Kansas Around the State Briefs Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer’s father passes away TOPEKA — Dr. James Colyer, father of Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, died Sunday at age 89, surrounded by his family. Gov. Sam Brownback and Colyer issued the following statements. “My wife Mary and I extend our deepest personal sympathies and prayers to Jeff, his mother Lorene and their family on the loss of Jim today,” Brownback said. “I respected Dr. Colyer, who was a combat veteran of World War II, a caring dentist from Hays, and who was married for 67 years to his wife, Lorene. On behalf of all Kansans, we offer our condolences and will hold Jeff and the entire Colyer family in our prayers and hearts.” “My family and I want to thank all our friends and Kansans for their prayers and sympathy,” Colyer said. “My father was a true member of the ‘Greatest Generation’ who gave so much to his family and country. He was the first in his family to go to high school and went on to be a successful dentist and family man who loved serving his community. Dad was most proud of his bride, four children — Linda King, Diane Colyer, Jim Colyer II and Jeff Colyer — 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.” Funeral plans have not yet been announced. Scavenger hunt Garden City third- graders spread out as they embark on a scavenger hunt recently. Special to The HDN A3 Monday Feb. 2, 2015 Records review follows email By Bryan Lowry Tribune News Service they plan to introduce a bill this week aimed at closing loopholes. Some ReGov. Sam Brownback said he publican lawmakers said they would doesn’t know how often members of be open to legislation making private his staff use private emails to conduct communications public records when official state business. He mostly uses they pertain to state business. his private cellphone rather than a “There’s a transparency issue here state-owned one. that ought to be considered,” said “I have no idea how often staff Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton. does private emails. I don’t have any Hineman questioned the adminisidea,” he said Friday. “I use my celltration’s commitment to transparency phone to communicate with most of and said Sullivan’s explanation that the time on almost anything.” he used private emails because he The governor’s comments came was home for the holidays “doesn’t after it was learned state budget pass the smell test.” director Shawn Sullivan had used a “I personally have access to private email account to send a draft my state email account on all my of the state budget to two lobbyists electronic devices wherever I am at and several top administration ofany time of day. And I assume that’s ficials two days before Christmas. true for practically everyone in state Politicians and public officials government. You’re never at a loss from both parties nationwide have for access to your official state email been able to avoid — intentionally account,” Hineman said. or accidentally — scrutiny for their The governor’s office said the use decisions because of loopholes in of private emails to collect feedback open records laws when it comes to on the budget was not an attempt to private email accounts and electronic purposefully skirt the Kansas Open devices. Records Act. Senate Democrats in Kansas said Open records laws — sometimes known as sunshine laws — are meant to ensure public accountability. But many states, including Kansas, have no official position on whether they apply to private communications by public officials about state business. This leaves the public vulnerable, said Emily Shaw, national policy manager for the Sunlight Foundation, a national group that promotes accountability in government. “Any laws that could have loopholes that prevent the public from seeing all of the lobbying that’s going on, that’s also subverting the ethics laws we put in place to protect the public,” she said. States across the country are grappling with the issue, as is the federal government. A case before the California Supreme Court will determine whether communications by public officials should be exempt when they’re on private devices; at least 26 states have amended their open records laws to extend to private e-mail accounts. In Washington, congressional Republicans have accused the Obama administration of using private emails to skirt the federal Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. House passed a bill in September to prohibit IRS officials from conducting official business on private e-mail accounts in response to the use of private email by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official accused of unfairly targeting conservative tax-exempt groups. “The fact that our laws haven’t caught up with the technological change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have access to it,” Shaw said. “Changing your e-mail account, everybody knows, is just a matter of clicking over another tab. So that hardly qualifies as a legitimate reason to call something private.” The discovery that Sullivan shared the budget with lobbyists via a private e-mail account rankled some members of the governor’s own party. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, defended the governor’s right to have private communications, but she also showed frustration that lobbyists got to preview the state budget before lawmakers. Wisconsin Gov. wins Kansas GOP straw poll TOPEKA (TNS) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won the two presidential straw polls conducted by the Kansas Republican Party at its state convention in Topeka this weekend. The party held two polls: one for state committee members and another that was open to all convention attendees for a $2 fee. Walker won both races, taking 83 of a possible 182 votes among the state committee members, about 46 percent, and 253 votes in the donation-based race, which put him four votes ahead of Ben Carson. Walker, recently elected to his second term as governor, gained national attention during his first term for his fights against public employee unions over collective bargaining. He defeated a recall attempt in 2012. Carson, a physician who has become known for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, came in second in both races. He collected 46 votes among state committee members. Rick Santorum, who won the Kansas caucus in 2012, was toward the bottom of the