, , , ,

From our good friends at Progress Missouri:

We’re Suing the Missouri Senate

Submitted by Sean on Wed, 04/15/2015 – 09:01

Today, Progress Missouri filed suit against the Missouri Senate for its continued refusal to adhere to Missouri’s Sunshine Law. Missouri state senators have repeatedly denied access to public hearings of Senate committees, in violation of state law, and we are escalating our fight for open government.

Our democracy works best when there is transparency and accountability, and the Sunshine Law is a necessary tool to maintain both. Some state senators, including Mike Parson, Mike Kehoe, and David Sater think that the Sunshine Law doesn’t apply to them. They’re wrong.

A copy of the petition filed in Cole County may be found below.

Senators Parson, Kehoe, and Sater have repeatedly denied Progress Missouri access to film public hearings of committees that they chair. Unfortunately, this is not a new practice. Progress Missouri has been denied access to film hearings by Ron Richard, Scott Rupp, Will Kraus, and Brian Nieves in previous years. Earlier this year, PoliticMO reported that KRCG reporter Kermit Miller was denied the ability to film a public meeting. In 2014, former Sen. Nieves ordered all video and TV cameras out of a public hearing. All of these denials violate Missouri’s Sunshine Law.  

The Missouri Sunshine Law states that public bodies, including legislative bodies, “shall allow for the recording by audiotape, videotape, or other electronic means of any open meeting.”

Progress Missouri films and live streams committee hearings in the Capitol in an effort to document the actions and statements of elected officials, and has attempted to work with Senators to gain access to public meetings in accordance with the law. However, Senators Parson, Kehoe, and Sater have steadfastly refused to acknowledge that the Sunshine Law applies to them.

The Missouri Senate helped write the Sunshine Law. It’s time for Missouri’s state Senators to start abiding by it.

“….The Missouri Senate helped write the Sunshine Law. It’s time for Missouri’s state Senators to start abiding by it.”

Uh, yep.

We agree. Not everyone does:

Matt Wills @Last_Wills

Suing an elected body for not letting you record their proceeding is a lot like whining about being blocked on Twitter. #moleg 1:48 PM – 15 Apr 2015

Because keeping people from information about public business is just like a privately operated social media platform?

Maybe it all depends on which Amendments to the U.S. Constitution you think are really important.