Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2005

Democrats criticize Kline for closed meetings with BOE conservatives

February 10, 2005

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— Democratic legislators today blasted Atty. Gen. Phill Kline for holding closed meetings with conservative members of the State Board of Education.

"He needs to come clean," Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said.

Hensley and state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Kline's meetings may have violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Kline has denied any wrongdoing.

Hensley and Davis said Kline needs to answer more questions about the meetings, and if those answers are not satisfactory, they may ask the Shawnee County district attorney to investigate.

On Tuesday, Kline, a conservative Republican, held meetings with the six conservative Republicans on the Education Board.

He later said he gave them advice on school finance litigation and talked with them about a proposal to put stickers on science textbooks that say evolution is a theory not a fact.

Since the board has 10-members, Kline said he held separate meetings with three members each so as not to violate the provision of the open meetings law that prohibits closed meetings of a majority of a quorum.

But Hensley and Davis said Kline may have run afoul of the law, citing a 1998 legal opinion from the attorney general's office.

That opinion states that it is a violation of the law to hold a series of meetings that collectively would total a quorum of board members and where a common topic of discussion occurs.

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