House Democrats warn of GOP attempts to gut Sunshine Law

With national Sunshine Week underway, House Democrats are highlighting the actions majority House Republicans have taken this year not only to shield their own records from public access but to gut Missouri’s Sunshine Law so that state and government officials at levels would have the legal authority to keep virtually all public records secret. Last November, 62 percent of voters statewide approved the Clean Missouri amendment which, among other things, constitutionally clarified that lawmaker records are subject to disclosure under the Sunshine Law. Early in the 2019 legislative session, however, Republicans enacted new House rules that purport to allow lawmakers to ignore the Missouri Constitution and keep their records secret. After adopting this constitutionally dubious rule change, the chamber on Feb. 7 passed House Bill 445, Republican-sponsored legislation that would broadly expand statutory exemptions that authorize certain records to be withheld under the Sunshine Law. If HB 445 were to become law, government officials would have almost unrestricted discretion to close access to public records. The bill remains pending in the Senate

Photo Gallery