Author Archive | maxwell

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Kansas Open Records Act brings Sunshine to Kansas

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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Agency seeks closure of law enforcement evaluation records

[NOTE: The following is legislative testimony I submitted for a March 15 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the attempt by the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (KS CPOST) to close certain records related to Kansas law enforcement officers.] March 15, 2017 To: Sen. Rick Wilborn, chairman of the Senate Judiciary […]

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statehouse hearing room

House bill seeking closure of “public comment sessions” before prisoner review board may be unconstitutional

A bill proposed this session, HB 2338, would amend K.S.A. 22-2717(h) so that “public comment sessions” before the Prisoner Review Board would become “private comment sessions” no longer open to the public.  Further, HB 2338 seeks to amend K.S.A. 75-4318(g)(2) of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) so that the “comment sessions” are not open […]

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New Oklahoma vital statistics law highlights restricted access in Kansas

To the chagrin of genealogists and researchers, Kansas joins the federal government in severely limiting access to birth and death information. Except for instances where determining the parentage of a child is relevant to a limited class of legal proceedings, Kansas law, specifically K.S.A. 65-2422d(c), does not “permit inspection” of birth and death records unless […]

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Media coverage on election day in Kansas

Members of media organizations and citizen journalists alike should be cognizant of their rights and legal limitations as they cover election day in Kansas. Those seeking to cover a polling place are considered to be “visitors” as set forth in Chapter II(f) of the Kansas Secretary of State Election Standards.  All visitors are encouraged to […]

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meeting room

Reasons for executive sessions under KOMA need clarity

An improvement is needed in the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) where it permits an executive body, such as a city commission, school board, or county commission, to “recess…open meetings for closed or executive meetings” under K.S.A. 75-4319(a). The closed meetings are commonly known as “executive session.” Under current law, the body can go into […]

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Attorney General’s Office “holds open” KOMA complaint; takes almost four years to respond

This spring, the Manhattan Free Press finally received a response from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to an open meetings complaint it filed in 2012 against county officials.  Although the response finds the officials in violation of law, the AGO declined to penalize them.  Moreover, the response implies that the complainant is somehow responsible for the delay and lack […]

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