Hotline Attorney Archives

Contact MPA Hotline Attorney Dan Curry by email at or by phone at (816) 756-5458 with your questions or for help on legal matters. Consultation is free to active members, and Dan is eager to help.

Dan’s Column Archive

June 2024 – School contracts aren’t elementary
May 2024 – Issue of legislators redacting constituent information could go before Missouri Supreme Court / Judge Alok Ahuja Dissenting Opinion

Jean’s Column Archive

June 2024 – Thanks for the memories
May 2024 – When a public figure doesn’t want publicityExamples of court document redactions/More examples of court document redactions
April 2024 – The meeting’s agenda is ‘tentative’, its minutes are not
March 2024 – Fixing the tools to fight misinformation
February 2024 – Protection of the P.R.E.S.S.
January 2024 – Who is your business’ registered agent?

December 2023 – The permanency of paper public records
November 2023 – Where do you draw the line on speech?
October 2023 – Open, and increasingly shut, records
September 2023 – Prepare yourself for when law enforcement comes knocking
August 2023 – Use this off-year to refamiliarize yourself with ethics of advertising
July 2023 – The opening up of could introduce new frustrations
June 2023 – U.S. Supreme Court decisions boost ‘Section 230’ foundation for online publishers
May 2023 – Encourage local government attorneys to get Sunshine educated
April 2023 – Casenet accessibility brings questions about case closures
March 2023 – Marijuana advertising brings news risks, rewards
February 2023 – Different ways the public can review the people’s business
January 2023 – Your voice is needed to oppose efforts to dim Sunshine

December 2022 – Sunshine Law for thee, not for me
November 2022 – The fight for public notices is never-ending
October 2022 – Voting and the media: Elements of a healthy democracy
September 2022 – What about the data police cameras collect
August 2022 – is going to get a lot more accessible
July 2022 – Publishing public records and the right to privacy
June 2022 – Don’t be resigned to public bodies accepting resignations in closed session
May 2022 – Proposed law would ‘SLAPP’ libel plaintiffs
April 2022 – The politics (and legal expectations) of political advertising
March 2022 – Every publisher contributes to the foundation of press freedom
February 2022 – Sunshine Law changes could alter how history’s first draft is written
January 2022 – Coroner’s inquests, online decency and Twitter: Key issues from 2021

December 2021 – Take time in 2022 to build up relationships with your courts

November 2021 – When it comes to marijuana ads, media has protections

October 2021 – Make sure your documents are recorded by the book

September 2021 – Show-Me the beef and how it’s processed

August 2021 – The taxman’s notices cometh

July 2021 – The ongoing case for remote access to

June 2021 – On the public funding of ‘government speech’

May 2021 – When the historical record and takedown requests collide

April 2021 – Determining the privacy of a public figure’s tweets

March 2021 – Unpublishing requests gaining new legs around the country

February 2021 – Technology’s role in governing continues to raise questions about transparency

January 2021 – Your readers should know they also benefit from Section 230

December 2020 – Missouri Supreme Court case could clarify Sunshine Law ‘research’ costs

November 2020 – Explain to your readers why due diligence matters

October 2020 – Use election season to remind politicians of your priorities

September 2020 – Appeal to the ‘need to know’ when requesting COVID info

August 2020 – Paper or digital: An important Sunshine distinction

July 2020 – Coronavirus’ effects on courts linger, even with return to ‘normal’

June 2020 – A potpourri about data access

May 2020 – A new meaning for cameras in the courtroom

April 2020 – ‘Public’ meetings may be going electronic, but you still have access

March 2020 – Know how proposed legislation will affect your work

February 2020 – You have power to file Sunshine Law complaints

January 2020 – Expect new challenges for MPA in 2020

December 2019 – Juvenile records still limited under Sunshine Law

November 2019 – Work together to identify, fix problems

October 2019 – Getting into the weeds of marijuana advertising

September 2019 – Sunshine needs changed for digital shade

August 2019 – Advertising firearm sales is allowed, but publish what you are comfortable

July 2019 – Do your research before covering courts

June 2019 – Without a proper shield law, Missouri journalists need to protect themselves

May 2019 – Splintered Sunshine is not good for Missouri

April 2019 – Missourians support ethics regulations in politics but will the courts?

March 2019 – Good communities need informed citizens

February 2019 – Changes to the Sunshine Law could cripple reporters

January 2019 – Making the public’s information less public

December 2018 – Think the best, but prepare your office for the worst

November 2018 – Legal notices get your readers talking (with you and each other)

October 2018 – The more things change, the more they stay the same

September 2018 – The permanency of a newspaper’s electronic archives

August 2018 – How well does your insurance protect you?

