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Posts published in “Open records”

Wichita open records issue buried

The City of Wichita is burying an issue related to its refusal to act in a genuinely open and transparent manner.

Kansas open records examined

Government transparency in Kansas is determined largely by open records and open meetings laws which state lofty goals but offer many loopholes and exemptions and few penalties for violations of the laws.

The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) starts off well. "It is declared to be the public policy of the state that public records shall be open for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act, and this act shall be liberally construed and applied to promote such policy."

Kansas open records law needs an overhaul

"An open and transparent government is essential to the democratic process. Under Kansas law, citizens have the right to access public records and observe many meetings where decisions are made that affect our state."

That quote is taken from the Kansas Attorney General’s web site. Unfortunately, the second sentence isn’t really true. Kansans may technically have the right to access some public records (those not protected by more than 300 exemptions the Legislature has granted), but too often we lack the ability because of government opposition.

Kansas open records, not quite

The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy has produced another important investigative report, this time looking at the difficulty citizens and journalists can encounter when requesting records covered under the Kansas Open Records Act.

"What started out as research into property valuations in Kansas has turned into a frustrating protracted battle over differing perspectives on open government. Denials and delays have slowed or prevented examination of government fiscal policy as budget and taxation issues were being addressed in the legislature. Access was further frustrated by decades-old computer technology."

President Obama on Government Transparency

The way to make a government responsible is not simply to enlist the services of responsible men and women, or to sign laws that ensure…

Open Records Resource Site for Kansas

The Kansas Meadowlark has an informational page featuring descriptions of websites about open records and information about government. The link is kansasmeadowlark.com/open-records.

Records requests are not always easy

It seems that citizens all over the country have trouble with public school districts and records requests. Sometime you have to battle not only the school district, but also third parties such as teachers unions.

Bobby Rozzell’s Great Idea for Wichita Leaders

At the imaginatively-named Bobby Rozzell’s Blog the author has a suggestion for Wichita government. Here’s the idea: Some smart local leader is going to figure…

When A Records Request Fails

When a citizen makes a records requests and the records that were received don’t match the request, what should the citizen do? The records I…

Open records in Kansas follow-up

I have been recruited to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Project, an effort to gauge the compliance of the nations' governors with open records laws as they exist in each state. I wrote about my experience with the office of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius in this article: Open Records in Kansas.

The letter I received from JaLynn Copp, the Assistant Chief Counsel to Governor Sebelius, was so confusing that I wrote back requesting clarification. I had to communicate this request by writing on the processed fibers of dead trees, which were then delivered to Topeka by carbon-spewing trucks operated by the United States Postal Service, as Ms. Copp did not share an email address with me.

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