MPA Legislative Update from Doug Crews, MPA – April 3, 2015

In Legislative News, Missouri Press News On
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MPA Legislative Update from Doug Crews, MPA

Police body camera and dashboard camera video access
House Bill 762 was approved, 10-0, by the House Select State and Local Governments Committee on April 2, in Jefferson City.

HCS HB 762 includes language to allow police body camera and dash board camera video to be available to the public upon court order, and those persons or entities requesting such records can only be responsible for costs associated with their own attorney fees and not those fee of the public body.

HCS HB 762 is an improvement over the original bill’s version, but the prospect of going to court every time to obtain a police video will present a challenge to the news media and other citizens.

The original bill, filed by Rep. Galen Higdon (R-St. Joseph), would have closed police video to the public.

While the substitute bill is better, Missouri Press Association prefers the version in Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 331. SCS SB 331 would make police video “investigative records.” SCS SB 331 has stalled out in the Senate after receiving some floor debate on March 25.

There are six weeks remaining until the Missouri General Assembly adjourns on May 15.

Bingo advertising
The House Select General Laws Committee approved House Committee Substitute for House Joint Resolution 7 this week. HCS HJR 7 removes current constitutional advertising restrictions and would allow bingo advertisements in traditional media outlets. The resolution, which would go to a vote of the people as a constitutional amendment, is sponsored by Rep. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington). MPA thanks Rep. Engler and Rep. Caleb Jones (R-Columbia), committee chairman, for their support.

The Blue Book
A couple of developments to report this week from Jefferson City relating to the Missouri Official Manual (the Blue Book).

First, $75,000 has been added to the budget of the University of Missouri Press for publishing the 2015-2016 edition of the Blue Book. (The University of Missouri Press is not to be confused with the Missouri Press Association.) The $75,000 line item added by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) is not in the House version of the budget, so maintaining the Blue Book funds in next year’s budget will be decided by a House-Senate Conference Committee. Missouri Press Association supports the $75,000 funding and thanks Senator Schaefer for his assistance.

House Bill 696, sponsored by Rep. Lyndall Fraker (R-Marshfield), emerged from the House Select Education Committee on April 2. This bill changes the laws regarding the publication of the Blue Book. The bill requires the Secretary of State to publish 5,000 copies of the manual. The manuals must be distributed to members of the General Assembly; to state, judicial, and county officers; and to every high school library within the state. Each member of the General Assembly would receive 10 copies of the book and the surplus copies must be distributed throughout the state upon proper request. MPA thanks Rep. Fraker for his support of the Blue Book in print.

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