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Archive for Sunday, March 18, 2012

40 years ago: Governor signs first state ‘open meetings’ bill into law

March 18, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for March 18, 1972:

Gov. Robert Docking today signed into law two so-called "open meetings" bills, House Bill 1699 and Senate Bill 511. The House bill made it state policy that meetings of all legislative and administrative bodies and agencies on every level of state government in Kansas be open to the public. This bill had been amended before reaching the governor's desk, providing that only meetings at which "binding action" was taken must be open to the public. The Senate bill required that all state agencies adopting administrative rules and regulations should take such action in open meetings and that a copy of the official vote be recorded and made public. "All action on public matters must be open to the people," Gov. Docking said. "There should be no public business decided by secret ballot -- whether in the halls of the legislature or the rooms of any courthouse or city hall in the state.... I believe firmly that government should be conducted in a 'fish bowl' for all the people to see." The state's first open meeting laws, he said, would "assure us that government will be open and that the people's right to know will be upheld."

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