Lawmakers call for major reform in Kansas after Star series on state’s culture o…


Kansas lawmakers from across the political spectrum said they will push to fix the state’s culture of secrecy in the wake of a Kansas City Star series that highlights stunning levels of opacity in state and local government.

They cautioned, however, that the next governor will have to champion the issue for the Sunflower State to have truly transparent government.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is set to take the reins of power if Gov. Sam Brownback is confirmed as an ambassador, pledged Tuesday to address the problem.

“Transparency is absolutely critical to increase Kansans’ confidence in government. I look forward to taking steps to increase transparency and improve public trust when I become governor,” Colyer said in a statement.

Colyer did not weigh in on specific questions raised in The Star’s series or offer policy moves he’d like to pursue to bring more sunshine to state government — as many of his competitors for the 2018 Republican nomination did.

“We’re not going to destroy or shred documents,” said former state Sen. Jim Barnett, a Topeka Republican running for governor, referencing allegations from a former Kansas Department for Children and Families official that she was instructed to shred notes while working for the agency that handles child welfare.

The Star’s series on secrecy highlighted multiple examples of state and local agencies hiding information from the…



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