Bill Clarifies Governor's Mansion Dinners Legal

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A bill before the Kansas House would clarify that legislative dinners at the governor's mansion are legal under the state's Open Meetings Act.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Howell, a Republican from Derby, is in response to a controversy last year, when the Shawnee County District Attorney investigated seven dinners at the mansion attended only by Republican lawmakers.

District Attorney Chad Taylor determined the dinners likely were technical violations of the open meetings act. But he did not prosecute anyone because he said the lawmakers didn't intend to break the law.

The bill would specify that the law doesn't apply to social gatherings at which those attending don't deliberate specific matters.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Press Association plans to vehemently oppose the bill.

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,