Missouri lawmakers pass bill to close public records
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House voted 154-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill limiting public access to a number of government records.
If signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson, the measure would allow Missouri government agencies to close off public access to people's addresses and phone numbers provided for mailing lists.
Government bodies ranging from the Legislature to city councils could block public access to building security plans, and utility usage records could be closed.
More broadly, the bill would give a 30-day deadline for people to pay once they receive a bill for the estimated cost to get public records, although requests could be resubmitted.
Public bodies would have to give 72-hour notice if the office is going to be closed for an extended period of time, a change pitched after many public offices shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure includes some provisions that would increase government transparency and access to public records.
Under the bill, defendants facing extended jail time wouldn't have to pay for the police report and other public records on their own case.
Another provision would require government agencies that offer lending services to report data on those loans and credits to the state auditor for public review.