Editorial – Here’s how the Legislature can make Kansas a better place to live in 2018

Kansas legislators will gather Jan. 8 in Topeka for one of the most crucial legislative sessions since — well, since 2017. The truth is Kansas has faced one governmental crisis after another for much of this decade. Much of the blame lies with Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative allies, who pushed through a tax cut in 2012 that…

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‘One of the most secretive, darkest states’: What is Kansas trying to hide?

The statement was simple. Factual. A Kansas spokesperson was acknowledging that the state highway department didn’t have the money to rebuild a dangerous stretch of Interstate 70 that had been the scene of multiple wrecks and a grisly motorcycle fatality caught on video. “KDOT has lost a lot of money over the last few years,” the spokesperson…

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Kansas: Woman awarded for keeping local government information open to public

A woman was honored Friday for her pursuit of keeping her local government open to the public.

The Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government presented its 2017 Friend of Open Government award to Debbie Miller of Independence, Kansas.

The group says Miller has pressed her local government for openness over the past several years. They say one instance, when she pressed for a copy of the form the city uses to evaluate the city manager's job performance, stood out to them.

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Kansas Senate to consider effort to block excessive fees for open records

The Senate may take up a bill soon meant to prevent public agencies from deterring open records requests or using them as a revenue source by charging excessive fees.

The bill was scheduled for debate Wednesday afternoon, but was postponed.

Public agencies that testified against the bill have expressed concern it goes too far. But Sen. Jacob LaTurner, R-Pittsburg, has been pursuing such limits to what government can charge for a few years.

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KS: Court says company running public hospital subject to Open Records Act

The Kansas Court of Appeals said Friday that financial records of a county-owned hospital are subject to the Kansas Open Records Act, even if the hospital is administered on contract by an outside nonprofit corporation.

The case involved the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg. In 2001, the hospital's board signed a lease agreement with Great Plains of Kiowa County Inc. to administer the hospital.

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KS: Advocates for more transparency in government testify on open records bill

Kansas news organizations and other open-government advocates came to the state Capitol on Thursday, pushing for more transparency in government meetings and reduced costs for records.

The groups are supporting Senate bills 86 and 70 in this year’s legislative session.

SB 70 clarifies what elected officials would have to tell the public when they meet in closed sessions.

SB 86 would place new limits on the prices public agencies can charge for copies of documents requested under the Kansas Open Records Act.

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Kansas officials’ private emails to be subject to disclosure

'Kansas officials' emails about public business on private accounts or devices will be subject to public disclosure starting in July under a bill Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Wednesday.

The law closes a big loophole in the Kansas Open Records Act . That decades-old law generally requires government records to be accessible to the public, but it hasn't specifically applied to officials' private email accounts or communications with private cellphones.

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Kansas House unanimously passes bill to close private email loophole

The House voted unanimously Thursday to close a loophole in the Kansas Open Records Act that allowed public officials to avoid scrutiny by using private email to conduct official business.

SB 22 will close the loophole and make public officials’ private emails open records if they pertain to official business. Private emails on personal matters would remain private.

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Judge denies Kansas statistician access to paper tapes to audit voting machines

A Sedgwick County judge has ruled that a Wichita State University statistician won’t get access to paper tapes from voting machines to search for fraud or mistakes.

Judge Tim Lahey denied a motion by Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman to dismiss the case brought by statistician Beth Clarkson. But that was a hollow victory for Clarkson. Her point in filing the lawsuit was to gain access to the tapes to check the accuracy of the voting machines, searching for an answer to statistical anomalies she has found in election results.

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