Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that his office filed a lawsuit today in Ray County Circuit Court against the City of Wood Heights, alleging violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
The lawsuit alleges that the City of Wood Heights held a closed-session vote to disband its police department in April 2018 without giving public notice, as is required by the Sunshine Law. Citizens of Wood Heights were not informed of this important decision until after it happened, thus depriving the citizens of the opportunity to have their voices heard on matters of public safety.
“Transparency is paramount to healthy democracy, and the Sunshine Law serves as a tool to the citizens of Missouri to ensure that transparency,” said AG Schmitt. “When public entities or individuals are violating the Sunshine Law and obscuring their decisions to the public, we will take action.”
The lawsuit asks the Court to find that the City violated the Sunshine Law, void the vote to disband the police department, and award monetary penalties if the violation was knowing or purposeful.
Since entering office in January, Attorney General Schmitt has worked to make the Sunshine Law easier to understand and more accessible to Missouri citizens and members of the media. During Sunshine Law Week, Schmitt announced a revamped Sunshine Law booklet, with a helpful “Top 10 Things to Know” at the beginning. Schmitt also launched a portal to allow citizens and members of the media to track data relating to Sunshine Law requests.
Sunshine Law resources and information on how to file a complaint can be found online.