Archive for Saturday, November 18, 2017

Kansas lawmakers call for reform after secrecy story breaks

In this AP file photo from Sept. 11, 2014, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer speak at the Statehouse in Topeka.

In this AP file photo from Sept. 11, 2014, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer speak at the Statehouse in Topeka.

November 18, 2017

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— Kansas lawmakers from across the political spectrum say they'll push to fix the state's culture of secrecy after a newspaper highlighted alarming levels of opacity in state and local government.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer pledged last week to address the problem of transparency. Colyer is set to take over as governor if Gov. Sam Brownback is confirmed as an ambassador, the Kansas City Star reported.

"Transparency is absolutely critical to increase Kansans' confidence in government," Colyer said. "I look forward to taking steps to increase transparency and improve public trust when I become governor."

Colyer didn't weigh in on specific questions raised in the series, nor did he offer policy moves he'd pursue to increase transparency, as some of his competitors for the 2018 Republican nomination did.

The Star's series on secrecy highlighted several examples of state and local agencies hiding information from the public. Examples include KanCare recipients who were asked to sign blank plans of care, and a grieving father who was asked to sign a document that would have prevented him from talking about his son's death and the Department for Children and Families' involvement in the case.

Lawmakers called for reform last week. Republican Rep. Melissa Rooker said the choice of a new governor is important because the next choice will decide the cabinet secretaries that determine how open state agencies are.

"I think there is some legislative work to be done and I will be supportive, but this is really a change of culture that the voters control because it speaks to who we elect as governor because the governor controls appointments," she said.

Comments

MerriAnnie Smith 4 weeks ago

If the voters let them get away with it, they'll do it. They'll do anything if the voters keep electing them.

And in Kansas, they have been continuing to elect them year after year after year.

It's good this is getting attention now, but it's way late. And they're only doing it now because people are complaining about it.

Tells you what kind of Republican leadership you've been putting up with all these years. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Zach Davis 4 weeks ago

In regards to secrecy and attempts to silence those who speak out against the failures of the Brownback administration there is one person that stands out to me.

The communications director for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Angela De Rocha. Who is known quite well in the comment sections of stories such as this one.

The Pitch did a nice write up on her.

https://www.pitch.com/news/article/20829627/some-spokespersons-are-dogged-brownbacks-angela-de-rocha-is-rabid

Steve Hicks 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Zach, thanks for linking The Pitch' story.

Sounds like Kansas has their own Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Lucky us.

Deborah Snyder 4 weeks ago

Republican Rep M. Rooker, wants to throw the responsibility for (1) Failure of a transparent legislative process (2) Failure of legislative oversight and (3) Failure to ever initiate a single piece of legislation to stop, reverse or change Kansas' well-known dark practices...

...Who has more than enough experience to know right from wrong, and could have asked her district residents for feedback regarding any of the facts on KanCare, Child welfare, and kept her constituents informed of all the "Gut-n-Go legislation during her time in office...

NOW she wants to go on record to say, essentially, "It's all up to the guhvehnor to fix what they broke," (and allowed other branches of our state government to corrupt their procedures) and, worst of all, destroy by intent the process for a Kansas Open Records Act???!!!

Michael Kort 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Roaches always prefer the safety of working in the darkness and tend to scatter when you turn on the light..

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Colyer is only giving lip service to. change, because he wants to run for governor. He is Brownback's flunky all the way. He will just continue the same policies. I wouldn't trust any of the Republicans running for governor at this point, no matter what comes out of their mouths.

MerriAnnie Smith 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Amen, Dorothy.

One thing we know in Kansas is that we'll never get a Democratic legislature because Democrats won't come out to vote and Republicans never learn anything new, it seems.

Here in Kansas we can elect a Democratic governor because the Republican legislature won't work with them for the good of all the citizens, rather than just the wealthy. And if we get a Republican governor he can destroy this state because the Republican legislature will work with him to do that.

What we need seriously, folks, is a Democratic governor AND a Democratic legislature just for one term. Just ONE term, and this state will turn back around toward a reasonable government. THEN we can concentrate on MODERATES ONLY, regardless of party.

Kansans! For God's sake, wake up!

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