Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed House Bill 256 , which reinstates important public safety exemptions to Missouri’s Sunshine Law. These exemptions, which expired at the end of 2012, help prevent the release of security plans and procedures that protect facilities such as schools, courthouses and hospitals. The Governor had publicly called on the General Assembly to renew these expired provisions earlier this year.
“Earlier this year I called on the General Assembly to reinstate these narrowly tailored provisions, which help keep sensitive security plans out of the hands of criminals and terrorists, while respecting the bedrock principles of transparency and accountability,” Gov. Nixon said. “I want to thank Representative Caleb Jones and Senator Mike Kehoe for their leadership in getting these important public safety protections to my desk and I am pleased to make them law with my signature today.”
Specifically, the bill re-institutes exceptions to the Sunshine Law that protect records relating to operational guidelines, policies and specific response plans maintained for the purposes of law enforcement, public safety, first response or public health. Under the bill, a public governmental body can also close records that relate to security systems and structural plans submitted by private entities with facilities on public property.
The bill, presented to the Governor on May 30, contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.