Attorney General Bailey settles Sunshine Law lawsuit in Maries County

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has announced that his office settled a case against the City of Belle for failure to abide by the Sunshine Law. The alleged violations pertained to public meetings, including failures to provide adequate notices and tentative agendas, discussing items of public business not on meeting agendas, inadequately keeping meeting minutes, and improperly discussing business in at least one closed session that should have been open to the public.


“As Attorney General, I take seriously my obligation to enforce the laws as written, including Missouri’s public meetings laws,” said Attorney General Bailey. “I am glad that the City agreed to the settlement terms and compliance plan, which will put the City back on the path towards Sunshine Law compliance, in a way that takes accountability for missteps while conserving taxpayer dollars.”


As part of the agreement, the City of Belle admits that the Sunshine Law was violated as to each of the five counts alleged in the case. The City agrees to pay a fee, which the State of Missouri will transmit to Maries County Public Schools, and also agrees to abide by a compliance plan.


Chapter 610 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri is the foundation of what has become known as Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The Attorney General’s Office reviews complaints for violations of the Sunshine Law committed by local public governmental bodies, regularly conducts public trainings across the State of Missouri, and publishes resources and sample forms on its website.


In 2023, Attorney General Bailey set an office record for Sunshine Law trainings conducted in one year, as well as closed a record number of Sunshine Law complaints in one year.


The settlement can be read here: