JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Just months after Missouri voters passed a measure to make state government more open, state representatives have approved a bill to slam it shut by blocking access to many records.
Shamed Dogan said that, when he proposed House Bill 445, it extended what Missouri voters wanted in November. Passing Clean Missouri meant more transparency in government.
“Some of us are even calling it ‘Cleaner Missouri’ because the provisions of Clean Missouri only applied to state elected officials,” said Dogan, a Republican representative for West St. Louis County.
However, an amendment tacked onto the bill on Thursday afternoon may have reversed the intention of the bill.
“A ‘yes’ vote was a vote to gut Sunshine,” said Greg Razer, a Democratic representative for Kansas City.
The amendment to H.B. 445 is in three parts. Razer said it is the third part that has some lawmakers frustrated.
“The third piece was the problem and, I think, the intention of the entire amendment,” Razer said.
The amendment says any document made by or given to a lawmaker that has advice, recommendations, or opinions would be exempt from Sunshine Law requests.
“That’s pretty much everything,” Razer said. “That’s pretty much everything we do.”
That means some of the paperwork that KCTV5 News asked for during the investigation in to former Governor Eric Greitens wouldn't be available. However, this isn't just for the press; citizens who file Sunshine Requests would also face roadblocks.
Dogan said that part of the amendment was supposed to help protect constituents but that “there may have been some unintentional language that was a little too sweeping.” Dogan said he is willing to work with the senate on changing that language.
Any changes made will be reviewed by the house before the bill is sent to Governor Mike Parson.