National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Kansas City, MO: Backlog of Sunshine Law requests reduced, but legal fees stir controversy

Even the divided Clay County Commission agreed: County Counselor Kevin Graham needed help reducing the backlog of Sunshine Law requests.

But the commission – and several office holders – are split on whether the county should continue employing a Kansas City attorney who charges $373.50 an hour.

Graham had been handling the requests on his own, he said, until the load multiplied.

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Missouri judge says state knowingly violated Sunshine law

A Missouri judge ruled the state Corrections Department intentionally delayed fulfilling a Sunshine request over the source of execution drugs to avoid returning them and facing negative publicity.

"The Missouri Department of Corrections violated the public's trust, in both its plan to use questionably obtained drugs and by purposefully violating the Sunshine Law to cover up its scheme," American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said in a Monday statement touting the ruling.

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Court Rules Missouri Corrections Officials Did Not Violate Sunshine Law In Execution Cases

Missouri corrections officials are not required to disclose the identities of the pharmacists who supply the state’s lethal execution drugs, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Reversing a lower court judge who had ordered the Department of Corrections to reveal their names, the Missouri Court of Appeals found that the DOC did not violate the state’s Sunshine Law by refusing to provide them.

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MO: Local Special Report on Government Transparency finds Inconsistent Sunshine Request Results

If your friend asks to borrow money, you may ask them, "What for?" Missouri's Sunshine Law is designed to make sure we, as taxpayers, know what our state and local entities are doing with our money.

Is the law being followed and enforced? In an ABC 17 News Special Report, Marissa Hollowed found your government may be shutting you out.

"They didn't want to turn these records over, so they wanted to make it as burdensome as they possibly could on us," Daniel Kolde told ABC 17 News in his St. Louis office.

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Ruling says government can’t charge for legal review of open records under Missouri’s Sunshine Law

A court ruling in St. Louis County last month found that Missouri public records laws do not allow government agencies to charge fees for the time they spend reviewing public records and blacking out information before turning them over to the people who requested them.

The Missouri Sunshine Law says the requester can be billed for the time it takes to locate records, but the government has the responsibility to segregate open parts from closed.

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Missouri Sunshine Law Request Yields $1.5 Million Tab, Then $5,000, Then Outright Refusal

Back in February, a nonprofit group called Reclaim the Records filed requests for Missouri birth and death listings from 1910 through 2015.

The California-based outfit describes itself as a “group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.”

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Read More… from Missouri Sunshine Law Request Yields $1.5 Million Tab, Then $5,000, Then Outright Refusal

Court: Missouri Corrections Department ‘Knowingly Violated’ Sunshine Law

The Missouri Department of Corrections knowingly violated the state’s Sunshine Law when it refused to provide records about applicants who sought to witness Missouri executions, an appeals court ruled.

The ACLU had sued to obtain the information to determine if the department was choosing witnesses impartially.

In response, the corrections department produced heavily redacted records, even though many witness applicants had agreed to produce the information.

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OpEd: The Sun shines on all in Missouri, but not always equally

Over the next few weeks, many of you will be seeing your present (and/or prospective) state legislators and senators cross your towns. They are in the midst of campaigns. They are telling you and your voters why they should be elected to fill seats in Jefferson City beginning in January.

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