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KS House Rejects Proposal to Close Open Records Loophole

The Kansas House chamber. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The Kansas House has advanced a bill that makes many current exceptions to the open records law permanent. The chamber also rejected a plan that would have made some private emails subject to the law. 

Recently, the Wichita Eagle obtained private emails revealing that a member of the governor’s administration provided advance copies of the governor's budget to lobbyists.  But because the information was not shared through an official email address, it's not subject to open records rules. 

Democrat Jim Ward offered an amendment to close that loophole and make such private emails a matter of public record.
  
“We absolutely should know what options the governor reviewed when making a budget. That is 101 Democracy,” says Ward.

Some Republicans criticized the amendment because it had not gone through the normal committee process. Ward’s proposal to close the loophole failed. 

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