Kansas Open Meetings Act

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The Kansas Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 75-4317 through 75-4320b of the State code define the law.

Relevant legal cases

See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA

Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Kansas. For more information go the page or go to Kansas sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)

We do not currently have any pages on open meetings litigation in Kansas.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation

We do not currently have any legislation for Kansas in 2010.


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that meetings for the conduct of governmental affairs and the transaction of governmental business be open to the public. (b) It is declared hereby to be against the public policy of this state for any such meeting to be adjourned to another time or place in order to subvert the policy of open public meetings as pronounced in subsection."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law defines a government meeting as any gathering of the majority of a government body with the intention of discussing public business.[2]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

  • Impeachment hearings
  • if exempted by other state or federal statute[3]

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all legislative and administrative bodies of the state and all political subdivisions and all groups that receive or expend public funds. The act also explicitly includes advisory committees created by the governor's office.[3] The act also explicitly includes the Sunflower Foundation: Healthcare for Kansas organization.[4]

Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:

  • any bodies that function in a quasi-judicial capacity
  • the parole board, to conduct parole hearings[3]

==== Legislature====

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Kansas Statutes 75-4318 and is subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Notice requirements

The act requires that all public agencies provide appropriate notice and an agenda to any group or individual who has requested notice of all official and special meetings.[3]

Meeting process

The act permits any individual to use either audio or video recording devices in order to record the meeting for their own personal records.[3]

Executive sessions

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

The act allows for government agencies to recess into closed session with a vote by a majority of the members of the body present. The body may recess but must reconvene in open session after the closed session. No final action can be taken in an executive session. Executive closed sessions can be held for the following reasons:

  • to discuss personal information of non-elected individuals
  • attorney-client privilege consultation
  • Labor negotiations
  • when discussing trade secrets
  • matters relating to students or patients at state institutions
  • property acquisitions
  • boards dealing with Parimutuel Racing may convene in private sessions
  • when discussing minors
  • meetings of the child-death review board
  • meetings of the workers compensation council
  • meetings of the drug utilization review board
  • tribal state gaming pact meetings
  • security matters
  • Child Care Licensing hearings
  • certain meetings of the Kansas insurance inspector generals office[5]

If violated

Any violation of this act may be prosecuted by the Kansas attorney general, a local district attorney or any interested individual. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $500 to be paid to the state general fund. If the suit is filed within 21 days, any action taken at an illegal meeting can be overturned.[6] The court may also grant attorney fees to the plaintiff if a violation is found and the defendant if the court deems the lawsuit frivolous.[7]

See also

External links

References