Nixon to Reinstate Expired Public Safety Exemptions

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JEFFERSON CITY - An expired exemption from the Missouri Sunshine Law had Governor Jay Nixon calling for a change today so information doesn't get into the wrong hands.

Nixon was joined by state and local law enforcement officials and leaders of the Missouri School Boards' Association to call for the reinstatement of important public safety exemptions to Missouri's Sunshine Law, which expired Dec. 31.  The exemptions were originally passed in 2001 after the September 11th attacks.

Nixon wants to prevent security plans and procedures that protect facilities such as courthouses, hospitals, and schools from being misused because he believes these records could be used to plan attacks on the public.

"These provisions represent a proven and balanced approach to keeping security plans out of the hands of criminals and terrorists while respecting the bedrock principles of transparency and accountability," said Nixon.

While Nixon believes in the need for exemptions, anti-secrecy advocates worry they will be misused.

"We struggle, and continue to struggle, with people using these exemptions broadly to protect information that's not really about security plans," MU Journalism Professor Charles Davis. Davis said one example of this is "getting any sort of information from Homeland Security at the state level about funding."

Nixon urged the legislature to move quickly and wants a bill on his desk as soon as possible.