JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – This week, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that his office has obtained a consent judgment finding the City of Wood Heights violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
In April 2018, Wood Heights held a closed-session vote to disband its police department without giving public notice, as required by the Sunshine Law. Following that action, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit in Ray County Circuit Court against the City of Wood Heights, alleging violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
“Missourians deserve openness and transparency in all levels of government. It is my job to enforce the Sunshine Law – when we see instances where it is violated, we will use the power of our office to enforce it. Because of our action, the citizens of Wood Heights will now have the opportunity to engage with their elected officials and make their voices heard,” said Schmitt. “I applaud the Court’s decision to find Wood Heights’ vote to disband its police department void.”
In addition to the Court declaring the vote to disband the police department void, the Court ordered the City of Wood Heights to hold an open public meeting in compliance with the Sunshine Law and vote in open session on the question of whether to disband or reinstate its police department. The City is also required to undergo Sunshine Law training and record its meetings. The Attorney General’s Office will monitor the City’s compliance for two years.
During his time as Attorney General, Schmitt has developed and released an updated Sunshine Law booklet and launched a portal to allow citizens and members of the media to track data relating to Sunshine Law requests.
Additional information and resources relating to the Sunshine Law, including information on how to file a complaint, can be found at sunshine.ago.mo.gov.