The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 28, 2012

Other Views: Seeking openness

— As the curtain is about to fall on another year, and we are about to enter 2013, it seems almost hopeless to look forward to openness in government at every level, from the rooms of small taxing districts to the chambers of the Missouri Capitol.

Violations continue and there is little or no enforcement of sunshine laws, and when there is a conviction the penalties don’t even amount to a slap on the wrist.

It would be unfair to spread a blanket indictment over all public, tax-supported bodies, and on all their members and their attorneys. We have a few bodies with members who abide by the law.

But it is evident in viewing some public bodies that matters have been discussed outside the open meetings. The vote is decided by members meeting in secret, or through telephone calls, and they just go through the motions in an open meeting. It is clear that the votes have been lined up before the open meeting.

We submit that the most violated law on the books in Missouri is the Sunshine Law. Too many attorneys do not know much about the Sunshine Law, or if they do, rarely do they advise the public bodies they represent that an item must be discussed and action taken in an open meeting. Personnel, real estate and legal matters may be discussed in a closed meeting.

When Gov. Jay Nixon was attorney general, he and his staff held meetings across the state with newly elected officials to advise them of the Sunshine Law. Attorneys and all public officials also were invited to attend those meetings. That practice should be continued.

It is so obvious that when some votes are taken, that the issue actually was decided before the open meeting. When that happens, it’s not in the public interest. It’s not good government.

The Washington Missourian

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

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  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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