HB 1440, which would require elected officials to undergo training in the Sunshine Law, was given the okay today by the House Special Committee on Government Affairs. The committee, which has Rep. Bill Deeken, R-Jefferson City, as chairman, does not include any area legislators.
The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, and features Sara Lampbe, D-Springfield, as a co-sponsor, will do nothing to address the major problem with the Sunshine Law. While elected officials have claimed ignorance of the law since the first version of it passed, the truth is nearly all of them know its requirements and ignore them when it suits their fancy, simply because the law has no teeth. What other law has been created which lets the violator off the hook if he or she claims ignorance.
Put some teeth in law. Make it possible for elected officials to receive heavy fines, or even jail time, and you would see a new era of open government ushered in for the state of Missouri.