No new sunshine law stories at the moment, but two tidbits for you, my readers. One is House Bill 316 is moving -- it had its hearing this week and the next step is a vote out of the General Rules committee. Calls to legislators are important, as always.
But even more important is the (ta da!) launch of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition! A press release follows. IF YOU CARE ABOUT SUNSHINE IN MISSOURI, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE ON MARCH 12!! Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
A new organization for people who want to promote government openness at all levels in Missouri will hold a public reception and program on Thursday, March 12, in Columbia. The event is free. The Missouri Sunshine Coalition is seeking individual and organization members from all areas of the public. It will hold a 2 p.m. reception and 3 p.m. program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the School of Journalism at MU.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster will speak at the 3 p.m. program. Other speakers will be Charles Davis, director of the National Freedom of Information Center, which is based at the School of Journalism; and Mike Wood, director of governmental relations for the Missouri State Teachers Association.
The group's founders have met three times to elect a board of directors, to approve bylaws and a mission statement, and to plan the March 12 program. On Jan. 15 the group elected Jim Robertson, managing editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune, president.
"Open government, from town councils to the governor's office, is an essential right of every citizen," Robertson said. "A strong coalition that represents a variety of needs and viewpoints can help strengthen the concept and practice of openness, and that's our goal."
Until now, Missouri was one of the few
states in the country that did not have an organization whose mission
is to promote government transparency. This group hopes to bring
together all individuals and organizations in Missouri who want to
minimize secrecy in the operations of local and
state government agencies. Membership in the coalition costs $25 for an organization or individual. To RSVP for the meeting, contact Kristie Williams, email@example.com, 573-449-4167.