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Sunshine Law for criminal defense counsel

[The following is an updated version of written materials I provided to the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for a CLE presentation on March 24, 2018.] “All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and are instituted for their equal protection and benefit.”[1]  Introduction When […]

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Confusion Reigns: Student fees and secret deliberations at WSU

Last Friday, a branch of the Wichita State University (WSU) Student Government Association (SGA), the Student Fees Committee, “closed the door to its meeting room in the Rhatigan Student Center Friday afternoon to deliberate about how to allocate between $9.53 and $9.82 million in student fees — claiming SGA is not a state agency, student fees are […]

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Proponent Testimony, SB 360, Senate Judicial Committee

February 13, 2018 Re: Proponent Testimony, SB 360, Senate Judicial Committee, Rick Wilborn, Chairman Chairman Wilborn and members of the Senate Judicial Committee: I respectfully submit this statement in support of SB 360[1] in my capacity as legal hotline attorney for the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, and the Kansas Sunshine Coalition […]

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Proponent Testimony, HB 2571, House Judicial Committee

February 13, 2018 Re: Proponent Testimony, HB 2571, House Judicial Committee, Blaine Finch, Chairman Chairman Finch and members of the House Judicial Committee: I respectfully submit this statement in support of HB 2571[1] in my capacity as legal hotline attorney for the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, and the Kansas Sunshine Coalition […]

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Attorney General brings needed clarity to open meetings law

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office recently issued two official opinions (AGOs) that go a long way toward clarifying a provision of state law that allows many state, county, and municipal agencies to discuss public business in closed, or executive, sessions. The Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) generally requires government bodies to meet openly so that […]

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Officer-involved shootings and “Body Cams”

As the use of body-worn cameras grows, so do the odds that images and sounds depicting the use of force by law enforcement will be a matter of public concern.  Law enforcement’s disparate responses to two high-profile officer-involved shootings, one in Topeka involving an armed and fleeing suspect, and the other in Wichita involving a deadly prank, highlight why […]

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Fresh Tips: Sample Request for Records

Note: The primary purpose of this request form is to easily enable requestors to include in their requests all statutory language in the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) related to public agencies’ duties to disclose public records. Although a KORA request is not required to be in any particular form, including the language here in your request […]

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High Burden of Proof, Few Remedies: open meetings and the law

The Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) requires that public officials be transparent by making their meetings accessible to citizens.  However, officials who fail to comply with KOMA may be penalized only if they knowingly violated the law.  To avoid being found in violation, all they need to do is establish that they didn’t know what […]

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Open Records Act brings Sunshine

Advocates of open government have good reason to celebrate this Sunshine Week, a national celebration of government transparency, which runs from Sunday, March 12, through Saturday, March 18.  In Kansas, the week also represents an annual commemoration of the Kansas Sunshine Laws, which primarily include the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) and the Kansas Open […]

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