the State
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
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
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
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.
Red - 15 24
White - 2 18
Pick 3
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
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.