Missouri officials celebrate Sunshine Week by highlighting transparency efforts

  

With Sunshine Week underway, Missouri officials are raising awareness by emphasizing transparency within the state government and offering citizens education on Sunshine Laws.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced Monday the live streaming of most committee hearings. As part of the effort to help enhance transparency between citizens and officials, hearings are broadcast onto the Missouri House Representatives official website for Missourians to monitor.

Previously, the state House streamed audio recordings of its proceedings; video streaming, including for the House Budget Committee, began in 2017, according to Haahr’s office.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to improve government transparency by giving Missourians a front row seat to observe the legislative process in action,” Haahr said. “People from all over the state have been able to watch debate on the floor with the streaming services we have provided over the last two sessions. As we celebrate Sunshine Week, we are excited to expand these services to include most hearings held by our house committees.”

Haahr noted citizens from all over the state could oversee legislators as they create and put laws in effect with the live stream. 

“Many Missourians are interested in the legislative process but don’t have the time to make the trip to Jefferson City to participate,” Haahr said. “By expanding our streaming services, we can bring the process to them and make sure they are informed about the decisions being made here in the legislature that will impact their lives.”

Additionally, Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the Missouri Sunshine Law book will be updated to benefit transparency. According to Schmitt, the new law book will help educate the public and assist in attaining a better grasp of the state’s Sunshine Laws. Schmitt hopes that this will aid Missourians and the media in holding the state government accountable.

“Transparency is an important pillar of good governance, and the Missouri Sunshine Law is an important resource for the public and members of the media. The Attorney General’s Office provides a number of different resources to better understand the Sunshine Law, including a newly updated Sunshine Law book,” Schmitt said. “An engaged citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy, and we hope that these resources are useful to Missouri citizens and public official alike.”