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Sunshine Law Violators Face Tougher Penalities

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Gov. Bob Holden (file photo)

By AP/KWMU

Columbia, Mo. – Stiffer penalties are now on the books for violations of Missouri's open meetings law.

Governor Holden signed the changes at a ceremony Monday in the shadow of the University of Missouri school of journalism.

He says the changes should do more to give citizens access to government.

Before Monday, the Sunshine Law capped possible fines for "purposeful" violations at $500.

The new law makes a purposeful violation punishable with a fine of up to $5,000, and it creates a new category -- the "knowing" violation, with a fine of up to $1,000.

The new law also caps at ten cents per page the amount public agencies can charge for copies. But it allows the agencies to charge for staff research time, if needed.

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