Attorney General Chris Koster received a polite applause before he spoke to a group of reporters and editors gathered by the Missouri Press Association. He quipped that the clapping might have been for his position on the journalist shield law, which he vehemently opposed for years.
"People know my position on the Shield Law, so the best news for this room is that I'm not in the Senate anymore," said Koster, who served as a lawmaker from Harrisonville for four years. "God, I hate that law."
When he was a legislator, Koster argued that the bond between journalist and a source was not a relationship judged to be more important than the court’s pursuit of the truth. The threat of a filibuster by Koster and Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, ensured the bill's perpetual doom.
Koster noted that his departure from the Senate made the bill's passage more likely. When he asked if anybody was carrying the bill this year, MPA executive director Doug Crews said "no."
"The first year that Bartle and I don't gang up on everybody and you don't have it down on the floor?" Koster said.
"We're taking a year off," Crews said, to some laughter.
Koster spent most of his speech talking about his transition into the attorney general's office. The first-term statewide official has had to deal with the exodus of many longtime staffers to Gov. Jay Nixon's administration. Koster has spent the past few months filling numerous positions, including plucking two sitting judges off the Western District Court of Appeals to work in his administration.