By Edward M. Eveld
January 27, 2016
A new group of organizations called Open Kansas called on lawmakers Wednesday to make a commitment to government openness by signing a “transparency pledge.”
The initiative by five nonprofit organizations was announced at the Capitol. Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican, and Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, were the first to sign.
“We owe no less to the people we represent to be as open and accountable as possible to the constituents in our districts and to the people of Kansas at large,” Rubin said.
Shannon Cotsoradis with Kansas Action for Children, one of the Open Kansas organizations, said the Center for Public Integrity ranked Kansas as a top 10 state for accountability and transparency in 2012 and a bottom 10 state in 2015.
“Everything done on the taxpayer’s dime should be done in the light of day,” Cotsoradis said.
The pledge reads: “Because open and transparent government is the very foundation of our democracy, I pledge to increase government accountability by supporting: public and transparent processes, timely and reasonable access to public information and increased public participation. These principles represent a culture that shows respect and accountability to taxpayers as the people’s work is done under the dome.”
The Open Kansas founding organizations are Kansas Appleseed, El Centro, Communities Creating Opportunity, Kansas Action for Children and the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs.