my team and I have successfully asked lawmakers to make it harder for a court to wipe someone’s record clean when they steal taxpayer money, give investigators more time to identify fraud under the statute of limitations, and require state agencies to report suspected fraud to us,” said Auditor White. “These were important changes in the law. Now we’re going to work together to make our laws even stronger in our fight against corruption.”

Auditor White’s legislative agenda for this year includes:

  • The Whistleblower Reward Act. Private citizens will be able to come forward with information about corruption or theft of taxpayer funds, and if their information leads to an arrest and recovery, the private citizen will receive a portion of what has been recovered. The law will be similar to federal whistleblower reward statutes.

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  • Strengthening the Open Meetings Act. If a group of people in government holds an illegal secret meeting, this change to the law will state that the decision they make in that meeting is null and void.

 

  • Free community college for graduates of the high school military program, JROTC. Data show JROTC participants in Jackson, for instance, had an almost 100% graduation rate, compared to the Jackson Public School average graduation rate of 75.1%. Free community college will encourage students to join JROTC, which teaches valuable life skills and prepares students to become productive members of society.

 

  • Creating a study committee to change how the state funds universities. Taxpayer money should go to degrees that fit Mississippi’s economy. Degrees that do not fit the economy should be paid for by private donations or tuition. This bill will create a team of economists and workforce experts to recommend changes for how taxpayer money is appropriated to Mississippi public universities.

 

“These are all common sense, conservative ideas,” said Auditor White. “In particular, the whistleblower reward statute will be a game changer in our fight against corruption. I hope it will encourage more people to have courage and come forward with information.”