by: June 9, 2016
Access to records maintained by public governmental bodies took a hit in the 2016 legislative session. New laws, if signed by Governor Nixon, will limit public access to police videos, some voluntary agricultural data, and crime scene photographs. Most bills that were approved become effective on August 28, 2016, unless noted. A total of 148 bills were passed this session.
There were a few brushes where defense by MPA came into play with bills attempting to limit public records and limit public notices published in newspapers.
A bill to close police records related to incidents of suicide and attempted suicide did not pass (HB 2473, sponsored by Rep. Genise Montecillo).
A bill to close the names of Missouri Lottery winners did not pass (HB 2422, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy LaFaver).
A bill to close certain records in County Assessors’ offices did not pass (HB 1956, sponsored by Rep. Dean Dohrman).
A bill that could have eliminated the county financial statement published in local newspapers, replacing it with a posting on the county’s web site, did not pass (HB 2089, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chipman).
On a more positive note, a few bills approved contain NEW public notices required to be published in local newspapers.
Thanks to those publishers, editors and staff members who contacted their legislators on various issues. It is most important for MPA members to stay in touch with their senators and representatives on issues that are vital to the newspaper industry.
Legislators will return to Jefferson City for their annual Veto Session in September.
Below is a list of MPA's most closely watched bills that received approval by the General Assembly.
(Portions of bill summaries prepared by the Research Staff of the Missouri House of Representatives.)
HOUSE BILLS -- Approved
SCS HB 1414 -- AGRICULTURAL DATA DISCLOSURE (Sponsor: Rep. Jay Houghton) This bill specifies that certain information on an agricultural producer or owner of agricultural land in connection with a producer or owner’s voluntary participation in a government program that is maintained by the departments of Agriculture or Natural Resources is not considered a public record and subject to public disclosure.
SCS HCS HB 1474 – ELECTIONS (Sponsor: Rep. Tony Dugger) The bill specifies that certain financial disclosure reports shall be filed in an electronic format and sets the Missouri Ethics Commission as the required body for filing reports under Section 130.026, RSMo, by removing local election authority filing as an option for certain reports. The bill specifies that committee and candidate reports are included in the electronic reporting system maintained by the commission under Section 130.057.
HB 1559 -- LUCILE BLUFORD DAY (Sponsor: Rep. Gail McCann Beatty) This bill designates July 1st of each year as "Lucile Bluford Day" in Missouri and encourages citizens to appropriately observe the day in honor of the late Lucile Bluford, a journalist and civil rights activist. Miss Bluford is a member of the MPA Newspaper Hall of Fame.
HCS HB 1562 -- SEXUAL TRAFFICKING (Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr) This bill adds knowingly advertising a specified minor to participate in a commercial sex act, performance, or the production of explicit sexual material to the offenses of sexual trafficking of a child in the first degree, sexual trafficking of a child in the second degree, sexual trafficking of a child, and sexual trafficking of a child under the age of 12. The bill adds the advertising element to the offense of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This bill specifies that any visual or aural recordings or photographs of a minor or his or her body who is alleged to be the victim of an offense under Chapter 566, RSMo, created by or in the possession of a Child Assessment Center, health care provider, or multidisciplinary investigation team member cannot be disclosed unless required by Supreme Court Rule 25.03 or a court orders the disclosure upon a showing of good cause after notice and a hearing and after considering the safety and privacy interests of any victim. Any court records identifying any person who was a victim of a crime under Chapter 566 and a minor at the time the offense was committed must be closed for inspection, and the contents must not be disclosed except by order of the court to persons having a legitimate interest therein. Currently, the Secretary of State administers a program to protect victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or stalking by assigning substitute addresses to such victims. State and local government agencies must accept the substitute address when creating public records relating to a participant in the program. This bill allows victims of human trafficking to participate in the program.
SCS HB 1577 -- CAPITOL SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE (Sponsor: Rep. Galen Higdon) This bill adds the MoDOT headquarters building located at 105 West Capitol Avenue in Jefferson City to the property over which the Board of Public Buildings has general supervision. This bill further establishes the Joint Committee on Capitol Security, which shall consist of the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or their designated representatives. The President Pro Tem of the Senate shall appoint two Senators, one from each party, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two representatives, one from each party. The security responsibilities of the joint committee are specified in the bill, and the meetings and records of the committee may be closed to the public. The members of the committee shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.
SS HCS HB 1765 -- JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS (Sponsor: Rep. Robert Cornejo) and CCS HCS SCS SB 578 (Sponsor: Sen. Joe Keaveny) These bills change the laws regarding the administration of justice.
