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House Judiciary Committee Moves to Protect Private Information

September 7, 2005
By: Jonathan Levin
State Capital Bureau

Missouri Web sites would be free to publish the home phone numbers and addresses of public officals under a proposal cleared by the state's House judiciary committee tuesday:

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The ban on publishing that information was contained in a law passed by the legislature last spring and signed by the governor.

It makes it a misdemeanor crime to post on Internet the the home address, Social Security number or home telephone number of any elected or appointed offical.

While repealing that ban, the House committee's version would impose a ban on publishing the same information about any person -- but only if there is an intention to cause physical harm.

Opponents to the current law argued a ban on information about public officials was in direct conflict with the public nature of voter registartion and property tax records.

Several counties had filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the legislation. Those counties have their property tax and voter records on the internet.

Legislative staff say the bill should make it before the entire house next week.