Senate panel considers Mo. open records measure

Jan 31, 2013

A Missouri Senate committee has heard testimony on legislation aimed at strengthening the state's open meetings and records law.

Sponsoring Sen. Kurt Schaefer said during a hearing Wednesday one significant change focuses on complaints about violations.

Schaefer says current law puts the burden on complainants to show that a violation occurred. His legislation would require the governmental body to prove during legal proceedings that a meeting, record or vote was properly closed.

Current law allows penalties of up to $1,000 against government bodies or officials for a "knowing" violation. The legislation would reduce it to $100 but would no longer require that a violation be "knowing."

Supporters have included the Missouri Press Association and Missouri Broadcasters Association. The Missouri Municipal League and the Missouri Association of Counties expressed concerns.