MISSOURI COMMERCIAL RECEIVERSHIP ACT
The bill grants the court authority to appoint a receiver whenever the court deems necessary. A receiver has the duty to keep and preserve any money deposited with the court, and any property and business or business interests entrusted to the receiver pending any legal or equitable action concerning such money, property, or business interest. The order appointing a receiver must describe the property by category, individual items, or both if the receiver is to take charge of less than substantially all of the debtor's property. Within 10 business days of the appointment of a receiver or the conversion of a limited receiver to a general receiver, the receiver must give notice of the appointment or conversion to all interested parties including the Secretary of State or the state and federal taxing authorities. The bill specifies the content of such notice and states that the notice must be sent by first class mail. Additionally, a general receiver must publish notice of the receivership in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which estate property is located once a week for three weeks. A debtor must cooperate with all reasonable requests for information by the receiver in order to assist in satisfying the notice requirements.
SCS HB 1936 – LAW ENFORCEMENT VIDEOS (Sponsor: Rep. Ken Wilson) This bill requires a mobile video recording that is recorded in a nonpublic location to be closed, except that any person who is depicted in the recording or whose voice is in the recording, or his or her agent, may obtain a complete, unaltered, and unedited copy of the recording upon written request. Mobile video recordings are closed records, subject to exceptions specified in the bill. (See more thorough analysis of police video language below in SB 732.)
SS SCS HB 1941 -- FANTASY SPORTS EXEMPTION (Sponsor: Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick) This bill requires the Missouri Gaming Commission to provide annual licenses for the operation of websites engaged in daily fantasy sports games in Missouri. Operators will pay an annual application fee of $10,000 or 10% of the applicant's net revenue from the previous calendar year, whichever is lower. Documents and information provided to the commission are closed records, but certain information must be disclosed to the public based on a written request. The commission shall oversee all licensed operators and has certain investigatory, licensing, and rule-making powers under these provisions.
SS SCS HCS HB 2376 -- CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT (Sponsor: Rep. T.J. Berry) This bill creates new provisions relating to construction management which enable political subdivisions to use design-build or construction management at-risk methods and modifies a current provision dealing with highway design-build project contracts.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGERS AT-RISK (Section 67.5050, RSMo)
The bill creates the construction manager-risk method which political subdivisions are permitted to use when engaging in civil works projects in excess of $2 million and non-civil works projects in excess of $3 million. Construction managers at-risk are required to publicly advertise and receive bids or proposals from trade contractors or subcontractors. A political subdivision is required to publish a request for proposal or qualifications in a newspaper of general circulation for a period of two weeks prior to opening the submitted proposals or qualifications.
SS SCS HCS HB 2380 -- LICENSE PLATES (Sponsor: Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer)
This bill establishes an advisory committee for the Department of Revenue, which shall exist to develop and approve a new motor vehicle license plate commemorating the Bicentennial of the State of Missouri, with approval procedures detailed therein. The advisory committee shall consist of the Director of the Department of Revenue, the Superintendent of the State Highway Patrol, the Director of the Department of Corrections, the Director of the Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and the respective chairpersons of both the Senate and House of Representatives Transportation Committees. The reissued license plate shall be designed no later than January 1, 2017, and the Director of the Department of Revenue shall be directed to implement the final design no later than January 1, 2019. The Bicentennial will be celebrated in 2021, the 200th anniversary of Missouri statehood.
HOUSE BILLS – Failed
HB 1776 – BINGO (Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Engler) and HJR 58 – BINGO (Sponsor: Rep. Wanda Brown) Both measures would have repealed the current restrictions on advertising of licensed bingo games. MPA testified in favor of the legislation. Both bills passed the House but died in the Senate.
HB 2058 – CRONKITE New Voices Act (Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr This bill would have provided that student journalists have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored media, a right that was lost in the U.S. Supreme Court case originating in Missouri, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988). The bill passed the House and was approved by a Senate Committee, but did not receive any floor debate in the full Senate. MPA testified in support of the bill.
HB 2111 -- NON-ELECTION ELECTIONS (Sponsor: Rep. J. Eggleston) Cities, towns and villages of less than 1,000 population may adopt procedures when particular elections are uncontested and the number of candidates available equal the number of open positions. This bill would have allowed cities, towns and villages of 2,000 population or less to hold “non-election elections.” The bill passed the House, was okayed by a Senate Committee, but did not receive floor time in the Senate. MPA testified against the bill in the House Elections Committee.
HB 2208 and HB 2598 – LIQUOR ADVERTISING (Sponsor of HB 2598: Rep. Dan Shaul) Would have allowed retailers to advertise the price of alcohol if the advertised price is greater than the retailer’s cost and the retailer assumes the cost of the advertising. MPA testified in favor of the bills. Neither bill was debated on the House floor.
