JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The state Senate has approved exempting some types of farm data from Missouri’s open-records laws.
Senators voted 25-6 Tuesday on a bill requiring state agencies to keep confidential the information collected for voluntary agricultural programs, including registration data for animal disease tracking programs. Anyone who improperly releases that information could be sued under the measure.
Officials could still release information to show whether a disease outbreak has affected specific animals, while statistical data that doesn’t identify individuals also could be released. The House passed a broader set of disclosure exemptions earlier this year. Supporters said the legislation would protect farmers’ privacy and make participating in voluntary programs more appealing.
Critics said eroding the state’s sunshine laws sets a bad precedent and would lead to less transparency around government programs.