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Security measures sent to Nixon

Security measures sent to Nixon

May 18th, 2013 in News

Missouri House of Representatives Director of Operations Brad Werner assesses the paper-strewn floor as he exits the House Chamber following the adjournment of the final day of the legislative session.

Photo by Kris Wilson

With just 2 1/2 hours to spare before the Legislature's 6 p.m. deadline Friday afternoon, the state Senate cast the final votes needed to send Gov. Jay Nixon a bill re-imposing closed-records status for security and emergency response plans for schools and other public buildings.

"This was something that we had in state law, but it expired in December 2012," Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, reminded colleagues as he asked them to vote for the House version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California.

"It's very, very important that we get this law back, so that we can protect the security plans of our various public entities."

The bill originally covered only the public building safety plans.

But lawmakers expanded it to include making sure that flight logs on state-owned aircraft are public records, as are the recordings made from cameras in the Capitol's second-floor hallway outside the Governor's Office.

But the pictures taken by the security cameras inside the office are to be closed records, Kehoe said.

"I'm sure this governor and, possibly, future governors," Kehoe said, "would not want those cameras available" to the public.

The law has an emergency clause so it can go into effect as soon as Nixon signs it.

Cole County Sheriff Greg White was among the officials testifying to House and Senate committees earlier this year about the need for the new law.

There is no new sunset clause, so the new law would close the records on a permanent basis.

The new law gained extra emphasis after last December's shootings in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six teachers.

Officials said the security and evacuation plans should remain closed records so someone could not use them to plan an assault on a public building.

Read additional news stories about legislative action