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Update open-records rules for digital age

A special committee exploring ways to update the state’s open-records rules got off to a good start last week. At their first meeting, committee members acknowledged the problem of government employees using private e-mail accounts to conduct public business – as Gov. Sam Brownback and some of his top officials have done. There are a number of legal questions about how to close these loopholes and how to identify and punish people for violating open-records rules. But the committee seems committed to finding workable solutions that will ensure more transparency. In the meantime, Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, offered a simple policy change that the Brownback administration could implement today: “If everybody just used their government (e-mail) account, we’d probably have no problems.” – Phillip Brownlee

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