The Kansas Open Records Act grants you the right to inspect and obtain copies of public records created or maintained by public agencies in Kansas. The Open Records Act, K.S.A. 45-215, et seq., as amended, declares that it is the public policy of Kansas that “public records shall be open for inspection by any person.” Public records are defined as “any recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is made, maintained or kept by or is in the possession of any public agency.” The Department of Records and Tax Administration is classified as a public agency for the purposes of this Act.
Examples of public records maintained by the Department of Records and Tax Administration
Mortgages and Assignments of Mortgages:
- Release of Mortgages
- Transfer on Death Deeds
You have the right to:
- Request assistance from the agency’s Freedom of Information Officer at any time. Johnson County's Officer is the County Manager.
- Obtain a copy of the agency’s policies and procedures for access to records.
- Receive a written response to your request within three business days. The response may inform you that it will take additional time to produce the records.
- Inspect and obtain copies of public records which are not exempted from disclosure by a specific law.
- File a complaint with the Kansas Attorney General if you feel your request for public records is wrongfully denied.
You must request existing records – written, photographic, or computerized. The Kansas Open Records Act does not require an agency to answer questions or prepare reports.
Reasonable fees, not exceeding actual cost, may be charged for access to records, copies of records, and staff time for processing your request. (See “Charges and Fees”.)
Questions About Records
Consult with Freedom of Information Officer, County Manager's Office, 111 S. Cherry, Suite #3300, Olathe, Kansas, 66061; phone 913-715-5000, to ask questions about the Kansas Open Records Act, or to obtain assistance in resolving disputes relating to the Act.
Regular office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding Saturday, Sunday and official holidays. Records may be inspected during those hours.
Delayed and/or Denied Requests
All efforts will be made to process your request for public records as soon as it is received; however, some requests may be delayed or denied if:
- more information is needed in order to retrieve the records;
- legal issues must be addressed before the records are released;
- the requested records are archived or stored off site;
- the volume of records requested is large and will take time to duplicate.
Requests may be denied in whole or in part if:
- the requested record does not exist;
- the requested record is exempt from disclosure by law;
- the request is unclear and more information is needed.
If the request is delayed or denied, you will receive a written explanation for the delay or denial within three business days as outlined under “Your Rights.” You may be requested to provide additional information if access to public records or the purpose for which the records are to be used is limited by state law.
Permission to inspect or copy public records may be denied if:
- the request “places an unreasonable burden in producing public records”; or
- the custodian of the records “has reason to believe that repeated requests are intended to disrupt other essential functions of the public agency.”
- Denial of a person’s inspection or copying request must be explained in writing if the person requests such an explanation.
Exceptions to the Open Records Act
The Kansas Open Records Act recognizes that certain records contain private or privileged information. The Act lists several exceptions. A complete list of exceptions can be found in K.S.A. 45-221.