March 17, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. — The observance of Sunshine Week during March 16-22 should remind Missouri citizens and government officials that the business of government needs to be open as much as possible, Attorney General Jay Nixon said today. This year also marks the 35th anniversary of Missouri’s Open Meetings and Records Law, commonly known as the Sunshine Law.
“This law has been amended several times over the years, particularly as technologies that were unimagined in 1973 have become commonplace,” Nixon said. “Those changes have incorporated these technologies into the law to ensure that government officials must continue to comply with the Sunshine Law, even as the formats of communicating and retaining records change.”
Nixon encouraged those with questions about the Sunshine Law to visit his Web site, ago.mo.gov. The site includes links to the Sunshine Law, to an 80-page booklet on the Sunshine Law that Nixon’s office distributes at no charge, to a Sunshine Law complaint form, and to a Sunshine Law quiz. The Attorney General’s Office distributed 25,000 copies of the booklet last year; the booklet is updated periodically to reflect changes in Missouri’s law, new court decisions pertaining to the Sunshine Law, and new legal opinions issued by the Attorney General’s Office.
Last year, Nixon’s staff trained almost 1,600 public officials through free seminars and workshops on the Sunshine Law and other government ethics issues. Assistant attorneys general in the office also have handled more than 1,100 inquiries in the past three years from government officials, members of the media, and the general public about the Sunshine Law. The office is able to successfully resolve the great majority of Sunshine Law complaints it receives without the need for litigation.