The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 30, 2014

Other Views: Long overdue

— Legislation that calls for more government and more government spending isn’t exactly popular in many parts of the country these days. But a bill that would allow Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to create an open government unit within his office is something that is long overdue.

Officials at the attorney general’s office, which proposes to create a two-person unit to investigate complaints about violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act, say the initiative would cost about $160,000 a year. It would be money well spent.

The AG’s office now investigates complaints it receives, but assistant attorney general Lisa Mendoza says the office doesn’t have the resources to give those complaints the focus they deserve. The open government unit would change that and provide resources for an intermediate level of administrative review and enforcement of the law — a step that could avoid the need for a lawsuit.

Residents who think public officials have violated KOMA or KORA can file a complaint with their local county attorney or district attorney, or file a civil lawsuit.

The problem is many individuals can’t afford to file a civil lawsuit, and some local prosecutors don’t take violations of KOMA or KORA as seriously as they should.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor has proven to be a staunch supporter of the state’s open meetings and open records acts — his office devoted the necessary resources to thoroughly investigate KOMA complaints against legislators and the Kansas Corporation Commission — but prosecutors in some other jurisdictions don’t have the resources or inclination to give such complaints the attention they deserve.

As Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday as they reviewed the attorney general’s proposal, prosecutors may be reluctant to investigate complaints against the county officials who hold the purse strings to their budgets.

It is to Schmidt’s credit that he has detected a need for more participation by his office and is willing to make it happen.    — The Topeka Capital-Journal

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Opinion
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  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

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  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

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  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our View: Welcome additions

    After Joplin voters failed to pass a curbside recycling proposal in the spring, the City Council said it would study alternate ways to make recycling easier for residents.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your Letters: Be careful what you wish for on Amendment 1

    The proposed Amendment 1 should have been called “Freedom to Farm Without Any Restrictions Whatsoever” because that is what it is. Do you really want a feedlot opening next door to you in Joplin? Or a hog-raising operation on your block in Carthage?

    July 17, 2014

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