Missouri House votes to toughen open records law

jefferson city

Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri House has passed a bill that would increase the attorney general’s power to investigate open records violations.

The proposal, approved Tuesday in an 85-59 vote, would give the attorney general’s office subpoena power when investigating state agencies for suspected violations of Missouri’s open records law. Attorney General Josh Hawley has said his inability to subpoena witnesses inhibited his investigation of Gov. Eric Greitens’ office’s use of a message-destroying app earlier this year.

The bill would not, however, increase penalties for violators. A provision for higher penalties was in a more expansive version of the same proposal that passed the House last month but later stalled in the Senate.

This bill now heads to the Senate.

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The bill is HB 743