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Mon Nov 13, 2017, 05:49 PM

'One of the most secretive, dark states': What is Kansas trying to hide? [View all]

Retweeted by David Fahrenthold: https://twitter.com/fahrenthold

Wow: "In the past decade, more than 90 percent of the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature have come from anonymous authors."

Kansas has the most secretive, unaccountable state government in the country. A @KCStar staff tour de force.

‘One of the most secretive, dark states’: What is Kansas trying to hide?


The Kansas City Star

NOVEMBER 12, 2017 7:00 AM

Kansas runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation, and its secrecy permeates nearly every aspect of service, The Star found in a months-long investigation.

From the governor’s office to state agencies, from police departments to business relationships to health care, on the floors of the House and Senate, a veil has descended over the years and through administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

In the course of its investigation, The Star found that:

▪ Children known to the state’s Department for Children and Families suffer horrific abuse, while the agency cloaks its involvement with their cases, even shredding notes after meetings where children’s deaths are discussed, according to a former high-ranking DCF official. One grieving father told The Star he was pressured to sign a “gag order” days after his son was killed that would prevent him from discussing DCF’s role in the case. Even lawmakers trying to fix the troubled system say they cannot trust information coming from agency officials.

▪ In the past decade, more than 90 percent of the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature have come from anonymous authors. Kansans often had no way of knowing who was pushing which legislation and why, and the topics have included abortion, concealed weapons and school funding. Kansas is one of only a few states that allow the practice.

▪ When Kansas police shoot and kill someone, law enforcement agencies often escape scrutiny because they are allowed to provide scant details to the public. The release of body-cam video has become common practice around the country after several high-profile, police-involved shootings. But in Kansas, a new state law is one of the most restrictive in the nation, allowing agencies to shelve footage that could shed more light on controversial cases.

▪ Kansas became the first state to fully privatize Medicaid services in 2013, and now some caregivers for people with disabilities say they have been asked to sign off on blank treatment plans — without knowing what’s being provided. In some of those cases, caregivers later discovered their services had been dramatically cut.

The examples, when stitched together, form a quilt of secrecy that envelops much of state government.

Share your story

Have you experienced secrecy in Kansas that has affected you or other citizens?

If you’ve had trouble getting records or documents in Kansas, felt cut out of Topeka’s legislative process or been stonewalled by state agencies, we want to hear from you. Please send emails with your story and contact information to Laura Bauer, lbauer@kcstar.com, or Judy Thomas, jthomas@kcstar.com.

Kansas may be the most secretive state in the country, a Kansas City Star investigation shows. And it’s only gotten worse under Gov. Sam Brownback. Neil Nakahodo nnakahodo@kcstar.com

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Reply 'One of the most secretive, dark states': What is Kansas trying to hide? [View all]
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