Topeka House Republican leaders Friday called on Gov. Mark Parkinson to stop a request made on behalf of a union for information from health care providers doing business with the state.
“We call on this administration to intervene and terminate this inappropriate action,” House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said.
But Parkinson, a Democrat, refused. His office issued a statement saying, “The governor supports the effort to get union information to these workers.”
The dispute is over approximately 1,000 letters sent out by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and Kansas Department of Aging.
The letters went to payroll agents of in-home health care workers and sought the employees’ names, addresses and telephone numbers.
The state agencies said they sent the letters to comply with an open records request made by the Services Employees International Union. SEIU, which has helped many Democratic Party candidates, said it needed the contact information to provide information to the workers.
But O’Neal and House Majority Leader Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, wasn’t buying the state’s explanation.
“Collecting and distributing information for this purpose falls so far outside the scope of responsible government that these agencies should immediately cease the data collection and refuse to disseminate anything they have already received,” Merrick said.
Few of the providers have complied with the letters requesting information, and state officials have said they don’t intend to take any action against those that didn’t.
House leaders said they have asked Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat, for an opinion on whether the state has to turn over this information.