HB 2555 appeared dead but rises again

Posted April 2, 2014

While the Kansas Senate failed to advance House Bill 2555 that would have presumed probable cause affidavits used to support arrest warrants as open records, sending the bill to an early grave, the legislation has risen from the ashes.

The bill, authored by Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, will be paired with another crime bill during a conference committee meeting on Thursday. It's a parliamentary procedure that is used to retrieve bills from the bone pile.

Probable cause affidavits have been closed in Kansas for more than three decades, even though they are open court records in most states and at the federal level.

The Kansas House passed the bill 113-10 earlier this month, but a heavily amended version that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee was blocked from floor debate.

"We've done what we can to save this bill," said Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association. "We'll see what happens."

(In the picture, Ron Keefover, president of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, and Richard Gannon, director of governmental affairs for the Kansas Press Association, discuss House Bill 2555 with Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe.)