Independence Examiner, Friday 05/30/03

Opportunity missed again

The Examiner editorial

While our legislators in Jefferson City were busy bickering with the governor and cutting state services, they again blew off an issue that badly needs attention. Amazingly, this is something they could have done that wouldn't have cost the state a dime.It's a simple matter of good government. Missouri's so-called Sunshine Law the law that says public officials generally have to do their work in public with specific exceptions is weak to the point of being ineffective. A starting point for reform would be stiffer penalties for violations. This has gone nowhere in General Assembly in recent years.

A bill with modest reforms made it through committee in the Senate but didn't get onto the calendar of the full Senate until the closing days of the session and didn't even get debated.

That's bad enough, but in the House, no legislator not one rose to even sponsor a bill to improve the Sunshine Law.

We have seen ample proof right here in Jackson County of what happens when elected and appointed officials know they can ignore the law and get away with it. The results include secrecy and poor government.

Reform of the Sunshine Law is a no-brainer. It's a matter of good government. Let's hope for a better performance at the Capitol in 2004.

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