SENATE BILLS -- Approved
HCS SCS SBs 588, 603 & 942 – EXPUNGEMENT (Sponsors: Sen. Bob Dixon, Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed) Currently, a $100 surcharge is required to be paid for petitions for expungement of criminal records. This bill raises the amount of the surcharge to $250 and provides that the judge may waive the surcharge if the petitioner is indigent. Currently, a person may petition the court in which the person was found guilty for the expungement of records relating to a list of specified offenses. A person may file multiple petitions throughout the state and have multiple offenses expunged, but may only file one petition per circuit court. This bill repeals the limitation on the number of petitions per circuit court, allows a person who was arrested but not sentenced to apply for expungement, and allows a person to petition, over the course of a lifetime, for the expungement of records for any number of infractions, no more than two misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations that carry jail time, and no more than one felony offense. If the violations or offenses were charged at the same time or involve the same course of conduct, the person may include all the related offenses or violations in the same petition and it only counts as a petition for one offense or violation. This bill lists certain crimes and ordinance violations that may not be expunged. Currently, a person is required to wait 20 years for a felony and 10 years for a misdemeanor before being eligible to file an expungement petition. This bill allows a person to file a petition after three years for the expungement of records relating to a finding of guilt for a misdemeanor, ordinance violation, or infraction, or an arrest for any type of offense or violation. A petition to expunge a finding of guilt for a felony may be filed seven years after completion of the sentence. Currently, entities possessing records relating to an expunged offense must destroy the records. This bill provides that the entities must close, not destroy, the records. This bill is effective January 1, 2018.
CCS#2 HCS SS SB 608 -- HEALTH CARE (Sponsor: Sen. David Sater)
HEALTH CARE COST REDUCTION AND TRANSPARENCY ACT (Section 191.875) This bill establishes the Health Care Cost Reduction and Transparency Act that requires each health care provider licensed in Missouri to make available to the public and on its Internet website the most current price information required under these provisions in a manner that is easily understood by the public.
CCS HCS SS SB 732 -- EMERGENCY RESPONSES (Sponsor: Sen. Brian Munzlinger, Sen. Bob Dixon) MOBILE VIDEO RECORDINGS (Section 610.100) (Mobile video recordings language also contained in SCS HB 1936 – LAW ENFORCEMENT VIDEOS (Sponsor: Rep. Ken Wilson) and in CCS HCS SCS SB 765) (Sponsor: Sen. Eric Schmitt)
This legislation requires a mobile video recording that is recorded in a nonpublic location to be closed, except that any person who is depicted in the recording or whose voice is in the recording, or his or her agent as specified in the bill, may obtain a complete, unaltered, and unedited copy of the recording upon written request. Mobile video recordings are considered closed records until any related investigation becomes inactive, except that a legal guardian or parent of a minor child depicted in a mobile video recording or whose voice is in the recording may obtain records for purposes of investigating any civil claim or defense, and such person may obtain a complete, unaltered and unedited incident report related to the mobile video recording. Any person may bring action in the circuit court that has jurisdiction to authorize disclosure of a mobile video recording, and the court may order that all or part of a mobile video recording be released to the person bringing the action. The bill specifies various factors the court is to consider when determining whether a mobile video recording shall be disclosed. Any person who requests and receives a mobile video recording that was recorded in a nonpublic location is prohibited from displaying or disclosing the recording, including any description or account of any or all of the recording, without first giving direct notice to any person not affiliated with a law enforcement agency whose image or sound is contained in the recording. Upon receiving notice, each person who appears in the recording has 10 days to file and serve an action seeking an order from a court with jurisdiction to prohibit all or some of the intended display, disclosure, description, or account of the recording. Any person who fails to comply will be subject to damages in a civil actions proceeding.
CRIME SCENE EVIDENCE (Section 610.205) (Language sponsor: Rep. Joe Don McGaugh) This bill specifies that crime scene photographs and video recordings, produced by a state or local agency or by a perpetrator or suspect at a crime scene, which depict or describe a deceased person in a state of dismemberment, decapitation, or similar mutilation including where the deceased person's genitalia are exposed, are considered closed records and not be subject to disclosure under open records laws. Such material may be disclosed to the decedent's next-of-kin or to an individual who has secured a written release from the next-of-kin. The bill authorizes a circuit court judge to order the disclosure of such photographs or video records in closed criminal investigations upon findings in writing that disclosure is in the public interest and outweighs any privacy interest that may be asserted by the deceased person's next-of-kin. In making such determination, the court must consider whether disclosure is necessary for public evaluation of governmental performance, the seriousness of the intrusion into the family's right to privacy, and whether disclosure is the least intrusive means available considering the availability of similar information in other public records. In any such action, the court is required to review the photographs or video recordings in question in camera with the custodian of the crime scene materials present and may condition any disclosure on any conditions the court deems necessary to accommodate the interests of the parties. Prior to releasing any crime scene material, the custodian of the material must give the deceased person's next-of-kin at least two weeks' notice and the court is prohibited from ordering a disclosure which would disregard or shorten the duration of this notice requirement. These provisions apply to all undisclosed material which is in the custody of a state or local agency on the effective date of this section and to any such material which comes into the custody of a state or local agency after such date. These provisions do not apply to disclosure of crime scene material to counsel representing a convicted defendant in a habeas corpus action, on a motion for new trial, or in a federal habeas corpus action under 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 or 2255 for the purpose of preparing to file or litigating such proceedings. Counsel may disclose these materials to his or her client and any expert or investigator assisting counsel but is prohibited from otherwise disseminating these materials, except to the extent they may be necessary exhibits in court proceedings.
