Government transparency and our ability to see what public office are doing is protected for us within our Sunshine Law. Senator Andrew Koenig, Representative Bill Falkner and Representative Dane Diehl are hoping to make it more difficult for citizens to find the truth.
It's interesting that Senator Koenig wants to be the "Champion for Transparency" when it comes to schools, but it looks like he feels very differently about his own office being transparent. I have to wonder why. This one just doesn't make sense to me.
Senator Koenig's bill has gotten the farthest of the handful that have been filed. His passed through committee 2/23/23 on a party line vote. All the republicans voted yes. All the democrats voted no. The Senate Committee Substitute is linked above if you'd like to read it for yourself but here are a few bullet points you might be interested in.
- Changing the definition of "public business". (Text struck out is current but being removed. Highlighted text is being added) "Public business",
[all matters which relate in any way to the performance of the public governmental body's functions or the conduct of its business]the deliberations of at least the number of individual public governmental body members required to take action on behalf of the public governmental body where such deliberations determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official public governmental body business; This means that "public business" is no longer all matters relating to government functions, it's much narrower in scope.
- He's also changing the definition of "public meeting" in such a way that we would have less access to information. See the screenshot below. Underlined text in the photo is being added to the definition.
- Changing the definition of "public record" in such a way that we have less access. See page 5. It's too big for a quick screen shot to put here.
- Adding the government's ability to close the following items & remove them from our ability to access.
- Closing additional policies regarding public health. In the following screenshot, highlighted text is being removed. That means currently, in order to close these materials they had to be considered to be terrorist in nature. With his changes, they can be closed if they only appear to endanger individual or public safety or health.
- Closing access to more information regarding legislation and the legislative process. This is a screenshot from page 13.
what are they hoping to hide?
Probably a lot of things, honestly. It's another situation where the "kings" can do no wrong, they are protected and elevated while the people are kept in the dark.
This one is a big pile of dog crap all on its own. It needs to be scooped up and thrown out.
SB 174 passed the Government Accountability committee and is headed to the Senate floor for perfection. Please call and email your own senator as well as our more conservative senators. Ask that they do what is necessary to kill this bill that works against transparency for Missourians.
Senator Mike Moon. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Bill Eigel. email@example.com
Senator Rick Brattin. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Jill Carter. email@example.com
Senator Ben Brown. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Denny Hoskins. email@example.com