2023 Legislative Update — Governor Parson Signs 31 Pieces of Legislation, Vetoes One Bill

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Governor Mike Parson on Thursday, July 6, signed 31 pieces of legislation into law and vetoed one bill, Senate Bill 189, passed by the Missouri General Assembly. With these actions, the Governor has acted on all legislation approved during the 2023 legislative session. On June 30, the FY2024 budget bills were signed with some line-item vetoes.

Bills signed July 6 that deal with public records and privacy issues include:

SENATE BILL 20 (Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City)
PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION CLOSED RECORDS
An amendment to this bill provides that meetings, records, and votes may be closed to the extent that they relate to information submitted to a public institution of higher education regarding investments in or financial transactions with business entities for investment purposes.

SENATE BILL 28 (Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla)
RECORDS OF THE HIGHWAY PATROL
This bill provides that a minimum fee of $6 may be charged by the State Highway Patrol for any records request for a Missouri vehicle crash report or boating accident investigative report. The fee may be increased by no more than $1 every other year starting Aug. 28, 2024, and the minimum fee must not exceed $10.

NEW SUNSHINE LAW EXEMPTIONS
The bill includes an amendment adding these new exemptions to the Sunshine Law: “(18) (a) Security measures, global positioning system (GPS) data, investigative information, or investigative or surveillance techniques of any public agency responsible for law enforcement or public safety that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public. (b) Any information or data provided to a tip line for the purpose of safety or security at an educational institution that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public. (c) Any information contained in any suspicious activity report provided to law enforcement that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public.”

PERSONAL PRIVACY PROTECTION
This bill amends the “Personal Privacy Protection Act” to prohibit a public agency from releasing, publicizing, or otherwise publicly disclosing personal information in possession of the agency without the express, written permission of every individual who is identifiable as a financial supporter of a nonprofit organization. The bill also provides some exceptions to the prohibition, including: personal information that a person or non-profit entity submits or has previously submitted to a public agency for the purpose of seeking or obtaining a contract, grant, permit, license, benefit, tax credit, incentive, status or any other similar item; a disclosure of personal information among law enforcement agencies or public agency investigators pursuant to an active investigation; a disclosure of personal information voluntarily made as part of public comment, public testimony, pleading, or in a public meeting, or voluntarily provided to a public agency for the purpose of public outreach, marketing, or education to show appreciation for or in partnership with a non-profit entity; a disclosure of personal information to a labor union or employee association regarding employees in a bargaining unit represented by the union or association; or the collection or publishing of information contained in financial interest statement.

SENATE BILL 75 (Sen. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe)
CONFIDENTIALITY OF INVESTMENT INFORMATION SUBMITTED TO PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
This act provides that meetings, records, and votes may be closed to the extent that they relate to information submitted to a public institution of higher education regarding investments in or financial transactions with business entities for investment purposes.

SENATE BILL 103 (Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo)
JUDICIAL PRIVACY ACT
This act establishes the “Judicial Privacy Act,” which regulates the use of a judicial officer’s personal information. Upon receiving a written request, a government agency, as defined in the act, shall not publicly post or display a judicial officer’s personal information in publicly available content, which includes documents or records that may be obtained by any person or entity, from the internet, upon request to the government agency, or in response to a request pursuant to the Missouri Sunshine Law or the federal Freedom of Information Act. A written request is a written or electronic notice signed by the judicial officer and submitted to the clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri, or for a federal judicial officer to his or her clerk of the court, for transmittal to the government agency, person, business, or association.

EXCLUSION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION IN COURT DOCUMENTS (SECTION 509.520) Currently, Social Security numbers of parties or children subject to an order of custody or support and credit and financial information of any parties are to be excluded from pleadings, attachments, or exhibits filed with the court in any case, as well as judgments issued by the court. This act provides that beginning August 28, 2023, the following information shall be excluded from pleadings, attachments, exhibits, judgments, orders, or other records of the court, but shall be included in a confidential information sheet filed with the court, which shall not be subject to public inspection or availability:

(1) Social security numbers of any party or children;

(2) Credit card numbers, financial institution account numbers, personal identification numbers, or passwords used to secure an account of any party;

(3) Motor vehicle operator license number;

(4) Victim’s information, including name, address, and other contact information;

(5) Witness’s information, including name, address, and other contact information;

(6) Any other state identification numbers;

(7) The name, address, and date of birth of a minor and, if applicable, any next friend; or

(8) The date of birth of any party, except the year may be made available for any party that is not a minor.

UNLAWFUL POSTING OF CERTAIN INFORMATION
Currently, the unlawful posting of certain information of any law enforcement officer, corrections officer, parole officer, judge, commissioner, or prosecuting attorney, or of any immediate family member of such person, which intends to or threatens to cause great bodily harm or death shall be a Class E felony. This act provides that if such unlawful posting of certain information that intends to or threatens to cause great bodily harm or death results in bodily harm or death to such person or immediate family member, the offense shall be a Class D felony.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION REGARDING CHILDREN
This bill prohibits the disclosure of any personally identifiable information regarding any child receiving childcare from a provider or applying for or receiving any services through a state program. This does not prohibit any state agency from disclosing personally identifiable information to governmental entities or its agents, vendors, and contractors relating to its official duties, nor does it prevent a parent or legal guardian from accessing their child’s records. These provisions do not apply to any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency acting in its official capacity.