FIRST INFORMER BROADCASTERS' ACT (Section 190.260) This bill requires the Department of Public Safety, in cooperation with any statewide organization representing broadcasters, to establish a program for training and certifying broadcast engineers and technical personnel as first informer broadcasters. The training will concern restoration, repair, and resupply of any broadcaster facilities and equipment in an area affected by emergency or disaster and first informer broadcasters' personal safety.
CCS HCS SS SB 786 – ELECTIONS (Sponsor: Sen. Will Kraus)
CANDIDATE FILING DEADLINES (Section 115.361) (Language sponsor: Rep. Sue Entlicher) Currently, when a candidate files a statement of withdrawal within two working days prior to the deadline for the close of filing, the time of filing for the relevant office is extended until 5:00 p.m. of the first Friday following the close of deadline that is established under law. This bill changes that so that when a candidate files a statement of withdrawal within two working days prior to the deadline, filing shall reopen on the first Tuesday following the established deadline and last until 5:00 p.m. on the next Friday.
ELECTRONIC FILING WITH THE Missouri Ethics Commission (Sections 130.026 and 130.057) (Language sponsor: Rep. Tony Dugger) This bill modifies provisions relating to the appropriate filing officers for the filing of reports under campaign finance laws. Continuing committees which make contributions totaling more than $15,000 in an applicable calendar year are required to file disclosure reports in an electronic format. All other continuing committees are given the option to file reports in electronic or paper format. This bill repeals those requirements and instead requires all committees to file electronically.
CCS HCS SCS SB 823 – TAXATION (Sponsor: Sen. Will Kraus)
PRODUCTION EXEMPTIONS (Section 144.026) This bill prohibits the Director of the Department of Revenue from sending notice to any taxpayer regarding the decision in IBM Corp. v. Director of Revenue, Case No. 94999 (Mo. banc 2016) prior to August 28, 2017 relating to sales tax. (Cited in the bill language is a newspaper manufacturing-related Missouri Supreme Court case, Concord Publishing v. Director of Revenue, supported by the Missouri Press Association in 1995.)
CCS HCS SB 867 -- POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS (Sponsor: Sen. David Sater)
ROAD DISTRICTS (Sections 137.565, 233.180, and 233.295) This bill authorizes a county commission to combine two or more road districts within the county upon petition request by a majority of the commissioners in each of the road districts seeking to be combined. The county commission must hold a public hearing after publishing notice for a period of four weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. The county may issue an order to consolidate the districts if it finds, after the public hearing, that the consolidation is in the public good.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS APPROVED for the statewide ballot later this year:
SS HJR 53 -- VOTER IDENTIFICATION (Sponsor: Rep. Tony Dugger) Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment specifies that a person seeking to vote in a public election may be required by general law to identify himself or herself and verify his or her qualifications as a United States citizen and a Missouri resident by providing election officials with a form of identification that may include requiring valid government-issued photo identification. Exceptions to the identification requirement may also be provided for by general law.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1 – On the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot, voters will consider continuing for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 2026. The tax generates about $90 million annually.
OTHER POTENTIAL BALLOT ISSUES
Also, signatures on initiative petitions have been submitted for verification by the Secretary of State’s office on the following issues:
Legalization of marijuana for medical use;
A ban on new sales taxes on professional services, such as hairdressers or real-estate agents;
An effort to reinstate political campaign donation limits;
And, Two proposals to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax.
Thanks to MPA's lobbying team, Harry Gallagher and Heath Clarkston, and to legal counsel Jean Maneke, and to MPA publishers, editors and staff members who stay in touch with their elected officials and who make important phone calls and contacts with their legislators when MPA issues Legislative Alerts during the session!
Please contact MPA if you wish to be added to the MPA Legislative Report, emailed each week during the annual legislative session.
If you have any questions about legislation that MPA monitors, please contact:
Mark Maassen, Executive Director
Doug Crews, Legislative Director
May 17, 2016