Kansas district attorney investigates Governor, legislators for private meetings

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August 30, 2012

Kansas

By Greg Janetka

TOPEKA, Kansas: Following an investigation into private dinners Gov. Sam Brownback (R) held for state legislators at his official residence, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor scolded lawmakers for being reckless and uninformed regarding the state's open meetings law, but said he could only prove technical violations occurred.[1]

The seven meetings in question took place in January between Brownback and more than 90 legislators, almost all of whom are Republicans. The Kansas Open Meetings Act generally prohibits meetings where government business is discussed, unless public notice or access to the meetings is allowed. In his report, however, Taylor notes that government bodies are only required to give notice of meetings to people and organizations who request it in advance and that citizens who do not ask to be notified are unable to file complaints after the fact.[2]

Taylor is not pursuing the matter any further, but rather recommended that legislators be better informed about the open meetings law and work to develop future legislative guidelines. "We're not saying ignorance is an excuse this time. What we are saying is that technical violations occurred," he said.[3]

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