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The Latest: Missouri governor stands by open-records policy

May 7, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s handling of open-record requests (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s spokesman says his office will continue to shield certain contact information from public-record requests.

Spokesman Steele Shippy on Tuesday defended the practice following complaints from Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway.

At issue is the Republican governor’s response to public record requests made by The Kansas City Star and others. Parson’s office has cited the First Amendment in redacting phone numbers, addresses and emails of private citizens who contacted the governor.

The newspaper reports that Galloway requested that the state attorney general weigh in on whether Parson broke the law by making those redactions.

Parson’s office has argued that it’s an issue of free speech and that constituents wouldn’t contact elected officials if they believed that information might become public.

Shippy called Galloway’s criticism a “lame partisan political attempt.”

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1:25 p.m.

Missouri’s Democratic auditor is asking the state’s attorney general to weigh in on whether Gov. Mike Parson broke the law by redacting records.

The Kansas City Star on Tuesday reported that Galloway said government “should not be in the business of finding ways to hide information from taxpayers.”

The newspaper has made multiple public record requests to the Republican governor in recent months. But Parson’s office has cited the First Amendment in redacting phone numbers, addresses and emails of private citizens who contacted the governor.

A Parson spokesman has argued that it’s an issue of free speech and that constituents wouldn’t contact elected officials if they believed that information might become public.

Parson’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from the newspaper or The Associated Press on Tuesday.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com