Missouri Legislature scales back public access to records

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Gov. Jay Nixon is considering whether to sign a series of bills that would scale back Missouri’s open public records law.

The Legislature approved limiting access to police body camera footage, agricultural data and some criminal records. Lawmakers also considered sealing police records on sexual assault and suicides and the identity of lottery winners.

Supporters say closing the records will protect the privacy of individuals and businesses. They say establishing guidelines for body cameras will make it more likely police departments will use them, and keeping farmers’ information private will encourage them to participate in programs that track livestock disease.

But transparency advocates say chipping away at Missouri’s open records law will reduce public accountability.