SB 1048 - This act authorizes any aggrieved person, the Attorney General of Missouri, or a prosecuting attorney to seek enforcement of certain record retention laws that prohibit the destruction of records by public bodies. Upon the filing of such an action, the custodian of records for the body shall not transfer, alter, destroy, or otherwise dispose of the material until a court order is issued. Upon a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that a public body or member of the body has knowingly violated such record retention laws, the body or member shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000, as well as may be required to pay attorney fees and costs to the successful party. If there is a finding that the body or member has purposely violated such laws, then the body or member shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and shall be ordered to pay attorney fees and costs to the successful party. Any such action must be brought within one year of the violation being ascertainable, but no later than two years after the violation.
Any public body that is in doubt about the legality of destroying or disposing of any material may seek a formal opinion of the Attorney General. Any body relying in good faith on such opinion shall not be deemed to have committed a knowing or purposeful violation of certain record retention laws.
The Attorney General is granted to certain discovery and subpoena powers when investigating alleged violations of record retention laws as well the Missouri Sunshine Law.
There is created within the office of Attorney General a Transparency Division. Any assistant attorney general assigned to the Division shall not participate in the prosecution or defense of any civil claim on behalf of the state, except that such assistant attorney general may participate in the prosecution of any violation of record retention laws or the Missouri Sunshine Law. The state, and all agencies of the state, are deemed to waive any conflict of interest under the Rules of Professional Conduct that an assistant attorney general may have.