Brownback rescinds big fee increases for Statehouse protests

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Sam Brownback has canceled big fee increases for groups using the Kansas Statehouse for events following criticism that his administration was trying to stifle protests.

Brownback's office announced Friday that the Department of Administration would return to its previous $20 fee and refund higher fees already paid by groups.

The department announced in November that it would raise fees this year to recover its costs in providing sound equipment, setting up tables and chairs and cleaning up. The lowest fee was set at $50.

Some groups reported facing $500 fees and said the department was trying to make Statehouse protests too expensive. The department said it is facing a higher demand for Statehouse events.

Brownback's office said budget proposals he will make next week would cover the department's costs.