July 2018 – Public officials can still too easily avoid the Sunshine

June 2018 – More changes for court camera rules

May 2018 – State courts need to reconsider public’s access to documents

April 2018 – Changes coming for cameras in courts

March 2018 – Closed coroner’s reports only make people think the worst

February 2018 – Bill could offer needed Sunshine Law changes

January 2018 – The curious case of the disappearing texts

December 2017 – Expect takedown requests in 2018

November 2017 – Sunshine should clarify use of private email

Octoober 2017 – In matters of public record law

September 2017 – Protect yourself when reporting on leaks

August 2017 – Delivery charges not subject to sales, use tax

July 2017 – Sunshine Law still applies as tech changes

June 2017 – Protecting the public’s right to know

May 2017 – Government transparency, even in death

April 2017 – Potential changes in store for liquor advertising laws

March 2017 – The legal costs for Sunshine requests

February 2017 – New year brings important digital housekeeping tasks

January 2017 – Knowing the teeth of the Sunshine Law

December 2016 – Why do public bodies violate the Sunshine Law?

November 2016 – The fine line between rights and privacy

October 2016 – The Sun shines on all in Missouri, but not always equally

September 2016 – Political reminder: Properly publish ‘paid for’ postscripts

August 2016 – Knowing the Sunshine Law and recording public meetings

July 2016 – Missouri Press’ grab bag of legal issues

June 2016 – Bodycam law will allow eventual public access to videos

May 2016 – Lawsuit against blog could affect newspaper websites

April 2016 – House Bill 1993 would add to Missouri’s Sunshine Law

March 2016 – Police body cam footage has place as a public record

February 2016 – Sunshine Law key to keeping government accountable

January 2016 – Sunshine case improves rights of records

December 2015 – Workers’ comp won’t cover contract carriers

November 2015 – Witness for the prosecution?

October 2015 – Partnership for Sunshine: ‘What Works City’

September 2015 – Consider economic realities, delivery speed

August 2015 – A refresher course in law and ethics

July 2015 – To redact or not to redact …

June 2015 – Police video access is a ‘win-win’

May 2015 – Sunshine means partly cloudy to some

April 2015 – A ‘Sunshine Hero’ is remembered

March 2015 – What’s in your wallet should not limit access to records

February 2015 – Making a difference at the state capitol

January 2015 – Tap county records for new subscribers

December 2014 – Same-sex announcements: not ‘if’ but ‘when’

November 2014 – Courtroom media access needs revision

October 2014 – Court issues public hearing decision

September 2014 – First Amendment fallout in Ferguson

August 2014 – Whats ‘fair’ in ‘fair use?

July 2014 – Privacy: a balancing act

June 2014 – Is government transparency on Death Row

May 2014- Can a judge remove case records before a trial

April 2014 – How does copyright law affect content on Facebook.pdf

March 2014- You can set requirments for advertising in your paper

February 2014 – Time to talk with legislators about rules on using drones

January 2014 – Court rules closed records might also be open records

December 2013 – Court recognizes role of notices in newspapers

November 2013 – Treat public notices (legals) with respect they deserve

October 2013 – Thanks for helping fight override of SB 436 veto

September 2013 – Decide now how to react if HB 436 veto overridden

August 2013 – Government intrusion points to need for shield

July 2013 – Bill on governor’s desk patently unconstitutional

June 2013 – How much privacy can we expect in age of Internet?

May 2013 – Missouri Lawyers Media wins open hearing ruling

April 2013 –Ask Legislators for support of Sunshine Law changes

March 2013- Sweepstakes OK if you remove 1 of 3 elements

February 2013 –‘Legal notice’ has no definition in statutes

January 2013- ‘Critical incident’ response guidelines may be closed

December 2012 – Required office posters available free online

November 2012 – Ads your papers creates are copyrighted, too!

October 2012 – “Missouri Plan” works

September 2012 – Statutes govern notices of election in counties

August 2012 –Post-Dispatch gets pay record from city office

July 2012 –Getting permission will keep you out of trouble

June 2012 –Get lawyers to pay for legal notices they place

May 2012 –Ad reps play “stamp the lawyer” at their meetings

April 2012 – Audits reveal wholesale flouting of sunshine law

March 2012 – Development authorities should do business openly

February 2012 – Investigators need licenses; are journalists investigators?

January 2012 – Remember ‘Superbowl’ is registered trademark

December 2011 – Can privacy withstand assault of technology?

November 2011 – Court rule, rulins differ on openness of warrants

October 2011 – Closed meeting notice needs specific reason

September 2011 –Housing ad guidelines will be in the next bulletin

August 2011 –Reporters’ tweets give instant narrative of trial

July 2011 – Check your political ad attribution policy now!

June 2011 – Just to read a record shouldn’t cost money

May 2011 – Should state decide who are journalists?

