Missouri Senate passes farm exemptions to open records laws

Missouri's open records laws would not cover some farming data under a measure that has passed the Missouri Senate.

The legislation, which passed with a bipartisan majority of 25-6, would require state agencies to keep confidential the information farmers submit for voluntary agricultural programs, such as registration data for animal disease tracking programs. Anyone who improperly releases that information could be sued.

Supporters said strengthening privacy protections would encourage more farmers to participate in such programs, while critics of the bill said eroding the state's sunshine laws would set a bad precedent for government transparency. Continue…