The Missouri Sunshine Law, found in Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 610, RSMo, states that records of public governmental bodies are open to the public unless otherwise provided by law. The Sunshine Law applies to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and related Commissions and Boards, because these entities are public governmental bodies. All records, whether written or electronically stored, retained by a public body are subject to the Sunshine Law, unless a law specifically authorizes them to be closed. For more information about Missouri's Sunshine Law, please visit the Missouri Attorney General’s Office Sunshine Law webpage.
Fundamentally, the Sunshine Law is about ensuring public access to open meetings, as well as access to or copies of public records. The public has the right to view how public funds are spent and how government organizations operate. The Sunshine Law operates on a presumption that the records are open, and the department adheres to that presumption. The Sunshine Law sets out specific instances when a public meeting, record or vote may be closed, but gray areas do exist. In these instances, determinations about whether records should be closed are made by the department's Custodian of Records, in consultation with the department's General Counsel’s Office and/ or the Attorney General’s Office.