Kansas Open Records Law Under Scrutiny

A Kansas council that reviews legal issues plans to study expanding the state’s Open Records Act to cover officials’ emails about public business on private accounts.

The Kansas Judicial Council says it is forming a committee that is expected to meet once a month, starting Aug. 7 through November.

The chairmen of the Kansas House and Senate Judiciary committees requested the study.

The issue arose following disclosures that Budget Director Shawn Sullivan used a private email account at least twice in December to circulate details about potential budget proposals. Gov. Sam Brownback later acknowledged conducting public business through private emails.

The records law doesn’t cover communications with private accounts or devices, even those concerning government business. State and local agencies don’t have to disclose their contents to the public.