pack, taking only nine votes among committee members. Lotteries Sunday 2by2 Red - 15 24 White - 2 18 Pick 3 940 Saturday Powerball 5 11 16 26 50 34 Power Play - 2 Hot Lotto Sizzler 4 5 21 37 40 7 Super Kansas Cash 4 12 15 20 25 09 Corrections The Hays Daily News staff takes care with its reporting and writing. But if we make a mistake, we want to know about it so we can let readers know the correct information. We encourage readers who find an error to contact us at (785) 628-1081. Ask for Patrick Lowry, editor and publisher, or Nick Schwien, managing editor, or email [email protected] or [email protected] Swinging in the rain Braving the rain and colder weather, Madison Schmidt, Hays, listens to music while swinging Saturday at Massey Park in Hays. JOLIE GREEN • Hays Daily News Body camera proposal stirring some controversy By Austin Fisher The Topeka Capital-Journal Lenexa police officer, said she endorsed deployment of the TOPEKA — The cost and small devices. While testifying operational details of a bill Thursday before the Senate requiring Kansas law enforce- committee, she was wearing ment officers to be outfitted a $900 model. Lenexa started with sophisticated body camusing the cameras in 2009. eras is the subject of a political “You do your officers a shootout at the Capitol. disservice if you don’t get the The Senate Corrections technology,” she said. “Law and Juvenile Justice Comenforcement gets the fact that mittee gathered testimony the technology is needed.” this week from supporters of However, Layman opthe legislation and scheduled posed a statewide mandate. commentary today from op- She said smaller departments ponents of the bill. Similar facing budget challenges proposals have gained popu- need freedom to prioritize larity in the wake of highly equipment expenditures. publicized police shootings. The Kansas Highway PaSen. David Haley, Dtrol estimated implementation Kansas City, said the bill was of the bill would cost about designed to provide a measure $1.4 million in the upcoming of protection and transparency fiscal year for equipment, perfor municipal, county and state sonnel and training. Ongoing law enforcement officers as maintenance would cost the well as people those men and agency $870,000 annually. women were sworn to protect. The Senate committee ought to consider asset “I do believe this is the forfeiture, DUI penalties and wave of the present,” Haley said. “I believe that this is the financial sanctions under Jessica’s Law to help finance the wave of the future.” camera mandate, said Rep. Senate Bill 18 stipulates Gail Finney, D-Wichita. officers would be equipped The Rev. Ben Scott, presiwith a body camera while on dent of the Topeka NAACP, duty. Images would be stored said the cost of cameras, in a computer network. The contracts for storing video cameras could be turned off images, operational staff and by officers to avoid capturing training was secondary to mundane daily activities. Law enforcement agencies in well-being of the citizenry. “The cost of putting up Johnson and Wyandotte counthe tapes for three years is far ties are using body cameras. less than a life that’s out on Maj. Dawn Layman, a the street,” Scott said. “Try to put yourself in the shoes of some of us. It’s not easy.” Officers wearing cams could stop recording when engaged in a personal matter such as a private discussion, when using the restroom or upon request of a resident whenever the officer entered a private home. Officers would be expected to notify people that the camera was recording. The legislation contemplates law enforcement video would be exempt from the Kansas Open Records Act, but copies could be requested by the subject of a recording, a parent or legal guardian of those individuals or an attorney representing those people. Videos would be kept on file for three years if the recorded incident involved use of force, prompted a detention or an arrest, or was of use in a criminal case. Otherwise, images would be deleted after two weeks. Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, asked the committee to extend that preservation period to four weeks to allow more time for review of footage. He recommended the state not adopt a statute requiring constant filming by law enforcement officers. The bill would promote government accountabil- ity and act as a tool for law enforcement to deter false allegations, Kubic said. Walt Chappell, vice chairman of the Racial Profiling Advisory Board of Wichita, said the measure would promote openness but would not necessarily cut into the issue of racial profiling. “That (racial profiling) takes place in the officer’s head before the stop,” Chappell said. In several cases of alleged excessive use of force by Wichita police in the last year, he said, the officers involved had not identified themselves. “There’s a blue wall of silence,” he said. Pratt man who threatened to kill officers shot Special to The HDN PRATT — A resident who allegedly threatened to kill police officers while brandishing a large hunting knife and ax handle was shot by the officers outside an apartment complex Saturday night, according to a news release from the Pratt Police Department. The release states officers were dispatched to an apartment complex about 9 p.m. to investigate a report of a disturbance and people yelling. Upon arrival, officers were confronted in the street by a 45-year-old man, later identified as Bradley G. Verstraete, who was wielding the two weapons. Officers gave repeated commands to drop the weapons, but Verstraete became increasingly aggressive toward the officers, according to the release. One of the officers used a Taser in an at- tempt to subdue the man, but it was ineffective and Verstraete continued to charge at the officers while threatening to kill them. The officers then shot Verstraete, who was transported to an area hospital in critical but stable condition. The release did not indicate where or how many times Verstraete was shot or by whom, but it does say both officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave “per department policy” pending the conclusion of an investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Verstraete has multiple past convictions in Reno County, including in 1989 for burglary, 2002 for possession of drugs and 2011 for battery of a law enforcement officer. He was last discharged from jail in March 2012.
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