Kansas Public Records
The Kansas Open Records Act [KORA] is the Kansas version of the federal Freedom of Information Act. It allows for public inspection and copying of some records maintained by public entities. Not all records are available for public inspection.
Public records are those made, maintained, created or possessed by a public agency. The KORA applies to any recorded information regardless of form or characteristics. A public agency is the state or any political or taxing subdivision, or any office, officer, or agency thereof, or any other entity, receiving or expending and supported in whole or part by public funds. Records consist of all media files whether text, images, video or audio, digital or analog, soft or hard copy that were created to represent the goings on of local government. Unless closed by specific law, all are open for inspection and any person may view them to make abstracts or obtain copies. Records that are NOT accessible by the public include those that are closed either Mandatorily or Discretionarily.
Mandatorily closed records are closed because the Federal or State Law mandates it, and the records holder has no choice in the matter. These records are closed to protect the names & safety of those individuals reflected within, as well as to maintain the security of the federal and state government, protect the citizens, and so on. These records include but are not limited to:
- Certain Juvenile Court Records
- Child welfare records
- Individually Identifiable Drug Abuse Treatment Records
- Any type of financial or taxpayer record that includes personal contact information, including a name
- Criminal History Info in possession of a Law Enforcement Agency
- Ballots and Voter information
- Unexecuted search or arrest warrants, and all related material, affidavits, testimonies, etc
- Presentence reports
- Grand Jury Proceedings records prior to deliberation and decision
- Mental illness commitment or treatment records
- Adoption Records
- Racing Commission Background Checks
- Crime Victim Compensation Board - ALL records are confidential
- Certain student and educational information
Records that are closed on a Discretionary basis are those records held by an agency and released to the public at the discretion of that agency. Certain records may not be disclosed by the agency, for reasons within the allowances of the laws. The main consideration taken when choosing whether to disclose or not is whether the public interest outweighs the risk to the public. The agency is charged with defending it's decision not to disclose by stating which allowance it is invoking. Records at the discretion of government agencies can include:
- Personnel records, performance ratings, or individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment. in public agencies. This includes home addresses, personal phone numbers, social security and tax id numbers, Drivers license numbers and photographs and any family names or contact information. However, the "names, positions, salaries and lengths of service" of public officers and employees must be made public.
- Criminal investigation records. These may be closed based on the ratio between public interest and risk to public.
- Court records and docket sheets may not be closed as criminal investigation records. Police blotter, roster of jail inmates and the front page of a standard offense report are required to be open to the public; mug shots and standard arrest report are not required to be open to the public. Coroner reports are subject to disclosure unless they have been filed with the clerk of the district court and designated as a criminal investigation record. Autopsies as part of coroner's reports are open unless the coroner's report is filed as a criminal investigation record.
- Information which would reveal the identity of any undercover agent or any informant reporting a specific violation of law.
- Notes, preliminary drafts, research data in the process of analysis, whether by an agency or a third party on behalf of the agency.
- Memoranda or other records in which opinions are expressed or policies or actions are proposed. This exception does not apply when such records are cited or identified in a public meeting.
- Library patron and circulation records which pertain to identifiable individuals. Library archive and museum materials contributed by private parties may be closed if closure was a condition of donation.
- Public records containing information of a personal nature when public disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
- Social Security numbers, mothers' maiden names and dates of birth contained in held by a county register of deeds can be closed to a business information provider.
- Records concerning prospective location of a business or industry where no previous disclosure has been made.
- Engineering and architectural estimates for public improvements.
- Financial information submitted by contractor in qualification statements.
- Records concerning emergency or security information or procedures; also not subject to subpoena or discovery.
- Records which are privileged under the rules of evidence, unless the holder of the privilege consents to the disclosure.
- Peer review/risk management records concerning certain health care professionals and facilities.
- Software, except that register about what information the agency has on computer and what is available in what format.
Kansas Historical Society- Libraries, Museums and Archives
Records Requests should be made with the individual agency responsible for holding them. The Law states that the response time that an agency has to deliver on a KORA request is 3 days, but that has been difficult to accomplish. There are also fees likely to be imposed for delivery of the requested documentation as allowed by the KORA. Please see the law or the individual agency for a schedule of those fees.
As with the other states in the US, Kansas has a long pre-history and rich tradition of Native American peoples inhabiting the lands prior to exploration from more modern societies. Tribes are thought to have moved into the area around 10,000 BC (+/-). These peoples became the various tribes of bison hunting nomads that eventually evolved into a partially agriculture based society. Coronado entered the area in 1541 on his journey in search of gold. With him he brought domesticated horses which changed the landscape of the American West and Native Americans forever. Emigrant tribes that follow here include bands of Cherokee, Chippewa, Delaware, Iowa, Kaw Nation, Kickapoo, Osage, Otoe, Ottawa, Pawnee, Potawatomi, Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, Wea, Wyandot.
Early European settlement of Kansas came first from from the French, although a Priest (Father Padilla) had hoped to establish a missionary in the area shortly after Coronado had returned to Mexico with news of the region. Padilla was killed soon after his arrival and he is now considered the first religious martyr in America. Kansas was passed between France, Spain and the US with the advent of the Adams Onis Treaty and the Louisiana Purchase and became an official US controlled land in 1803. Further dispute over borders and what-not ended in the middle 1800's after the Compromise of 1850 took Kansas out of the Republic of Texas.
Kansas officially became a US territory in1854 and finally the 34th state in 1861. Prior to acceptance into statehood, Kansas was a leg on the Oregon and Santa Fe trails and also had been plagued by bloody disputes between pro and anti-slavery factions. Post statehood, Kansas saw the Civil War, the last ride of the Pony Express, bloody disputes with the Natives over land and white-encroachment, rapid settlement and industrial boom by way of ranches and farms- especially with the advent of the rail-road. The Industrial Revolution of the late 1800's early 1900's did not pass Kansas by. Machines revolutionized farming, the railroad brought business and settlers. The dustbowl and great Depression of the late 20's and 30's was hard on Kansas, but WWI saw an upsurge in Kansas agriculture as demand for Kansas farm products increased. Great urban development also took place with the growth of Topeka, Kansas City, Leavenworth, and Wichita.
The early economy of Kansas was based mainly in farming and industry that supported it, as well as trade and hospitality along the Oregon and Santa Fe trails and then the railways and depots. Today the agricultural outputs include cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. The industrial outputs are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum and mining.
Companies who have their headquarters in Kansas Include Sprint/Nextel, Embarq, Applebee's, Garmin, and Lee Jeans.
Kansas Government Info
The Kansas Government is modeled after the US Federal model and is further broken into counties and municipalities that are charged with carrying out the state and local laws and ordinances.
Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 212S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590
Open Record Request
To request a record, call 785-296-3232.
House of Representatives
Office of the Chief Clerk
300 SW 8th Ave., Room 282-W
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1504
Phone: (785) 296-7633
Fax: (785) 291-3531
Secretary of the Senate
Room 374E, Capitol
300 S.W. 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612-1504
Telephone (785) 296-2456
Fax (785) 296-6718
Open Records Requests
Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 S.W. 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-7076 (fax)
State Agencies FULL LIST