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Gov. Nixon calls for reinstatement of public safety exemptions to Sunshine Law


January 02, 2013 - Gov. Jay Nixon was joined by state and local law enforcement officials and leaders of the Missouri School Boards' Association today — Jan. 4 — in calling for the reinstatement of public safety exemptions to Missouri's Open Meetings and Records Act, also called the Sunshine Law.

The exemptions, which expired at the end of 2012, help prevent the release of security plans and procedures that protect facilities such as schools, courthouses and hospitals, according to a news release.

"For nearly a decade, the Missouri Sunshine Law has contained specific exemptions to prevent the public disclosure of safety and security procedures at facilities such as schools, courthouses, hospitals and power plants," Nixon said at a news conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

"Initially passed in the wake of 9/11, these provisions represent a proven and balanced approach to keeping sensitive security plans out of the hands of criminals and terrorists — while respecting the bedrock principles of transparency and accountability," Nixon stated in the release. "Now is not the time to undermine the shared efforts of school officials, law enforcement, fire personnel and first responders to enhance our readiness over the past decade by weakening laws that protect our communities."

These protections, previously extended with broad bipartisan support, expired Dec. 31. Nixon called on the General Assembly to immediately pass an extension during the upcoming legislative session. Specifically, Nixon called on the General Assembly to reinstate RSMo 610.021(18) and RSMo 610.021(19).

"These narrowly tailored exemptions prevent our open-records laws from being misused by those who could employ this information for the purposes of carrying out an attack against the public," Nixon stated. "I call on the General Assembly to work quickly to send a bill to my desk that reinstates these protections."

For more information about Missouri's Sunshine Law, visit www.mo.gov.

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