Wichita’s chance to increase government transparency on spending

The Wichita City Council can decide to increase transparency in regards to spending, or let it remain being spent in secret.

The City of Wichita has three surrogate quasi-governmental agencies that are almost totally taxpayer-funded, specifically Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. Each agency contends it is not a “public agency” as defined in Kansas law, and therefore does not have to fulfill records requests.

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Kansas attorney to receive open government award

The Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government today named Topeka media law attorney Michael L. Merriam as recipient of the Coalition’s “Above and Beyond Award” for Merriam’s career-long contributions to promoting and defending open government.

The award will be presented at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the auditorium on the first floor of the Statehouse.

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Guest column: Kansas, let the sunshine in

“Sunshine is the strongest antiseptic … its rays may penetrate areas previously closed,” so opined the late-Hon. Robert H. Miller, a former chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, as he explained in a court case why government records must be open under penalty of law.

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In Kansas, Bills to shed light on government remain in dark

With a deadline for bills to pass one chamber of the Legislature looming next week, there has been little action on several measures meant to create more transparency in government.

A proposal to open judicial records outlining probable cause for search and arrest warrants that initially appeared to have bipartisan support may be watered down considerably after a few prosecutors objected.

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Editorial: Open government

Creating a state-level unit to monitor open meetings and open records could vastly improve the state’s ability to enforce these important laws.

Spending about $160,000 a year to police compliance to the Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act would be a good investment for the state.

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Kansas Attorney General proposes open government unit

The office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is proposing a special two-person unit within his agency devoted solely to investigating Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act complaints.

The measure has the support of the Kansas Press Association. Doug Anstaett, the organization's executive director, told a legislative committee Tuesday that housing an open government unit within the attorney general's office would send a message that such complaints are a high priority.

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