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Judge Sides with Media in Open Records Lawsuit Against State

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge says applications for two county commission openings filled late last year by Governor Sam Brownback are not exempt from the state's open records law. Shawnee County District Judge Rebecca Crotty on Friday denied a motion by Brownback's attorneys to dismiss a lawsuit filed in January by The Salina Journal and The Associated Press seeking information on applicants for the newly created Saline County Commission seats. The governor's attorneys also requested a summary judgment declaring the requested records were exempt under state statute, but Crotty denied that motion, too. Saline County residents voted in November to expand the commission from three to five members. The AP and the newspaper argued that applicants' names and other details are public information, but Brownback's office insisted they were a personnel matter.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.