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Missouri transparency legislation

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Transparency legislation proposed in Missouri.

2009

See also: Missouri Sunshine Law

House Bill 62[1] "would let police departments close files in which an officer is found to have violated departmental policy but committed no criminal act, or when no violation is found. The proposal, by Rep. Scott Lipke, R-Jackson, specifies that a file showing that an officer committed a crime would remain open."[2] Debate on the bill centered around concerns that exempting accusations against police officers would simply protect those that abused their power.[3]

House Bill 316[4] was sponsored by Tim Jones (R-Eureka) in early 2009. The bill seeks to narrow the definition of the times a public meeting may be moved into closed session, require five days notice of public meetings (rather than the current 24 hours required notice), provide public records in electronic format if they are stored that way, and to open up the proceedings of the Missouri Ethics Commission.[5] Citizens have been urging the legislature to pass this bill, while lobbying organizations representing local governmental officials object to it. Gary Markenson, a lobbyist for the Missouri Municipal League and Todd Smith, a lobbyist for the Missouri Association of Counties expressed concern that the bill "goes too far."[6] Governor Jay Nixon has stated that he "hope[s] it [the bill] crosses my desk so I'll be able to sign it."[7]

References

  1. Text of HB 62
  2. Mo. lawmakers propose closing some police records, Associated Press, January 28, 2009
  3. Sealing of police records disputed, News Leader, January 29, 2009
  4. Text of HB316
  5. New legislation would expand Missouri open records law, Associated Press, January 21, 2009
  6. Citizens across Missouri call for stronger Sunshine Law, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 11, 2009
  7. Missouri officials back stronger Sunshine Law, Kansas City Star, February 19, 2009