State audit finds only 30 percent compliance with transparency laws

309 local government entities randomly tested

State audit finds lack of government...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri State Auditor's office has discovered poor compliance with the state's sunshine law, Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Tuesday.

"My office regularly receives complaints related to access of public information, which is exactly what the sunshine law is designed to address," Galloway said. "For this report, we sent public records requests to hundreds of local governments across the state. The results were extremely disappointing and demonstrate that we have a long way to go in improving transparency and citizen access to information in Missouri government."

The 56-page report showed that only 30 percent of local governments fully complied with transparency laws.

Galloway's staff sent open records requests to 309 government entities chosen at random without identifying themselves as auditors.

The report shows that of those who received requests, 37 percent failed to acknowledge or respond to it within the required 3-day period required by law.

Four local governments refused to respond unless the requester provided additional information, such as the intended use of the information, an action that violates state law.

Because the state auditor's office is not a prosecutorial agency, Galloway said it is up to the Missouri attorney general to decide if legal action will be taken against the local government entities that failed to comply with the sunshine law.

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