Kansas Government Records: Where to Obtain Government Records for the State of Kansas?
According to the laws prevalent in the State of Kansas, all records pertaining to the local and state governments are considered public, unless and until a statute or regulation deems it otherwise. The public enjoys the entitlement of viewing and inspecting these government records if they so wish. Various public agencies in Kansas maintain or create records in various forms and the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) is the law that is responsible for granting the public rights to access and inspect such records.
Any kind of recorded information is considered to be a public record, irrespective of its characteristics or form, and may be kept, maintained or possessed by a particular public agency. There are specific steps that you need to follow as a pursuant of such public records and legally gain the right to inspect them. This article will provide you with specific insight in regard to such steps.
Requests need to be made in writing
To receive government records from a specific public agency in Kansas, you will be required to furnish a request in writing and deliver the same in person or via mail to the headquarters of the public agency that is in the hold of the record or is responsible for the same. In your written request, you would also need to indicate your desire to inspect the records.
The requester might need to inform the public agency regarding his/her desire to inspect records not more than 24 hours before the scheduled time of obtaining copies and inspection. The public agency might require you to submit a written request stating your intentions for inspection but cannot ask you to make a similar request in any kind of form. While making the written request, it is pertinent that you identify the government records you seek with utmost specificity. Since there are miscellaneous government records that a public agency might have to maintain, vague and incorrect requests may be ignored or denied.
Who receives your written application?
The custodian of the record receives your written request to inspect an open government record. It is not always compulsory that a public agency has a particular government record. An individual may be the custodian of a public record as well if he/she is responsible for the functioning or operations of a body that is financed by taxes paid by the people. In case the request that you have made is sent to a person who isn't the record's custodian, the person shall intimate the same to the requester and provide him/her with the address and name of the custodian of such information is easily available. According to the amendment K.S.A. 45-218(c), a custodian has the right to delegate another person to serve his/her duties as the custodian of government records if he/she desires.
Obligations that custodians of public government records are exempt from
A public agency is under no obligation to create a government record that is not already in existence. Similarly, public agencies are also not required to recreate a government record, which might have previously existed, and has been destroyed since. In such cases, the custodian of the public records may deny furnishing the requested records to the requester.
Recourse during events of denial
There are no defined legal recourses as per the KORA, which could be followed during cases of denial of the request. However, the custodian might be required to submit a written report summarizing the reason for denial of the request, if the requester asks for the same. The requester has the right to approach the district court directly if a request to inspect a government record is denied. There are various reasons including unavailability, non-existence, and exemption of certain records from the KORA owing to state or federal regulations, which might result in denial of the request. However, administrative appeals can be made for issues such as excessive fees and others.
Other things to remember
The public agency that you have requested the records from might require you to pay a certain fee for the use of their time and resources in furnishing and sending the records to you. These fees cover employee costs that the public agency has invested to get your job done and provide you with the government records that you have requested.
If you are unsure about the name or address of the custodian of the specific record that you are looking for, you need only approach the public agency or agencies that are responsible for maintaining the concerned records. As per the rules mandated by KORA, public agencies are obligated to provide you with information pertaining to office hours, credentials and contact details of the custodian, any specific fee structure that they might have in place and the specific steps you need to follow to get the public records from the public agency. These steps vary from one public agency to the other.
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