House committee ponders public-private phone records
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House committee ponders public-private phone records

Date: February 24, 2010
By: Martin Swant
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 1645

JEFFERSON CITY - Members of a Missouri house committee discussed on Wednesday the possibility of ending a practice in which legislators are reimbursed for cell phone fees.

Currently, lawmakers may submit a request to have their personal phones payed for by taxpayer money, but some committee members wondered if asking the state to pay these fees opens a door that would make private information public.

Members of the House Administration and Accounts Committee debated what records were public under the Sunshine law regarding state-funded technology.

Chief Clerk of the House Adam Crumbliss said only business conducted regarding government work would be accessible to public scrutiny. However, he said to error on the side of caution when communicating personal issues in a state office.

"I would suggest that personally, you're probably safer not to. But, in the process that's not necessarily a sunshine-able record," he said.

Other members of the committee, including chairman Kenny Jones, R-Clarksburg, said it's time for the state to completely end reimbursing phone costs, since financial situations are dire statewide.

"The state is going to have to cut back too," he said. "And who better to show an example than the representatives that work here in the capitol."

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