November 20, 2006
Jefferson City, Mo. — A citizen wants to tape record the open portion of a city council meeting. Can the city council say no recording is allowed?
That's one of the questions posed in an online quiz designed to educate Missouri's public officials and its citizens about the state Open Meetings and Records Law, popularly known as the Sunshine Law. Attorney General Jay Nixon launched the quiz today on his Web site, www.ago.mo.gov.
"Open government is the best government," Nixon said. "This is another way in which we are trying to provide useful information to citizens and public officials about what Missouri law says must be open. I encourage Missourians to take the quiz so they can learn more about the Sunshine Law and use that knowledge to ensure that our government records and meetings, from city hall to the state Capitol, are open to the fullest extent possible."
There are two separate quizzes on the Web site, one with 10 questions and the other with 11 questions. While one has questions that might be asked more frequently by the general public and the other focuses on public officials, Nixon said information in both quizzes are helpful to all Missourians interested in open government.
The Attorney General's Office also publishes and distributes thousands of free copies of its Sunshine Law booklet each year to public officials, members of the media and the general public. The booklet, which was updated in August, also is available to view and download online.
Nixon said that in 2005, attorneys from his office held 23 training sessions around the state to educate 1,184 public officials. Assistant attorneys general also took 652 inquiries last year from local government officials, citizens and members of the media with questions or concerns about open meetings or records. About half those inquiries were questions about the Sunshine Law that were answered by staff; the other half were concerns that were mediated by Nixon's office.