Topeka In August, the state, on behalf of the Service Employees International Union, sent out letters to retrieve contact information of in-home health care workers. SEIU, which actively works on behalf of Democrats, asked for the information under the Kansas Open Records Act.
SEIU Healthcare Kansas made the request for contact information so it could “communicate with providers of consumer directed care in the state, and convey essential information about issues affecting the providers and their families as well as the quality of care for consumers in Kansas,” the SEIU letter said.
Then in September, after a storm of criticism from Republicans and some representatives of in-home health employees, the state sent out a second letter saying it had reconsidered and would not be collecting the information for the SEIU.
SEIU actually made two requests under the Kansas Open Records Act -- one for the contact information of providers of consumer directed care and one for contact information for a list of vendors used to fulfill the first Open Records request.
According to memos from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, the state was going to charge SEIU about $4,500 to collect this information.
But Michelle Ponce, spokeswoman for SRS, said since the decision was made not to fulfill the records requests, SEIU would not get charged. That leaves the state having to pay for the initial letters to providers and the follow up letters that the state would not seek the information. That printing and postage will be about $1,000, Ponce said.