National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Missouri FOIA Laws

Missouri Sunshine Law for Open Meetings

The Missouri Sunshine Law for Open Meetings legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. All gatherings of members of a public body where public business is discussed or decided upon are considered meetings and are required to be open to the public. Any wronged individual, the attorney general, or the local district attorney may file a suit if they believe a violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law for open meetings has occurred. If the court finds the public body has violated the law, the court can impose fines of up to $1000 and award attorney fees to the plaintiff.

Open Meetings Law Mo. Code §610.010 et seq.

Closed: Legal actions; leasing, purchase or sale of real estate; personnel matters; the state militia; health examinations; testing materials; negotiations with employees; and sealed bids

Missouri’s Sunshine Law

The Missouri Sunshine Law was introduced seven years after the Freedom of Information Act was passed in Congress in response to the Watergate scandal. In 1973, RSMO Chapter 610 was signed into the Missouri Constitution making the state one of the earliest advocates of the open records act. The law expressly stated that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies are to be open to the public. Records are defined by Missouri law as “any record, whether written or electronically stored, retained by or of any public governmental body including any report, survey, memorandum, or other document or study prepared for the public governmental body by a consultant or other professional service paid for in whole or in part by public funds, including records created or maintained by private contractors under an agreement with a public governmental body or on behalf of a public governmental body.”

Anyone can request documents and a statement of purpose is not required. There is nothing in the Missouri Sunshine Law that restricts the use of records and an individual should allow three business days for the return of records requests.

Open Records Law Mo. Code §610.023 et seq.

Visit, Missouri Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.