General Information About Kansas Public Records and Laws
Kansas public records can help to answer questions or to provide information to the general public. The Kansas Open Records Act is the foundation of the right of the general public to view information. It is similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act. Not all types of records are readily available, however, this law requires that most types of information be made available to the public at a person or business's request, for either viewing or copying.
Under the law, public records are defined as being any documents or information that is made, maintained or otherwise possessed by any of the public agencies in the state. This includes information from taxation, political, government offices or agencies of the state. The type of records include everything from digital to analog form, hard and soft copies as well as images and text material.
The state does limit some information under a mandatorily closure. This means that the state or federal laws maintains this information is to remain private. It includes:
·All information in regards to juvenile court records
·Criminal history information
·Child welfare information
·Mental illness commitment as well as all treatment records
·Some types of student and educational records
In addition to this, it is possible that some records will be listed as discretionarily closed. This occurs when the agency has the right to limit access to information legally and chooses not to provide this information. The most common forms of this include personnel records, ratings and other identifiable information from public employees, criminal investigation records, court records and docket sheets. In addition, the following information is often limitedly available: research data, any information that could reveal sensitive information about a police officer or an undercover agent, public records that are a personal nature, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names and dates of birth and other information.
Individuals who wish to obtain this type of information will need to make a formal request to the agency that holds the information. It must then be approved and is only done so when there is a verifiable need.
Obtaining Kansas Public Records
On the other hand, most of Kansas's public records remain open. The laws require that the individual agencies must be responsible for holding this information and presenting it to the public when the information is requested. In general, this is within three days, though some may be much sooner.
The following agencies may offer online research or local research tools to aid individuals.
·Available vital spastics information is available through the Kansas State Department of Health and Environment.
·Available criminal records are available through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Records Division.
·The state's Attorney General's Office manages business records.
·Statewide Court Records are available through the Court Administration, Office of Judicial Administration.
Kansas public records are available to the general public upon request. There may be a small fee to be paid to access this information.
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