2017 Transparency Opportunities
Kansas Open Records Cost Containment:
Cost is a major obstacle preventing many Kansans from obtaining public records. In many cases, government entities will charge a significant amount of money simply to prevent the release of public documents. This occurs frequently. For example,
a Kansas family recently requested public records to learn more about a school district’s decision to place their daughter in a specific high school. They made an open records request and were charged $1,000 for 300 printed pages. Our goal is to limit the cost government entities can charge the public if there is a legitimate public interest in the information. Addressing this problem is our top legislative priority for the 2017 legislative session.
Open Records and Open Meetings Online Education:
It’s important for Kansans to know their rights to public records and to attend and participate in open meetings and for public officials to understand their obligations to the public. Open Kansas, Kansas Press Association, Kansas Association of Broadcasters and the Sunshine Coalition for Open Government are prepared to work with state officials to develop online training opportunities for public officials and Kansas citizens. Many other states – including Texas and Washington – provide online training courses. Providing more opportunities to learn about our open government laws will improve the way state and local government function.
Increase Transparency of Legislative Proceedings:
Open Kansas partners will work with new and returning legislators to improve the rules that govern the Kansas Senate and Kansas House of Representatives to make the legislative process more transparent to the public at every stage. For example, the introduction of legislation, as well as discussion and debate of legislation should be done in the open with adequate public notice.