April 2011 –Protect yourself from copyright allegations

March 2011 –Audit reports may get law enforcement help

February 2011 –Blogs, Facebook pages have potential for libel

January 2011 – Closing public meeting requires specific reason

December 2010 – You need not expunge archived crime reports

November 2010 – Closed meeting notice needs specific reason

October 2010 – Courts rule on website, open meeting lawsuits

September 2010 – You are protected from defamatory web posts

August 2010 – Electronic public records caught in technical limbo

July 2010 – State courts working on electronic access system

June 2010 – Audit shows frequent Sunshine Law violations

May 2010 – files should offer all information

April 2010 – Streaming video from Missouri’s high court

March 2010 – Kansas case shows need for Shield Law

February 2010 – Divorce files closed until final dissolution

January 2010 – Let your voice be heard on how money is spent

December 2009 –

November 2009 – Be ever vigilant about ads in your newspaper

October 2009 – Court decision could delay records request

September 2009 – Learn phrase ‘This is a Sunshine Law request.’

August 2009 – Attorney General sues district over openness

July 2009 – Editors reports local police restrict access to records

June 2009 – Rep. Jones’ Sunshine Bill efforts much appreciated

May 2009 – Sunshine Bill still alive, legislator records exempt

April 2009 – Sunshine Law bill need your calls to legislators

March 2009 – Koster plans extensive Sunshine Law training

February 2009 – Work rules changes you need to know

January 2009 – Record retention rules should be part of law

December 2008 – Internet is a great tool, but it raises questions

November 2008 – Judges don’t like defendant secrecy

October 2008 – Attribution required on all campaign ads

September 2008 – You’ll have to answer questions about ethics

August 2008 – We have allies in fight for open government

July 2008 – Election season brings advertising questions

June 2008 – Politics trump need in Missouri Legislature

May 2008 – Sunshine Law is not unduly burdensome

April 2008 – What Newspapers print can still result in change

March 2008 – Many bills filed relate to open records, meetings

February 2008 – Dear new UM president: Please keep system open

January 2008 – Google, states working to ease records search

December 2007 – Sunshine Law gets an ‘F’ in ranking of all states

November 2007 – Exciting to see Federal Shield Law progressing

October 2007 – Sunshine Law getting more action than ever

September 2007 – Can City fire employee who said it broke law?

August 2007 – Newspaper writers can hurt our openness effort

July 2007- Federal Law may extend shield to some bloggers

June 2007- Advertising Q&A

May 2007- Housing act violations can be very expensive

April 2007- News stories about bingo, raffles are OK

March 2007- Probes of law officers must be open records

February 2007- Shield Law bill again filed in state Senate

January 2007- Proposed shield law not absolute privilege

December 2006- What level of cost ends access to public records?

November 2006- Government openness lost champion in August

October 2006- Know Political Disclaimer rules

September 2006- Directed verdict in libel suit

August 2006- Law officers in control at emergency scene

July 2006 – Candidates in same group get equal ad rates

June 2006- Court opinions offers some interesting ideas

May 2006- Ohio HIPAA ruling may help emergency news

April 2006- Shield Law bill hits wall

March 2006- AG wrong about county committees

February 2006- Beware of selling reprints of news pictures

January 2006 – Political committees subject to Sunshine Law

December 2005- Supreme Court could get two “openness” cases

November 2005 – Tips to avoid being sued to libel

October 2005- Check work comp rules to see if you are covered

September 2005- Get required work posters free from government

August 2005- Reporters need secret source privilege

July 2005- Shield Law discussion is national

June 2005- Reporter privilege rights still changing

May 2005- Blogging, Newsmasters, and New Journalism

April 2005- Juvenile court rules change

February 2005- Sunshine defines public body

January 2005- Housing Ad Questions

December 2004- Time to retrain your Notary

November 2004- Update your Archives

October 2004- E-Mail and The Sunshine Law

September 2004- Access must be given to online meetings

August 2004- Overtime rules in the newsroom

July 2004 – Two-tiered penalties in Sunshine Law

June 2004- Access to records had a bad month

May 2004- Paper may need broker’s license

April 2004- Papers need to sue to make sun shine

March 2004- Recent rulings keep courts open

February 2004- Four opinions in 2003 provide guidance

January 2004- Publications reveal attitude on openness

December 2003- Officials leery of on-line records

November 2003- ‘Fair use’ rule applies to ‘news’ photographs

October 2003- Keep 2 basics in mind with ‘Do Not Call’ law

September 2003- Board members clash over secrecy of records

August 2003- Group using Internet to skirt Sunshine Law

July 2003- Understanding a paper’s legal status

June 2003- Reviewing basics of Sunshine Law

May 2003- Libel plaintiff must show actual damage

April 2003- Juvenile court secrecy getting high attention

March 2003- Custodian of records needs to get request

February 2003- Put copyright notice in all ads you create

January 2003- Ethics Commission decisions available

April 2002 – Subtle lessons from Sept. 11

October 2001 – Our Freedom may be a casualty

Enforcing the Sunshine Law
Recent exceptions to the Sunshine Law

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