Monday, November 18, 2019
     

   Open Records
 

The County Clerk is appointed by Resolution to serve as the Freedom of Information Officer for Sumner County. The Freedom of Information Officer is available to assist the public agency and members of the general public to resolve disputes relating to the open records act. If there are legal questions or other legal issues involved, the Freedom of Information Officer may have to consult with legal counsel. 

The Kansas Open Records Act governs most records maintain by Cities, Counties, School Districts, State Agencies, and other Public Entities. The Kansas Open Records Act starts at K.S.A. 45-215.

How to Request a Record
Open Records Request Form

 

Step 1- Prepare your request.  It may help to check with the records custodian of the specific agency/department first to find out if the record you want is available, and what information is needed to obtain it.  You will need to describe what you want in specific terms.  

Step 2- Submit your request.  Simple requests for a few current records often can be handled by telephone or in person while you wait.

For more complex and for restricted records, the agency/department may require a written request.  Describe what you want as specifically as you can.  The agency may provide a form for mutual convenience, but agencies cannot require that written requests be submitted on their forms.

KORA allows an agency to ask your name and address.  For restricted records, an agency may require proof of identity or other information sufficient to determine your right under law to access the records.

Step 3- Agency responds.  For most routine requests, agencies will produce records within three business days.  Some record will require more time - within three business days agencies must tell you when and how they plan to provide you access and/or copies.

Your request may be denied, in whole or in part.  If the agency denies your request, it must specify the records denied, and cite legal basis for denial. 

The agency should respond within three business days. 

 

Fees
The Kansas Open Records Act authorizes public agencies to charge fees for providing access to or furnishing copies of public records. The fees may vary based on the specific department involved. This fee may be requested in advance and may include:

  • Cost of staff time required to make the information available
  • Cost of copying or reproducing the record.

 

Available Records
Most records maintained by public entities are open for inspection and/or copying by individuals.
Commonly requested records include:

  • Resolutions
  • Minutes from open meetings
  • Salaries of public officials
  • Budgets
  • Exceptions

The Kansas Open Records Act recognizes that some records contain information, which is private in nature. For this reason, the Act lists a number of exceptions. Records that are closed for this reason may include:

  • Personnel information of public employees
  • Medical treatment records
  • Records which are protected by the attorney-client privilege or the rules of evidence
  • Records containing personal information compiled for Census purposes
  • Notes and preliminary drafts
  • Criminal investigation records
  • Several other specific records

For a complete listing of exemptions, see K.S.A. 45-221.

 

Why Would My Request be Denied?
Although every attempt will be made to provide the information requested, it is not always possible to fulfill the request. There are a number of reasons that a request may be denied:

  • The records may be another agency's responsibility. 
  • The records were never created, or cannot be found.
  • The record was destroyed in the normal course of business, consistent with County policy and State law.
  • The request was unclear or incomplete - please resubmit with needed detail.
  • The record is closed to protect an important privacy interest or other interest authorized by KORA (see KSA 45-221) - the agency will explain and cite specific legal provisions. 

 

Use of Public Records - Please Read Carefully
"No person shall knowingly sell, give or receive, for the purpose of selling or offering for sale, any property or service to persons listed therein, any list of names and addresses contained therein, or derived from public records..." K.S.A. 21-3914. Violation of this law is a Class C Misdemeanor and can subject the violator to prosecution and imprisonment up to 30 days and a fine of $500.00. Violators will be reported for prosecution. By accessing this site, the user makes the following certification pursuant to K.S.A. 45-220(c)(2): "the requester does not intend to, and will not: (A) Use any list of names or addresses contained in or derived from the records or information for the purpose of selling or offering for sale any property or service to any person listed or to any person who resides at any address listed; or (B) sell, give or otherwise make available to any person any list of names or addresses contained in or derived from the records or information the purpose of allowing that person to sell or offer for sale any property or service to any person listed or to any person who resides at any address listed."