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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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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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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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Out-of-state health care giant gains advantage over smaller, local providers in Independence, Kansas, with help from Kansas officials

A version of this story was originally published in the July 21, 2016 print edition of The Montgomery County Chronicle under the headline “One year later: External pressures, local decisions have joined together to influence Independence’s medical scene” that includes additional information, including a forward and chronology by Chronicle editor Andy Taylor. When Mercy Hospital […]

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New FLSA overtime eligibility rules to go into effect later this year

News organizations’ fears about the Department of Labor’s new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, which were proposed last year, will apparently be realized. In February of this year, the Department of Labor (DoL) announced that the new rule will be published in July, perhaps even earlier, and be effective 60 days after publication. The […]

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Kansas Supreme Court amends Rule 106; marriage information now limited

Despite opposition from journalists, genealogists, and others, the Kansas Supreme Court has amended Supreme Court Rule 106 so that marriage information that had been publicly available for decades is no longer accessible.  Instead, courts are to prepare a “limited marriage record.”  The rule went into effect on October 1, 2015, and can be found here. […]

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AG’s amendments to KORA effective as of today

As discussed in this space here and here, the Attorney General introduced a bill this legislative session that would amend Kansas open records laws to broaden the scope of their enforcement in the event a government agency violates them.  The governor signed the bill, virtually identical to the one that was initially proposed, and it […]

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Senate chamber

Bills closing e-mail loophole introduced in Senate

On May 15, the Attorney General’s proposal for resolving the loophole in the Kansas Open Records Act related to communications by public officials on private email accounts, as discussed here, was introduced in the Senate.  Identical versions of the bill appear in both SB 306 and SB 307.  Both have been referred to the Committee […]

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