SB 174
Modifies provisions regarding the Missouri Sunshine Law
LR Number:
Last Action:
2/23/2023 - SCS Voted Do Pass S Governmental Accountability Committee (0774S.05C)
Journal Page:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2023

Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 174 -This act modifies provisions regarding the Sunshine Law and access to public records.

The act modifies the definitions of "closed record", "public business", "public meeting", and "public record". Also, the definition of "public records" excludes any internal memorandum received or prepared by a public body consisting of certain advisory material unless such record is retained by the public body. This act repeals the requirement that such record was retained by the public body.

Bases for closing records and meetings are modified to include certain records relating to nonjudicial mental or physical health proceedings. This act authorizes a public governmental body to close records, meetings, and votes that relate the following that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the general public: (1) Security measures of a public agency responsible for public safety; (2) Information or data provided to a tip line for the purpose of safety or security at an educational institution; and (3) Information contained in any suspicious activity report provided to law enforcement.

Currently, a public body may close records relating to operational guidelines, policies, and response plans for use in responding to a critical incident which is or appears to be terrorist in nature. This act repeals the requirement that incident be terrorist in nature. The act further authorizes the closure of existing and proposed security protocols of a public body.

A public governmental body is authorized to close records that are related to email addresses and telephone numbers submitted to a public governmental body by individuals or entities for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications.

This act authorizes the closure of any portion of a public record that is retained by a public governmental body that could individually identify a constituent of the public body. The act defines the term "constituent" to include any person who is a resident of, pays property taxes within, or owns a business entity within, the boundaries of the public body, but shall not include a lobbyist or lobbyist principal, a statewide elected official, or an elected official of a political subdivision, or an employee of such elected official.

The act authorizes the closure of records that would individually identify a person who registered for a recreational or social activity or event sponsored by a public body.

Further, any record may be closed that is retained in the office of a member of the General Assembly, or employees of the General Assembly, that contain information regarding proposed legislation or the legislative process. These authorizations to close records shall not apply if the record has been offered in a public meeting of either house of the General Assembly or, for legislative records, to any record addressed to, or from, a lobbyist or lobbyist principal.

Currently, requests for records must be acted upon with three business days. This act changes this requirement to four business days. Access to and production of records may be conditioned upon the receipt of payment of fees. If requested records are available on the public body's website or otherwise publicly available, then providing a link to the materials shall satisfy the request as long as the records can be downloaded, duplicated, or printed.

Where a single record contains both open and closed records, the public body shall make a redacted version of such record available. Current law authorizes a public body to charge for research time required to fulfill records requests. This act authorizes the public body to also charge for the time needed to redact documents using employees of the body that result in the lowest charge, provided that time needed to separate redacted materials from other responsive records shall not be charged.

Currently, payment of copying fees may be requested prior to the making of copies. This act modifies this provision so that payment of any fees may be requested prior to fulfilling the request. Except as provided in the act, a request for public records to a public governmental body shall be considered withdrawn if the requester fails to remit all fees within sixty days of a request for payment of the fees by the public governmental body. The public body shall include notice to the requester that the failure to remit the fees within sixty days shall result in the request being considered withdrawn. If a public body responds to a records request in order to seek clarification of the request and no response to the clarification request is received within sixty days, then such request shall be considered withdrawn. The request for clarification shall include notice to the requester that the request shall be considered withdrawn if there is no response within sixty days. If the same or a substantially similar request for records is made within six months of the expiration of the sixty day period and no fee was remitted for the original request or no response to the request for clarification was received, then the public body can request payment of fees made for the original request. If the requested fees are greater than $1,000, then the request shall be considered withdrawn if the requester fails to remit all fees within 120 days. Further, any request for records that is pending on August 28, 2023, shall be considered withdrawn if all fees are not remitted by January 1, 2024.

Provisions of this act are identical to provisions of SCS/SB 930 (2022), SB 1135 (2022), SCS/HCS/HB 362 (2021) and SCS/SB 613 (2020).



No Amendments Found.