SENATE BILL 106 (Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City)
DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
This bill prohibits the disclosure of any personally identifiable information regarding any child receiving childcare from a provider or applying for or receiving any services through a state program. This does not prohibit any state agency from disclosing personally identifiable information to governmental entities or its agents, vendors, and contractors relating to its official duties, nor does it prevent a parent or legal guardian from accessing their child’s records. These provisions do not apply to any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency acting in its official capacity.

OFFICE OF CHILD ADVOCATE
Currently, the Office of Child Advocate shall not disclose the identity of a complainant or recipient unless they or their legal representative consents or a court orders the disclosure. This act permits disclosure of such identities if the Child Advocate determines that disclosure to law enforcement is necessary to ensure immediate child safety.

SENATE BILL 157 (Sen. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe)
COMPLAINTS AGAINST LICENSEES’ PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES
This bill specifies that the Board of Nursing Home Administrators must establish a procedure for handling complaints against licensees’ professional practices. The Board must investigate complaints and document the findings. The Board can disclose complaints and investigatory reports if the disclosure is: (1) In the course of voluntary interstate exchange of information; (2) In accordance with a lawful request; or (3) To other state or federal administrative or law enforcement agencies acting within the scope of their statutory authority. All educational transcripts, test scores, and personal information pertaining to an applicant for a license or a licensee of the Board are also confidential and are only disclosed for the same reasons the investigatory reports are disclosed. Deliberations, votes, or minutes of closed proceedings will not be subject to disclosure or discovery. Once an investigation is complete and a final disposition has been made, that decision will be made public.

SENATE BILL 186 (Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla)
FEES TO HIGHWAY PATROL
This bill provides that a minimum fee of $6 may be charged by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for any request where there are allowable fees of less than $6. The $6 fee shall be in place of any allowable fee of less than $6. The Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol may increase the minimum fee by not more than $1 every other year following August 28, 2024. The minimum fee shall not exceed $10.

OFFENSE OF TAMPERING WITH A JUDICIAL OFFICER
This bill provides that a person commits the offense of tampering with a judicial officer if the person disseminates through any means the judicial officer’s personal information as provided in the bill. Additionally, this bill provides a judicial officer shall include a judge or commissioner of state or federal court. If a judicial officer or a member of his or her family is injured or dies, the offense is a class B felony.

NEW SUNSHINE LAW EXEMPTIONS
The bill includes an amendment adding these new exemptions to the Sunshine Law: “(18) (a) Security measures, global positioning system (GPS) data, investigative information, or investigative or surveillance techniques of any public agency responsible for law enforcement or public safety that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public. (b) Any information or data provided to a tip line for the purpose of safety or security at an educational institution that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public. (c) Any information contained in any suspicious activity report provided to law enforcement that, if disclosed, has the potential to endanger the health or safety of an individual or the public.”

ONE BILL WAS VETOED BY GOVERNOR PARSON:

SENATE BILL 189 (Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)
EXCLUSION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION IN COURT DOCUMENTS (This is the same language that is contained in SB 103 that was signed into law by Governor Parson.) Currently, Social Security numbers of parties or children subject to an order of custody or support and credit and financial information of any parties are to be excluded from pleadings, attachments, or exhibits filed with the court in any case, as well as judgments issued by the court. This act provides that beginning August 28, 2023, the following information shall be excluded from pleadings, attachments, exhibits, judgments, orders, or other records of the court, but shall be included in a confidential information sheet filed with the court, which shall not be subject to public inspection or availability:

(1) Social security numbers of any party or children;

(2) Credit card numbers, financial institution account numbers, personal identification numbers, or passwords used to secure an account of any party;

(3) Motor vehicle operator license number;

(4) Victim’s information, including name, address, and other contact information;

(5) Witness’s information, including name, address, and other contact information;

(6) Any other state identification numbers;

(7) The name, address, and date of birth of a minor and, if applicable, any next friend; or

(8) The date of birth of any party, except the year may be made available for any party that is not a minor.

UNLAWFUL POSTING OF CERTAIN INFORMATION
Currently, the unlawful posting of certain information of any law enforcement officer, corrections officer, parole officer, judge, commissioner, or prosecuting attorney, or of any immediate family member of such person, which intends to or threatens to cause great bodily harm or death shall be a class E felony. This act provides that if such unlawful posting of certain information that intends to or threatens to cause great bodily harm or death results in bodily harm or death to such person or immediate family member, the offense shall be a class D felony.

EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
This act modifies provisions relating to the number of crimes a person may apply to have expunged from his or her record. A person may seek to expunge all crimes as part of the same course of criminal conduct or as part of an extended course of criminal conduct, subject to limitations as provided in the act. Under current law, certain offenses, violations, and infractions are not eligible for expungement. This act adds that any offense that at the time of conviction requires registration as a sex offender is not eligible for expungement. This act changes provisions regarding any offense of unlawful use of weapons as not eligible for expungement to any “felony” offense of unlawful use of weapons is not eligible.

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