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Balancing truthful political advertising with news organizations’ First Amendment interests

For Kansas news media, the political campaign season is an opportunity to inform the public by publishing news reports about candidates as well as political advertising. However, a Kansas statute interferes with the media’s freedom to publish political ads on their websites, limiting the media’s ability to inform and threatening their ability to earn revenue […]

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judicial building atrium

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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Suggestions for legislation to support open government and press freedom in Kansas

Over the past few months, Fresh Takes has documented the need to amend certain Kansas laws that govern public access to government information and that relate to press freedom. The following are summaries of possible statutory improvements that ideally would be a top priority in the 2016 Kansas legislative session. Revise the Kansas Open Records […]

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video recording

Revising KORA: Copying audio and video records

As discussed in this space, audio and video recordings in possession of government agencies, such as law enforcement, are public records, and available for inspection under the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA). However, under KORA, agencies “shall not be required to provide copies of radio or recording tapes or discs, video tapes or films, pictures, […]

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meeting room at capitol

Revising KORA: Correctly interpreting the “third business day” language of K.S.A. 45-218(d)

Evidence is accumulating that public agencies in Kansas are not responding to records requests within the time required by K.S.A. 45-218(d) of the Kansas Open Records Act (KROA). As a result, agencies often produce records only belatedly, if all. As a consequence, those requesting records are frustrated, and the agencies avoid being transparent in the […]

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Revising KORA: Amending the definition of “public records” to include emails sent to and from non-government accounts that relate to public business

In light of the controversy last year over the state budget director’s use of a private email account to discuss public business, the Kansas Legislature will likely attempt to revise the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) this coming session. Because the budget director sent and received emails on the private account, they were not in […]

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law enforcement vehicle

Revising KORA: Modernizing the “criminal investigative records” exemption

It has been well-documented that, in Kansas, journalists and members of the public sometimes struggle to obtain copies of police reports and other documents related to law enforcement investigations. Law enforcement agencies often deny requests for such documents under the “criminal investigative records” exemption found in K.S.A. 45-221(a)(10) of the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA). […]

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