A bill passed by the Missouri House could delay open-records requests. The bill pauses open-record requests when public agencies are closed.

The bill aims to ease pressure on agencies during emergency situations, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

It would bypass the three-day response deadline currently in place only if the agency publically notified the public of a closure before the request was made.

The bill was not originally written for this purpose, and instead focused on protecting email lists from open-records requests. The amendment to the bill was made last week.

The amendment also exempquts state lawmakers from responses during the time when their offices are closed, which could mean no response for months as lawmakers take a regularly scheduled break from mid-May through September.