A proposal that one lawmaker worries will exempt most correspondence by elected officials from the Sunshine Law was preliminarily approved by the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday.
While debating a bill to restrict lobbyist gifts to government officials, Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, introduced an amendment to exempt “any correspondence, written or electronic, between a member of a public governmental body and a constituent pertaining to a constituent’s request for information” and exempt any document or record “received or prepared by or on behalf of a member of a public governmental body consisting of advice, opinions and recommendations in connection with the deliberative decision-making process of said body.” The amendment passed and will now be a part of House Bill 445.
Rep. Jon Carpenter, D-Kansas City, said this will exempt almost every correspondence by elected officials from the state open records law. He said the Sunshine Law currently protects private and sensitive information, pointing to a list of exceptions that already exist in the law.
Supporters of the amendment say it will protect constituents’ private information that can currently be accessed through the Sunshine Law. The amendment also has provisions to protect constituents’ social security numbers, phone numbers and addresses.
This amendment comes after the passage of Clean Missouri, which subjects legislators to the Sunshine Law.
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