Your newspaper published a letter which detailed my frustration obtaining open public information from Joshua Hawley’s administration as Attorney General. As depicted in that letter, Hawley and his staff, in particular Daniel Hartman, refused to comply with my Missouri Sunshine Law request concerning fees paid by the Attorney General to “professional” witnesses, stating that the requested records were “closed” and therefore would not be provided. Hawley’s staff repeatedly refused to abide by a statute Hawley was sworn to uphold.
Hawley moved on to Washington and, hopefully, took Daniel Hartman with him. Truth be told, although I actively supported Senator Claire McCaskill for reelection, I shall not shed a tear because Hawley is no longer our Attorney General. In Washington, he is one of one hundred. His power as Attorney General caused many of us sleepless nights.
Enter our new Attorney General Eric Schmitt, of whom I actually know very little. But, considering that this is the Show-Me State, so far Eric has shown me quite a lot, and it’s all good.
Upon taking office, Eric Schmitt’s staff complied with the Missouri Sunshine Law he was also sworn to uphold. I received the records requested attached to a letter dated January 2, 2019. Too bad Hawley’s staff was of the opinion that they were above the law. Reminds me of someone else there in Washington.
Additionally, Eric Schmitt has joined the fight against “Debtors Prisons,” the practice that counties like Crawford and Dent use, wherein people are charged for being in jail and sent back to jail if they cannot affort to pay for being in jail and when released are charged for being in jail and then are sent back. Attorney Geneal Eric Schmitt submitted an amicus brief (“friend of the court” legal document, which stated an opinion of the submitter) stating that forcing poor people to pay for jail is illegal and must end because it is not authorized by any law.
Attorney General Schmitt accused cities and counties like Crawford County and Dent County of using poor people as
ATMs, shaking them down for cash. As a back story, Schmitt in 2015, then a state senator, sponsored a bill to prohibit similar practices in municipal courts. His bill, at that time, stopped the ongoing practice of threatening jail time to those who fell behind on their bills.
The “Jail Bill-Debtor Prison” issue led to many of our judges in the 42nd Circuit receiving their “walking papers” from voters in November. Incoming Judges include Honorable Nathan Kelsaw, Honorable Patrick Horsefield and Honorable Megan Seay. Judge Kelsaw, it is noted, replaces Brandi Baird, the subject of numerous newspaper articles on Debtor Prisons and the same judge who upheld Judge Bernstein’s ruling that I had to pay $1,000 to exercise my constitutional right to submit evidence at trial.
So far, our new Attorney General Eric Schmitt has shown he is a man of substance. This behavior will hopefully continue and include removing Missouri from the federal lawsuit trying to eliminate the Affordable Care Act before a replacement act is in force. If you don’t think that having no healthcare bill providing coverage for preexisting conditions is better than having the current Affordable Care Act bill, then you don’t know Schmitt!
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