Missouri House votes for option to close some records

8 months 2 days 20 hours 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 - Longtime MU professor and musicologist Dr. Michael Budds wiped tears from his eyes as MU alumna Symonne... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 8:29:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
BELLE - After the bodies of 4-year-old Bentlee Turner and 37-year-old Jason Burton were found on Monday night, the community... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:42:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police announced they found human remains during a landfill search consistent with the description of a Columbia woman... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:32:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Flu shots are now available from the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services (PHHS). ... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:26:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools is implementing new rules at all middle school and high school home sporting events. ... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:16:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police confirm one person is dead after officers responded to an armed burglary call Wednesday afternoon. ... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 5:35:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Improvements to the Dix Road bridge over U.S. Route 50 have now been slated to begin Wednesday,... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 3:49:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol released the names of the child and adult found dead in Gasconade... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 2:39:05 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are looking for information related to a robbery early Wednesday. It happened at the Midwest Petroleum... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 2:33:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia officials are fighting back against the trend of vaping among teenagers. Columbia/Boone County Public Health and... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying a pair of suspects in a... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 12:02:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man was arrested early Tuesday morning in connection with rape charges. Jason Boley, 40,... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 9:59:00 AM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Some new artwork is continuing to pop up and gain interest on the MU campus. So far,... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:30:00 AM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - A man with four active warrants was arrested Monday night. According to a press release from the... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:17:00 AM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
MEXICO - Outside the Audrain County courthouse Wednesday, a group of people rallied to create awareness about pets and the... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, September 17 2019 Sep 17, 2019 Tuesday, September 17, 2019 11:23:00 PM CDT September 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Teachers, students and parents at Blue Ridge Elementary School are getting used to new security measures. Over... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, September 17 2019 Sep 17, 2019 Tuesday, September 17, 2019 6:04:00 PM CDT September 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Multiple people were trapped in elevators across MU's campus as a result of a widespread power outage Tuesday... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, September 17 2019 Sep 17, 2019 Tuesday, September 17, 2019 5:26:00 PM CDT September 17, 2019 in News
CAMDENTON - Police are investigating after a Walmart employee found a man dead in a car in the parking lot... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, September 17 2019 Sep 17, 2019 Tuesday, September 17, 2019 4:08:00 PM CDT September 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 77°
12am 76°
1am 75°
2am 74°
3am 73°