This week, which is National Sunshine Week, Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced plans to begin live videostreaming of most committee hearings in the House.
Haahr, R-Springfield, noted most Missourians can’t afford the time to drive to Jefferson City to participate in the legislative process, or even watch it. He said in a statement: “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. 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.”
We welcome the decision. We call on the Missouri Senate to follow suit.
Haahr, who before the start of the 2019 legislative session directed House staff to set up the videostreaming, deserves support.
And while we’re on the subject of transparency ...
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week reported that state legislation affecting the way colleges and universities handle sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints is being pushed by more dark money.
Dark money groups sprout like weeds, and the latest weed is called the Missouri Campus Due Process Coalition, which is behind legislative proposals that would change due process proceedings for Title IX complaints at institutions of higher education. Critics say the legislation would actually discourage sexual assault and rape victims from coming forward and reporting the attacks.
Now the Missouri Campus Due Process Coalition is funded by Kingdom Principles, which incorporated in the state last August. Because Kingdom Principles is a nonprofit corporation, under federal law it does not have to reveal its donors.
Whatever you think of the legislation, you have a right to know who is driving it.
Recall that it was millions in dark money and a weed called A New Missouri that could accept and keep hidden unlimited amounts of money that brought Eric Greitens to the state Capitol, and we still have no idea who was behind his disastrous term as governor.
We urge all lawmakers — federal and state — to use Sunshine Week as an opportunity to shine some light on political donations and campaign contributions.