Bill amends open records law to give judge’s more leeway

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has passed an amended bill that critics say will gut an open records law passed two years ago.

In 2014, lawmakers approved a bill that made probable cause affidavits open to the public. Before that, Kansas was the only state in the U.S. that sealed the affidavits, which explain why police arrested someone or searched a house or business.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the amendment passed Wednesday says a judge may redact or seal the affidavit if it contains information that is “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Critics say that gives judges too much latitude to seal the records.

But Sen. Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican, says the amendment gives more specific guidance to judges than the original bill, which he called “vague.”

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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