Editorial: Open government means just that

One of the big misunderstandings about Missouriís Sunshine Law is that somehow this testimony to transparency is a tool reserved solely to advance the interests of the media. Journalists do turn to the law regularly to uncover documents and to discover what goes on behind closed doors. But you can bet lawmakers were thinking more broadly about the interests of the public when this landmark measure was introduced in the General Assembly as Senate Bill 1 in 1973. This, after all, was the year of the Watergate hearings.

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Missouri auditor: Local goverments have too many closed meetings

Too many public entities are violating Missouriís open-government laws by meeting in closed sessions without giving a good reason or by discussing things behind closed doors that they shouldnít be, the state auditor said Tuesday.

Auditor Tom Schweich said about 15 percent of the nearly 300 audits he conducted over the previous two years found some sort of violation of Missouri's open-meetings-and-records laws. Thatís an improvement from the 19 percent problem rate for Sunshine law compliance during audits conducted in 2010 and 2011, he said.

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Ferguson, Missouri, demands high fees to provide government files after Michael Brown shooting

Officials in Ferguson, Missouri, are charging nearly 10 times the cost of some of their own employees' salaries before they will agree to turn over files under public records laws about the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Missouri's attorney general on Monday, after the AP first disclosed the practice, contacted Ferguson's city attorney to ask for more information regarding fees related to document requests, the attorney general's spokeswoman said.

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Editorial: Ferguson City Council needs transparency first, changes second

In confusing public relations with public governance, the Ferguson City Council took one step forward and two steps back this week. On Monday, in advance of a Tuesday night City Council meeting, the public relations firm hired by the city announced that the City Council was “implementing several changes and new programs in response to community concerns.”

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Editorial: Open government: The battle never ends

All governments share a common temptation: to use their power to evade accountability. Several police officers proved it again last week in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the middle of heated demonstrations over the shooting of Michael Brown, two reporters – one from the Washington Post – got roughed up and arrested without cause by officers at a McDonald’s restaurant. The officers may have been set off by Post reporter’s refusal to stop filming them with a video camera. They were certainly set off by the journalists’ presence.

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Group claims Missouri Rep. With Agriculture Ties Hopes To Block Public Access To Animal Health Records

The Freedom of Information Act is widely viewed as a successful piece of legislation that helps increase government transparency. But if Missouri State Rep. Jay Houghton (R) has his way, residents of his state will soon have significantly less access to the financial and health records of Missouri’s meat and agriculture businesses.

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