Missouri House votes for option to close some records

1 year 1 month 6 days ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:09:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, (AP) — Missouri House lawmakers on Tuesday voted against protections for LGBT staffers and gave themselves the option to make some of their emails confidential, despite a voter-approved requirement for transparency.

House members changed their records policy as part of a broader package of internal House rules for the 2019 legislative session, which began last week. The new policy deals with lawmakers' documents on party strategy and correspondence with constituents.

Republican House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo originally proposed making those records confidential, but GOP Rep. Nick Schroer on Tuesday recommended giving individual lawmakers the discretion to close those records or leave them open, which the Republican-led House agreed to in a voice vote.

"Each individual member, as the custodian of their own records, should have this right," Schroer said, adding that lawmakers "should be able to determine what is confidential (and) what should remain confidential."

House lawmakers in a voice vote also defeated a proposed rule change aimed at protecting staffers from being fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"Your religious views may say we're going to hell," said Democratic Kansas City Rep. Greg Razer, who is gay and pushed for the change. "But we also have the right to have a job, and that's what this amendment is about. As an employer, the House of Representative will say if you show up and do a good job, you get to keep your job."

Springfield Republican Rep. Curtis Trent raised concerns that adding those protections for LGBT House staffers could infringe on religious liberty, and said the issue shouldn't be decided in an internal rule change.

The new House records policy comes just months after Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment 1 . Known as "Clean Missouri" by its supporters, the measure added lawmakers to a list of public officials who were already subject to the state open-records law, which grants the public access to government documents.

"It explicitly states that we have to follow the Sunshine Law. Whether we agree with that or not, that's what our Constitution reads," Kansas City Democratic Rep. Jon Carpenter said during Tuesday's debate. "We ought not create a House rule saying that we can choose not to follow it."

Clean Missouri campaign director Sean Nicholson said the Missouri Constitution "requires representatives to follow the generally applicable state laws governing public access to public records, including the Sunshine Law."

"If the House starts crafting special exemptions for itself, that violates the plain text of the reforms that voters just approved by a 2-to-1 margin," Nicholson said.

Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton on Tuesday introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber to change or repeal ballot initiatives during the first two years after voters decide them, making it harder for legislators to change measures decided by voters.

But even with that change, Sifton acknowledged there could be some "fuzzy instances" about whether legislators are overturning the people's will. For example, Tuesday's House rule change allowing lawmakers to close some records creates an exception to open-records requirements but does not directly repeal or amend the new constitutional amendment.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Boone County Counts will hold the latest in a series of outreach meetings about the 2020 Census on... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 21 2020 Feb 21, 2020 Friday, February 21, 2020 5:00:00 AM CST February 21, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Empower Missouri spearheaded a letter to Gov. Mike Parson to try to reinstate a tax incentive program for... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 7:02:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A head-on collision between a school bus and a SUV blocked both sides of North Route Z. ... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 6:41:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Leonard Jerome Wilson, 41, a former Camden County Sheriff's deputy, was sentenced to 8 years of federal... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:47:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A man is in police custody after officials say he stole an ambulance, Thursday. Officials took 40-year-old... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:27:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City man was arrested on Thursday afternoon at approximately 2:28 p.m. at the grocery store,... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:22:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
MOBERLY - People in Moberly are excited about the announcement Plumrose USA made Tuesday. The company is set to bring... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Firefighters are more likely to die by suicide, than in the line of duty, according to a... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 3:48:57 PM CST February 20, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm. Samuel Ernest... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 3:29:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
A new report shows "active shooter drills" might be doing more harm than good. Today, 95% of schools participate in... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 3:11:55 PM CST February 20, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - Local police responded to a "shots fired" call Wednesday at approximately 10:33 p.m. at the 100 block of... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 3:03:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - In a probable cause document, investigators laid out a case that Joseph Elledge strangled his missing wife, Mengqi... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 2:59:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Investigators believe Joseph Elledge strangled or suffocated his wife and disposed of her body in... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 2:51:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would provide a tax incentive to save money... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 1:56:00 PM CST February 20, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Joseph Elledge, the husband of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji, has been charged with first-degree murder, according... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 11:00:00 AM CST February 20, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - A lawsuit against Ashland Mayor, Gene Rhorer, brought up instances of Rhorer asking Police Chief Lyn Woolford to... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 10:09:00 AM CST February 20, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Multiple law enforcement agencies have been conducting an investigation on scene in west Columbia. Public Information... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 Thursday, February 20, 2020 6:06:00 AM CST February 20, 2020 in News
LAS VEGAS — The latest on the 2020 presidential campaign and Democratic debate 6 p.m. Six Democratic... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:07:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 24°
10am 28°
11am 33°
12pm 38°
1pm 40°