How Kansas legislature killed bill to grant Corporation Commission “exemptions” from the state’s Open Meetings Act


As we reported recently, the Kansas legislature decided it wanted open meetings rather than behind-closed-door sessions by its Corporation Commissioners. The House killed HB2591, which is very similar to an effort underway in the Oklahoma legislature where Ardmore Rep. Tammy Townley’s HB 2367 was being considered.

In Kansas, the measure received initial approval to allow exemptions to the KCC under the Kansas Open Meetings Act. It would allow the three commissioners to handle certain issues without notifying the public. It had the support of the KCC Chairman Andrew French who contended it would make his agency more efficient.

When the House members recently voted, the talley was 67-53. Then Manhattan Republican Rep. Kenny Titus stood up and called the bill a “dangerous precedent,” according to the Kansas Reflector.

The newspaper quoted Titus as telling his fellow legislators that what the KCC does in regulating monopolies “deserves more—not less—transparency.

““I fear that once transparency protections are removed this body will find it exceedingly difficult to restore them. The structure and function of the KCC may well need to be revamped, but exempting their most important work from the open meetings act is not an appropriate solution.”

Vote switching began and when the votes were finalized, the bill was killed 38-82.