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KMOV loses Sunshine suit against Metro.

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A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that the Metro transit agency is not subject to the Missouri Open Meetings and Records Act, commonly known as the Sunshine Law.

Television station KMOV-TV (Channel 4) filed a lawsuit against Metro, whose formal name is the BiState Development Agency, after the transit agency refused to provide unredacted records of complaints regarding Metro employees.

Metro supplied complaint summaries but wanted $1,950 to provide redacted records concerning the complaints. KMOV reporter Steve Chamraz had asked for copies of complaints covering three years.

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson, in her ruling, noted that Metro was formed by an interstate compact between Missouri and Illinois that was ratified by Congress in 1949, and the compact does not allow for the laws of one state to apply without the concurrence of the other state.

The judge noted that the state of Illinois does have its own Sunshine Law. However, it is not the same as the Missouri law and Jackson said in her ruling it would make little difference how complementary the two Sunshine Laws might be. The concurrence of the two states would still be needed. Metro has long claimed it was not subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law but would still follow the requirements of the law.

Metro is seeking a half-cent sales tax increase on the November 4 ballot in St. Louis County. It would provide $80 million more to Metro from county taxpayers, a 100% increase.

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Title Annotation:off the record; BiState Development Agency
Author:Sullivan, Tom
Publication:St. Louis Journalism Review
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 1, 2008
Words:248
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