As lawmakers return to the State Capitol for Wednesday’s veto session of the General Assembly, legislative leaders have taken advantage of legislators being in Jefferson City to hold committee hearings. One such hearing involved the special committee set up in the wake of discovery of a Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report, earlier this year, targeting various groups and individuals as potential terrorists and/or lawbreakers.
Members of the House Interim Committee on State Intelligence Analysis Oversight met Tuesday afternoon to discuss recommendations that might be considered in coming up with a balancing act. They want to be able to keep watch over those who might be breaking the law while not restricting the free expression of views and ideas. There is general agreement that a panel or committee should be set up to review future reports before they become public.
“What they (members of the panel) need to do is look over these reports to make sure that the information is handled with some kind of sensitivity in case it was ever to get out to the public,” said State Representative Curt Dougherty (D-Independence). “I think two people would be sufficient.”
Dougherty believes the people chosen to serve on the oversight panel should be removed from the political stage – they should not be present or former legislators.
While he wants an oversight panel, Representative Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) says naming elected officials will ensure accountability.
“I think it would be more appropriate to have people from those who are currently elected by the people to be part of an oversight committee jointly between the House and Senate because it is an issue that is going to be ongoing that we can at least have some eyes on that to be able to put input back,” said Schoeller. “We are directly elected so I think there is accountability in that process.”
Plans call for analysts to prepare a draft report by October 1st in time for a telephone conference call meeting of this committee. If the draft is approved it would be presented to House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) to be readied for the 2010 legislative session.